Caliban’s War, the second book in James S. A. Corey’s “The Expanse” series, begins with a bang. Ganymede, the moon of Jupiter, is the breadbasket of the outer planets, producing the food needed in all the asteroids and ships out that far. Mars and Earth both have domes on the moon, and with the uneasy truce, the Marines on both sides settle into a routine of patrols. Patrols made more ridiculous by the fact that any war would typically involve smashing the domes from orbit. When Martian Marine Bobbie Draper witnesses…something ravage the opposing UN Marine patrol and then do the same to hers, well, that’s when it really hits the fan. Is it related to whatever the alien protomolecule is growing on Venus? Or something worse? And what does it have to do with a bunch of children that went missing before the attack?
I LOVE this book. Caliban’s War moves at a breakneck pace, through the same claustrophobic and dangerous world of realistic space travel. This time, though, instead of mixing noir detective intrigue in with kickass space opera, you have a peek into the politics and pressures that have so far kept Mars, Earth, and the Outer Planets from self-destructing. It’s an interesting change, and that’s coming from a guy that would rather jam ice picks in his ears than listen to politicians speak. Two female viewpoint characters (the previously mentioned Marine, Gunnery Sergeant Draper, is one) mix things up a bit.
I’ve evangelized about The Expanse series before, and this book lives up to even my expectations. The figurative bomb dropped in the last line has me DYING for the next one in the series. CHECK IT OUT already.