Release Date: 02/06/11
Humanity has colonized the planets - interstellar travel is still beyond our reach, but the solar system has become a dense network of colonies. But there are tensions - the mineral-rich outer planets resent their dependence on Earth and Mars and the political and military clout they wield over the Belt and beyond. Now, when Captain Jim Holden's ice miner stumbles across a derelict, abandoned ship, he uncovers a secret that threatens to throw the entire system into war. Attacked by a stealth ship belonging to the Mars fleet, Holden must find a way to uncover the motives behind the attack, stop a war and find the truth behind a vast conspiracy that threatens the entire human race.
When a book comes with notable author quotes its going to do one of two things, its either going to rub you up the wrong way in which case you’ll be setting your standards high or you’ll use it as a guide and pick up that title fairly sure that you’re going to enjoy it. Unfortunately I’m one of the former so whilst the name of George RR Martin (writer for a number of the new Outer Limits episodes as well as having the immensely successful Song of Ice and Fire series that is currently showing the first volume (Game of Thrones) on a TV near you) does carry some weight with it, I tend to expect a lot more from a debut author.
What this book does is give you a Space Opera on the scale of Star Wars and whilst it is set strictly in our own Universe, James has taken the time out to make sure that whilst we’ve expanded our reach, each culture has its own differences as well as having their own histories built upon the Earths original.
Add to this a huge scope for a complex plot, a couple of great principle players and whilst at times they may come over as a little clichéd it’s the sheer scale that really sells this title. Finally throw into the mix some great prose, solid pace as well as some decent Space Battles with murderous double dealing alongside politics and it’s a title that all round was pretty satisfying.