For generations, the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt – was humanity’s great frontier.
The alien artefact working through its programme under the clouds of Venus has emerged to build a massive structure outside the orbit of Uranus: a gate that leads into a starless dark.
Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artefact.
But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core.
As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them
I do not think I have read a book series before which have gone from really great to really disappointing in one go like this one just did. There is nothing wrong with the writing itself. It is as good as before. It is the content, the story itself, which is simply disappointing as far as I am concerned.
Apart from Holden and his crew all the nice characters from the previous book like Bobby and the likable bitch Avasarala are gone. The new ones introduced are nowhere near those that we lost in terms of interest and often downright annoying. Miller was brought back but he is not really the old Miller, not surprisingly, and more of a tool than an interesting character.
I was hoping that we would get more into the mystery of the protomolecule device and of course it plays an important part in the story but more as a piece of background or a prop than the centerpiece that I hoped it would. The events in the book are, at least initially, driven by a crazy and fanatical relative to the bad guy Mao from the previous book and who wants to both kill and discredit Holden for revenge. I was not too crazy about that from the start. Once her plan get going things goes bad rather quickly.
As if this revenge business was not bad enough the author drags in a useless as well as volatile and half-crazy captain, appointed for pretty much nothing but political reasons, and a whole bunch of more or less fanatical religious people. The latter was really dragging down the book for me.
Unfortunately the religious fanatics play a big role in the events in the latter half of the book and, not surprisingly, they cause things to go from bad to worse. Even the good ones of these priests and clerics is really ruining the book with their constant nonsensical preaching about how there were still some good in person x and person y etc. etc. and how we should try to talk to him instead of using violence. The maniac(s) are on the verge of, possibly, exterminating the human race for Christ sake! Just push the f-ckers out of a bloody airlock and be done with it.
I have to say that I am probably not really capable of giving a un-biased, possibly not even a fair, review of this book since I am so disappointed with it, especially given how much I liked the previous ones. It is a well written book. Those of you who liked the previous ones should probably have a go at this one as well. I did not like it but that is because of personal taste more than anything.