For generations, the solar system - Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt - was humanity's great frontier. Until now. The alien artefact working through its program 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.
Corey (a shared pseudonym for Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) delivers a politically complex and pulse-pounding page-turner to continue the Expanse space opera series. Not too long after the events of Caliban's War, the alien matter-manipulating protomolecule that had taken over Venus catapults mysterious mechanisms out beyond the orbit of Uranus. Those mechanisms build a thousand-kilometer-wide ring that the governments of Earth, Mars, and the Outer Planets Alliance all race to investigate. Capt. James Holden of the Rocinante plans to be on the other side of the solar system during those investigations, but the government of Mars files suit to reclaim the Rocinante and forces Holden's crew to schlep a news team out to the Ring. Meanwhile, Clarissa Melpomene "Melba" Mao, the daughter of disgraced tycoon Jules-Pierre Mao, sets up an intricate plan of revenge against Holden for his actions against her father. Corey perfectly balances character development with action and uses shifts in point of view to keep the large cast intimate. Politics, philosophical ideas, and humor mingle in a tale that will shock and surprise. New readers should start with book one; series fans will find this installment the best yet.