Tiamat’s Wrath is the eighth book of The Expanse series. This is definitely a series you want to read in order, so if you’re just starting, I’d recommend beginning with the first book, Leviathan Wakes.
This is the penultimate book of the series, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that things are seriously heating up. We learned earlier in the series that the ancient civilization that produced the protomolecule and gate network was destroyed by some force. In this book, an authoritarian group of military types decide that maybe it’s time to poke the bear, to play a tit-for-tat game with that force. I’m not spoiling anything by saying there is a response, and it is a pretty serious game changer.
This book continues the old time space opera feel of the series. It does this by keeping the space logistics at an interplanetary level, even when they’re in a different solar system, and by largely eschewing any role for artificial intelligence. (One of the authors, Ty Franks, points out that AI exists in the books, just not with its own personality.) As a result, it’s not the hardest science fiction around, but the result is a very human story, more so than a lot of other fiction I review here.
The Expanse series has been called Game of Thrones in space, but that isn’t really accurate. Some of the differences are that these books have avoided the sprawl of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books, they reliably come out once a year, they range around 500 or so pages apiece, and are generally self contained stories, although some of them do end on an overall cliff hanger.
And the main characters all get along pretty well. (They don’t always in the TV show, but then, although I enjoy the show immensely, I actually find it darker and edgier than the books.) Indeed, I found myself totally engrossed in this book, and I think the reason, aside from the writing acumen of the authors, is the likable characters.
So if you’re looking for classic adventure in space, with occasional bouts of philosophical pondering, I continue to recommend this series.