Tiamat’s Wrath by James S. A. Corey
Orbit, pb, £7.99
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
Humanity’s exploration of the universe through the thirteen hundred gates has taken them to new solar systems. They are settling, opening trade routes and carving out lives in places they could never have dreamed of before the gates. But, whether a natural disaster or an act of war, whatever killed the gates’ original architects is still out there, and its attention is now firmly fixed on humanity. For every push forward, there is a push back, tit or tat, and with each response from an unseen force behind the gates, more and more people are hurt, and rank is no protection.
Teresa is Duarte’s daughter, groomed to take her father’s place as ruler of the new human empire, and she is beseeched on all sides. Her father is hurt from one of these attacks and she is thrust into an adult world of lies and half-truths for the greater good. Without her father’s protection, his pet scientist, Cortazar, develops an unhealthy interest in her, and James Holden, her father’s political prisoner, tries to befriend her for reasons she doesn’t understand but cannot trust either.
The rest of the Rocinate’s crew are scattered throughout the universe, running missions for the underground resistance. Their goal to find a peaceful co-existence, but the Laconian policy of pushing back violently against things they do not fully comprehend could destroy everyone before that goal is realised.
Tiamat’s Wrath is the eighth book in the Expanse series by Daniel Abrahman and Ty Franck under the pen name James S. A. Corey and picks up after the war on Earth from # 7 Persepolis Rising, and the funeral of a major character. In case you haven’t read #7 yet, I shall mention no names. What follows is a long story moving from solar system to solar system, from the heights of power to the depths nothingness, as the crew of the Rocinate and Teresa Duarte pick their way through a political minefield of rebellion against a foe much better armed and funded than they do.
This book cannot be read in isolation though. There is enough explanation of past events that a newcomer shouldn’t feel too confused, but to really understand what is going on, the little familiarities or the pain of the losses, then it needs to be read as part of the whole. Don’t be daunted by the idea of going back to the beginning though, it shouldn’t be a slog to get through them, the writing is clean, the style of one chapter one character keeps things neat, and it is fast paced. The build-up comes with action and sacrifice, so there are no lulls. It is easy to get lost in this series without realising it.
This is the penultimate book and there is a strong sense of things coming to an end which is more satisfying than sad. These characters have struggled for decades towards some form of peace and fairness. With the twists and turns the characters have gone through both in Tiamat’s Wrath and the preceding books, I can’t wait for the final book to see how it all comes together.
For any fans of the series, TV or book, you won’t be disappointed. And if you enjoy hard sci-fi, then this is the series for you. I loved Tiamat’s Wrath and highly recommend you read the whole series.