Cibola Burn (2014) – James S.A. Corey


June 2015 is too far away, and with a working title of Nemesis Games you know something seriously cool is going to be happening in it.

I read them all too fast. Book Four of the Expanse series, Cibola Burn, is done. And now, I’ll be climbing the walls, waiting impatiently for the fifth gargantuan book to come along. I tell you, I love how quickly I got involved in this one, welcoming back the familiar faces of Holden, Naomi, Alex and Amos, the working class crew of the Rocinante. Their universe has changed a little since we last caught up with them, and they quickly find themselves pulled into it.

The gates, discovered in the last book are open, and thousands upon thousands of worlds lay at humanity’s feet for exploration, settlement, and sadly exploitation. The protomolecule, using its resources, is constantly reaching out, trying to discover what had happened to its creators, what destroyed them, and is creating and sending out its investigator over and over. All of this seems to culminate on one planet… Illus or New Terra, depending on what side you talk to. There are the settlers who arrived before treaties and contracts could be signed, and are turning this strange, secret-filled (which is drawing the attention of the protomoloecule) planet into a home, and there is the corporation who is claiming legal jurisdiction.

When an act of destruction ups the ante between the settlers and the corporation, and a shooting war seems inevitable, Holden and his crew are sent in, much to their surprise. But there is political maneuvering going on behind the scenes, a hope that Jim Holden will behave in his usual fashion…

Striving to keep the pace, things spiral out of control, as militias are formed, murders and terrorism take place, and when the planetary system wakes up, everyone involved may be heading to a fiery death.

The crew is split up, forced to work apart from one another, as they not only try to keep the peace, but survive.


This one simply wowed me from the get-go. As tensions start to amp up in the first half of the book, I found myself increasingly upset that we, as humanity, can continue to do this to ourselves, all in the name of greed and control. We are introduced to a whole cast of new characters as well as some we’ve met previously, but standing above them all, threatening everything with a sadistic gleam in his eye, is Murty. He’s the security chief assigned by the company (RCE) to make sure that their claim remains in place, and to take any action against the squatters (as they see them) he deems fit in reaction to any perceived threat.

His actions are stunning, frightening, and as a reader I couldn’t wait for the final confrontation between Holden and Murty that you know is coming from the moment that they lay eyes on one another.

The world-building that has gone in these first four books is amazing, each book builds on the mythologies created in the previous, with callbacks to incidents and characters, each book opening the worlds up wider, and through it all, we stay with our crew. And I love time in their company, the way they talk with one another, the humor that comes up in their dialogue, the friendships that exist there. At this point, they are real people to me, and there were a number of times in this book when I was not only worried about how things would turn out, but visibly upset by the things that were happening to them.

I so cannot wait for book five!!

As I’ve mentioned previously, I don’t read a lot of science fiction books, though I watch a lot of science fiction films. These are quickly becoming favorites, a working class crew in the vien of those on the Nostromo or Serenity, who are just trying to survive, and are incredibly dedicated to one another.

Read them! And then let me know what you think!





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