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Leviathan Wakes: Book 1 of the Expanse [Paperback]

James S. A. Corey
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 May 2012 Expanse (Book 1)

Humanity has colonized the planets - interstellar travel is still beyond our reach, but the solar system has become a dense network of colonies. But there are tensions - the mineral-rich outer planets resent their dependence on Earth and Mars and the political and military clout they wield over the Belt and beyond.

Now, when Captain Jim Holden's ice miner stumbles across a derelict, abandoned ship, he uncovers a secret that threatens to throw the entire system into war. Attacked by a stealth ship belonging to the Mars fleet, Holden must find a way to uncover the motives behind the attack, stop a war and find the truth behind a vast conspiracy that threatens the entire human race.

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Leviathan Wakes: Book 1 of the Expanse + Caliban's War: Book 2 of the Expanse + Abaddon's Gate: Book 3 of the Expanse
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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (3 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841499897
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841499895
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.6 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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It's been too long since we've had a really kickass space opera. LEVIATHAN WAKES is interplanetary adventure the way it ought to be written, the kind of SF that made me fall in love with the genre way back when, seasoned with a dollop of horror and a dash of noir. Jimmy Corey writes with the energy of a brash newcomer and the polish of a seasoned pro (George R. R. Martin)

A winning blend of old-school space opera and modern sensibility... Corey combines no-nonsense storytelling with hard-boiled dialogue as the novel races to a truly cosmic ending. An excellent start to a promising new series (THE TELEGRAPH)

Corey... has created a refreshingly blue-collar tale, with well-drawn characters and a compelling narrative sweep. Roll on Book Two. (FINANCIAL TIMES)

LEVIATHAN WAKES is an amazing book. In fact, there is not a single negative thing I can say about the novel, which delivers in all phases including setting, characterization, story, pacing, prose, and from a purely entertainment standpoint. Simply put, LEVIATHAN WAKES is the best novel I've read in 2011 so far (FANTASY BOOK CRITIC)

The world building, hands down, is some of the best that I've seen for a space opera novel, with a good cast of characters and story that go along with it . . . This novel feels like a breath of fresh air, trading in the galaxy for our solar system, but retaining an sense of the epic (SF SIGNAL)

If you love tales packed with worldbuildy details like how humans cored asteroids, pumped them full of atmosphere, and spun them up for gravity's sake, then you'll love this novel to pieces (io9)

LEVIATHAN WAKES is space opera for the masses-it asks for little from its readers other than that they show up and enjoy the ride, no doctorate in quantum mechanics necessary. The classic juxtaposition of Miller's hard-edged noir narrative and Holden's idealistic adventure are perfectly suited for one another and together they form the most enjoyable novel I've read so far in 2011. It's fast, it's fun and it's escapist science fiction in the purest sense of the term. One can only hope that The Expanse is expansive, indeed (A DRIBBLE OF INK)

One of the best opening volumes to an SF series in recent memory, one of the most entertaining novels I've read in 2011 and a novel that only has me hungry for more in the series. This is a Space Opera I want to see more of on the shelves (SFF WORLD)

A ridiculously entertaining space opera . . . A relentless, page-turning novel with some great character-building (WERTZONE)

So far as cinematic sci-fi goes, LEVIATHAN WAKES is as entertaining and summer-blockbuster as you can get with a 600 page book (BOOK SMUGGLERS)

LEVIATHAN WAKES has it all and I defy you to come away from this book empty handed when I'm talking about things like the death of a battle cruiser, alien infestations on a space station and gunfights in seedy space port hotels . . . If you read one science fiction novel this year I'd seriously consider making it this one. Essential space opera reading that bodes very well for future books in the series (GRAEME'S FANTASY BOOK REVIEW)

This new science fiction series begins with an incredible story, complex and well-executed. With an intriguing storyline, vivid characters, and even vomiting zombies, this was highly enjoyable from start to finish. Blending suspense, horror, space opera, and mystery - this first installment is one no science fiction fan will want to miss (SCIFI CHICK)

If you're looking for some Space Opera Noir SF goodness, then read this one, people. It's sure to please. It certainly did good things for me (ELITIST BOOK REVIEWS)

LEVIATHAN WAKES is a big novel full of movie worthy space battles, hand-to-hand combat, near death experiences, a couple of love stories, and a big bad evil to be fought and conquered . . . Approachable, easy-to-read, and entertaining (GRASPING FOR THE WIND)

Book Description

The start of the Expanse series - a fast-paced and thoroughly gripping new space adventure

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Welcome Return to Old-School Space Opera 1 Jun 2011
It is entirely justifiable to call Leviathan Wakes one of the most hotly anticipated titles of the year. Touted by George R.R. Martin as a `kickass space opera` James S.A. Corey's debut is a return to the old-school form of space opera, but souped up to satisfy modern tastes. Delivering on Martin's promise of a kickass story, Corey makes every effort to mix together a crime plot with that of a tense struggle and an armed interplanetary conflict.This sprawling start to the aptly named `The Expanse' is a triumph of science fiction entertainment and fine writing.

Corey sets out both a creative view of humanity's future and a starkly realistic one. In his vision, humanity - at sub-light speeds - has extended its reach to the far ends of our solar system, establishing itself on Mars, the moons of the outer gas giants and on many of the larger components of the Asteroid Belt. Though not at all a hard SF novel, Leviathan Wakes does try to get some of its facts right, and its depiction of interplanetary travel and life outside of the homey confines of Earth reflect that, even if they are, in the end, purely fictional imaginings.

Brilliantly, Corey makes use of certain of these scientific `restrictions' as catalysts for conflict. So the `belters,' humans that were born and have lived in the Asteroid Belt have developed differently physically from their Terran and Martian cousins because of the low-gravity environment in which they subsist. These differences, much like our issues of race today, are sources of friction between the different factions of the solar system and eventually lead to greater conflict in the novel.

With this setting as a backdrop, Corey forges a twisted mystery that seems to weave in and out of the main characters' lives and connect every event.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Non-stop space opera 13 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Death, destruction, politics, space ships, villans, getaways and, yes, zombies. This space opera is one fast paced mash-up of every other sci-fi situation you can think of and its all done really, really well. Taken from two characters viewpoints throughout, these slowly come together as the plot moves around the massive settlements of the asteroid belt, where humnaity makes its home.

Laviathan Wakes starts out as Alien/Event Horizon, when a missing ship sends out a distress call that is not what it seems. This is then mixed with the politics of Red Mars and quickly spun into the battles of Pandoras Box. Having escaped the mayhem, our heroes move on to a dose of Resident Evil and then..... well I won't go on more as I might spoil the story. Sufficient to say this is a great, slightly retro, page turner and really enjoyable
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gritty and human take on sci-fi 31 Aug 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Leviathan Wakes has a sci-fi scenario with many of the bells and whistles associated with the genre, but at heart it's simply a story of the human condition that happens to be set in the future. It deals with issues of ethnic division (through differences in physical development due to the presence or otherwise of gravity), the familiar prejudices created between the haves and have-nots, the power of Governments and corporations in the control of knowledge, and the associated sci-fi staple of the responsible use of alien technology. All of these are reflections of our current global problems and help to create a universe that the reader can relate to fairly quickly.

This leaves a lot of room for the characters and narrative, which is what keeps this book moving along nicely and engages you in the storytelling. There are main characters rather than heroes, all of whom have the requisite number of foibles and failings to keep you interested, unsure where they're going, and wanting to know more.

While trying to avoid spoilers the main thrust of the story is: naughty corporation stirs enmity between opposing forces to hide their dabbling in alien technology that gets away from them, and it then falls to the two main characters to overcome their failings to try and stop the end of human life.

The gripping part of the writing is the clever use of doubt. There is never a clear and unequivocal decision, from the minor to the massive. It doesn't even try to hide behind doing what is 'right'. It makes the characters unpredictable and perhaps more difficult to warm to, but ultimately reflects the reality of people in a situation where life and death cannot be measured by doing the right thing.

This is gritty rather than grand, scuffed instead of shiny.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling 23 Feb 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I owe someone a beer. There was an Amazon thread where someone recommended this as a good sci-fi book. On the look out for a new author and an excuse to read another modern Sci-fi (the last one was The Algebraist, which I found very rewarding), I took the plunge.

The setting is our fairly familiar solar system. Mars, the Moon, and several other moons and asteroids around the Solar System are populated by humanity and there are three major governments (or political entities). Earth (UN), Mars, and The Belt (pretty much most of the rest). I must admit, I had a few pangs of disappointment at reading this as my first thought was that this was going to quite limiting. However it isn't, and in fact, it helps the story move along. I found it quite easy to relate to the people and places and I am certainly no astronomer.

Ultimately though, a book needs more than a setting, it needs characters, it needs a good plot, it needs tension, and crisis... Of course this book has all of that in spades. It really doesn't take long at all to get to know the characters and appreciate their differences as they are whipped along by the fast paced plot. And tension is also abundant throughout the book. Each chapter is done from the POV of a particular character, which works well (and also seemed rather familiar). In fact, the author is an assistant to the writer of Game of Thrones. I found this out after being approximately 10% of the way through the book, and to be honest, I was disappointed (to be fair, I need to give Game of Thrones another go, but it didn't really enthral me). However, I didn't need to be as Carey is his own man and a great writer.

No review could fail to mention the humour too.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars good classic sci fi
A gripping read. Couldn't put the book down. Looking forward to the next one. If the rest of the series is as good as this, great,
Published 6 days ago by digger
5.0 out of 5 stars that sounds a great read. I bought this as an ebook ages ...
A story told from two perspectives of an incident that could see the end of the human race. Yeah, that sounds a great read. Read more
Published 8 days ago by GhostMuppet
5.0 out of 5 stars Space Opera at its best.
A fast-paced and unputdownable space opera with a twist of noir in the telling. Flawless prose let you become part of the story and immerse yourself in the wonder and horror of... Read more
Published 12 days ago by James Random
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Liked this from start to finish, and looked forward to seeing the characters develop in the sequels.
Published 13 days ago by Richard
5.0 out of 5 stars Approaching Hamilton and worth reading.
This is well written and one of the best SF books I have read in the last 18 months (and I read a lot!). Read more
Published 16 days ago by Crystal Vision
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good book. Highly recommended.
I really enjoyed this. I like science fiction generally but wouldn't call myself a real aficionado. The science is interesting and consistent but not too technically detailed. Read more
Published 21 days ago by gderwent
5.0 out of 5 stars total brilliance
An absolute classic, not just for sci-fi fans but also for the broader market. Characters you can relate to, settings that sound plausible and all written to a very high standard. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Sniper
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I picked is up on the back of some hype about it being akin to A Song Of Fire and Ice. It isn't. And on the space opera front, this has some way to go before it approaches Alastair... Read more
Published 24 days ago by G. Slaney
5.0 out of 5 stars What can I say Hamilton at his very best and thats saying something...
Picked this book up in desperation , going on holiday needed something extra to read. What can I say Hamilton at his very best and thats saying something couldn't put it down... Read more
Published 27 days ago by M D Farrell
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read, but stop here.
Good story, worth a read for sure.
I've read all four in the series now, but I would not however, recommend that you read beyond this book. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Amazon Customer
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