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Leviathan Wakes: Book 1 of the Expanse Paperback – 3 May 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 255 customer reviews

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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: 13.3 x 3.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (255 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Several centuries in the future, mankind has colonised the planets and asteroids of the solar system but war between Earth and Mars threatens. Those working in the outer asteroid belt - the Belters - have little time for the Inners and as time has gone by their bodies have evolved, lengthened, lightened to demonstrate their difference from those who live on the inner planets. Life is difficult, crowded, suspicious.

Leviathan Wakes tells the story of two men - Miller, a Belter detective on Ceres and Holden, the Commanding Officer from Earth on a water-hauler that mines ice-comets to replenish the tanks of Ceres and colonies in the belt. When Holden answers a distress signal from a derelict ship he discovers a mystery that others will pursue. His own vessel is torn apart and when Holden blames Martian technology tensions soar. But even when Holden and his surviving crew are handed over to Martian authorities, he is still pursued by violence and deadly force. On Ceres Detective Miller has been given a problem to solve, one that is secondary to his normal role supporting the status quo on this wild west frontier in the belt. He is told to find Julie Mao, a girl with a powerful background who comes to obsess Holden's thoughts until nothing is as important as finding Julie.

Leviathan Wakes is a spectacular novel. The first in a space opera series it soars almost immediately and lays the solar system open to our exploration. From the horrific and compelling prologue, I was hooked. Much of the success is due, I think, to the division of the narrative into chapters that alternate been Holden and Miller. These are two very different men.
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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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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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