Tiamat's anger raises the question as The Expanse comes to an end


During eight books, L & # 39; extended It looks a little like one of those videos that zoom out of the Earth on the larger universe. Part of the call of Leviathan Wakes and The Caliban War It was a real opera house in our neighborhood, dealing with issues of interest to the world we live in: war, racism, justice, all accompanied by armored marines, battleships of spaceships and a threatening alien threat.

But as the series progresses, authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (collectively known as James S.A. Corey) have broadened their field of action to more cosmic issues. Abaddon Gate opened the cosmos to humanity through an extraterrestrial ring system; Cibola Burn presented us with a brand new planet; 2017 Persepolis Rising launched the final phase of the series; and the last and penultimate installment of the series, Tiamat's anger, brings us closer to what promises to be a tumultuous end for the crew of the Rocinante, who faces old enemies and new threats.

Some spoilers coming for the novel and parts of the series.

Image: Orbit Books

Persepolis Rising jumped the story of L & # 39; extended three decades later. Humanity had largely shelved some division problems and started to colonize the galaxy via a ring door system. These advances were paused when a rogue faction of Martian separatists emerged from their self-imposed exile on their colonial world, Laconia. They had spent these 30 years advancing rapidly with the help of an extraterrestrial substance known as the protomolecule – the latest technology left behind by a long-dead exotic species that initiated the events of the series. Laconia's leader, Winston Duarte, has been made immortal by some of these advances. And he had ambitious goals for humanity: he proclaimed himself High Consul of the Laconian Empire, quickly took control of our domestic solar system and set up a new regime to oversee colonized systems. The crew of the Rocinante and her allies were left scattered, not knowing how to overcome this new seemingly insurmountable threat.

Tiamat's anger repeat this story and run with it. Captain James Holden was captured and imprisoned in Laconia, Naomi Nagata hides in containers to try to coordinate resistance, former Marines Bobbie Draper and pilot Alex Kamal plan strikes against Laconian forces and mechanic Amos Burton is missing. Like other slices of L & # 39; extended, the book jumps perspective in perspective. He presents the different points of view of the crew as he tries to resist the Laconians, but he also follows members of the Empire – like Elvi Okoye (last seen in Cibola Burn), who undertakes critical scientific missions for Duarte, and the daughter of Emperor Teresa, who grows up and learns about the functioning of the Empire. With the end of the series fast approaching, the stakes are growing, and Corey points out that no one is immune: two favorite characters of fans are reaching their end, one in the very first line of the novel.

A theme that runs throughout scope The series deals with how people are dealing with technologies that far exceed their understanding. And as Duarte strives to make humanity a civilization that spans the entire galaxy, the ultimate fate of the door builders is a source of major concern. They had planted the galaxy with their technology, only to be mysteriously annihilated by an unknown presence, which became known at the end of the year. Persepolis Rising.

Duarte sent a science mission to Elvi to better understand their problem, exploring fantastically strange solar systems. They make some awesome discoveries: a diamond the size of a star in one system can be a data storage artifact, while another system contains a white dwarf, just at the edge of collapse in a black hole. Elvi discovers that her mission is not just exploration and discovery; Duarte wants to face this mysterious presence to see if it can be reasoned or negotiated. Duarte explains a version of the scenario to his daughter, Teresa: the prisoner's dilemma, according to which the objectives of both parties would eventually align themselves if there were enough trials.

But these mysterious ancient aliens are not the only threat to the Laconian empire. Naomi, Bobbie and Alex take part in a resistance movement against their forces. This is a major challenge: the Laconians are technologically superior, with ships with an impressive and terrible destructive power, who can also heal themselves after a battle. They have their hands on the thousands of worlds occupied by humanity and, although Duarte leaves the impression that his reign is benevolent, the reality is much more cruel. His forces are ready to crush all dissidents while controlling the flow of information, and he is ready to sacrifice entire systems in the name of his experiences.

Corey's series has always touched on the state of the world by providing some sort of commentary on how humanity can weather difficult times by cooperating across political and racial boundaries, and Tiamat's anger is no exception. The book is a strong argument for the need for people to act in every possible way against tyranny and oppression, defending what is morally right.

As I read, I read a passage: an exchange between Naomi and Emma, ​​a member of the crew, which summarizes the problem posed by Laconia's top-down approach: humans simply do not work well with the extremely oppressive structures that govern them.

"Easy to manufacture systems with perfect logic and rigor. All you have to do is leave out mercy, yes? Then, when we put people in and they are not chewed, it's the person's fault. Not the rules. Everything we do is worthy of shit, we did it with people. …. The Laconians make the same mistake as ever. Our rules are good and they would work perfectly if it was a different species. "

A dominant theme of the series has been the limits of humanity, and this line of reasoning is exposed here. People have trouble living in the depths of space or on planets that are not the Earth; we have trouble understanding the vast distances of space and the abilities of the beings who created vast artefacts scattered over dead worlds; and when someone tries to transform himself, for example, into an immortal emperor god for all humanity, something vital is lost. This poses a serious threat to all of humanity – whether tribal divisions, such as racism and war, or an unknown, unknown, old threat that does not like the way we live. stung with explosives …

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