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Publisher's Summary

A revolution brewing for generations has begun in fire. It will end in blood.

The Free Navy - a violent group of Belters in black-market military ships - has crippled the Earth and begun a campaign of piracy and violence among the outer planets.

The colony ships heading for the 1,000 new worlds on the far side of the alien ring gates are easy prey, and no single navy remains strong enough to protect them. James Holden and his crew know the strengths and weaknesses of this new force better than anyone.

Outnumbered and outgunned, the embattled remnants of the old political powers call on the Rocinante for a desperate mission to reach Medina Station at the heart of the gate network. But the new alliances are as flawed as the old, and the struggle for power has only just begun.

As the chaos grows, an alien mystery deepens. Pirate fleets, mutiny and betrayal may be the least of the Rocinante's problems. And in the uncanny spaces past the ring gates, the choices of a few damaged and desperate people may determine the fate of more than just humanity.

©2016 James S. A. Corey (P)2016 Little Brown Book Group

What listeners say about Babylon's Ashes

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Another good read

Following on from the previous book Babylon's Ashes is another great book in The Expanse series. Different, in the same way all the books have different settings, it's every bit as good as the others.

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excellent

best yet! this book delved deep into the politics of war. thoroughly enjoyed. loved it

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a bridging edition

not quite the non stop action and suspense of previous books in the series. but excellent writing and depth

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The slowest so far, but still a great read!

Another worthy addition to the series! It’s certainly the slowest book so far in terms of pacing, but don’t let that deter you. It is still an epic read!

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Great story telling

Really enjoyed Jefferson Mays' cadence and style. Great story telling and a great story. Totally nailed the belter creole

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Another seamless performance by Mays

Jefferson Mays absolutely aced the narration once again. Always brings the characters and story to life.

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Starting to get a bit tedious

Really struggled to get through this one. Didn’t really have the same impact or suspense that the previous books in the series carried. Nothing there to make me want to find out what happens at the end.

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verbal painting

reading the book is like watching a painter throw a splash then daub and you have art only with words

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keep at it

I had to push through this one. it's was a little slow in places. less action than previous.

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  • Guy
  • 06-08-2018

Another great book in this series.

Does not disappoint as with the previous 5 books. The narrator was good too. Definitely worth it.

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  • Bert Heymans
  • 28-12-2016

This time around the story just stalls

What disappointed you about Babylon's Ashes?

There are plot holes and the way characters behave is really weird. Nobody appears to be really angry/hurt/traumatised about the attack on earth. That just doesn't make sense. The story went nowhere this time. It feels like the authors are stalling.

What was most disappointing about James S. A. Corey’s story?

I was missing all the ingredients that make The Expanse a great series for me, like a good Holden story (he feels left out this time), great action writing (too sparse) and alien stuff/new worlds/new technologies/mysterie development.

The space battles where OK, Bobby was OK, the Prax and Vandercaust bits where good, but it fails to save the book for me.

What didn’t you like about Jefferson Mays’s performance?

He has a nice and consistent voice to listen to, but he's not my favourite. Some of the Belter slang is weird to listen to, it's supposed to sound foreign but the way Jefferson May pronounces them is weird. I didn't recognise the German or Dutch in it for instance. It must have been really hard to do, reading a boring story with characters speaking a self-invented language half of the time.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Babylon's Ashes?

We got even more Marko this time (the blandest villain character ever), a meek Avasarala (!) and boring details about the struggles of Micio Pa. I would have cut a lot, if not most of it.

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  • Ales Drobek
  • 21-10-2018

A new height of dragging the story

A few genuinely great space opera pearls drowned in mountains of padding. I've seen my share of this tactic but the Expanse authors mastered it to an absolute perfection.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-09-2017

Anti-climactic end

Amazing characters, but the ending wasn't that good. It was too abrupt and ambiguous I think.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Siert
  • 13-01-2017

Touching

These books are incredibly well written. It makes you part of the crew of the roci in a way few writers are able to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Erik
  • 17-12-2016

Awesome! Just awesome!

James S. A. Corey is back and better than ever. The authors are changing their narrative style a little by telling the story from every relevant angle making this a complex but very exciting story! Everything we love about the expanse and a little more.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-11-2020

Felt like a filler episode

You know how there’s sometimes episodes that only progress characters and not the main story? This is what this book is. I like the development of the characters, but it mostly lacks the galactic mystery aspects of the other books. In previous books the Holden chapters almost always lead to a development around the protomolecule, while other character chapters typically lead to development of subplots such as the Medina mutiny-counter-mutiny. In this book, even Holden chapters focus on what feels like subplots, which leaves the book feeling directionless. You could probably skip this book if you only want the alien plot lines, but I liked the character development. If you do skip it:

— Warning, spoilers ahead —
Here’s the main plot points in order of importance: The ring gates make ships go missing if too many go through at once, there’s a monster hiding between spaces of atoms or something killing ships that go missing, the Earth has been bombarded with meteors by terrorists and is soon uninhabitable, Clarissa/Melba is now a part of the crew, Naomi got kidnapped and then tried to save her son but chose to killed him by making his ship go missing in the gates, Fred Johnson is dead, Mars has been abandoned in favor of ring worlds, a Martian faction is building human-alien hybrid warships in secret, Michio Pa is in charge of setting up a network of shipping to move people off the dying Earth to ring worlds. That’s all that happened essentially, there was an escape from dying Earth and stuff which was pretty cool and some other parts I really liked, but yeh. Felt a little filler compared to the rest of the series!

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  • Henri
  • 06-03-2020

Invisible pieces falling together leaving a mark

Possibly my least favorite book in the series, but this is expanse so it's still onw of the greatest books, things don't happen because they are the main characters but because they are the people they are doing their best in these situations

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  • Rasmus
  • 09-10-2019

Can't listen anymore

The whole setup for the plot from the last book was so infuriatingly bad it tainted everything about this book and then the characters become war profiteers all of the sudden. No thanks.

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  • torben
  • 10-04-2019

addicted

started on book one and became instant addicted to the books :) listen to them or read it is on my top 3 list off books

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  • Johan Karlsteen
  • 19-02-2019

Awesome as always

I just can't stop listening to this series and I dread for the day when the last book is released.

Story is obviously taking place in the same universe as the previous books but this time centered around Earth, Mars and the belt. We learn a lot more about the back story of the main characters while they are all on their separate journeys for the first part of the book.

I liked it even though you can kind of guess the ending quite early.

On to the next one!

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  • Callum
  • 10-04-2017

Filler?

I really enjoyed the first few books of this series, but recently it seems to be going downhill. This book continues with the 'Free Navy' saga that began in the last book, but it strikes me as a long, and drawn out filler portion of the wider arc. There is very little advancement of the overall plot, and everything covered in this book and the last should really have been condensed to a singular book at most. Also, the 'atrocity' of the attack on Earth from the previous book is massively downplayed, and it comes across as odd that there doesn't seem to be much of an emotional response about it from the characters.

As a final note, this may be because I have had some time away from the series and have forgotten the nuances of the writers' style; but I hope you like metaphors, because this book puts metaphors in your metaphors, so you can metaphor while you metaphor.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Simon, Oxford
  • 23-12-2016

Great performance

I really enjoyed book 6. The plot is expansive and nail biting at times. The book is beautifully read by Jefferson Mays. Thank you for bringing him back again to read it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jenny
  • 12-12-2016

Another winner! 5 stars all the way

I love and adore this series. Not a committed fan of science fiction I have surprised myself by devouring all the books (Cibola Burns I had to read as opposed to listen to tho'). And this one absolutely delivers. I think what attracts me so much to these novels is character development and evolution and a really thoughtful and original plot, as well as a society which echoes political and socio-economic factions that are all around us, I can relate to these people. They might be fighting in spaceships miles above our heads, but they're waging the same sorts of wars. The intense humanness is what keeps me reading, and the great writing of course.

Of course, now that I've watched Season 1 of The Expanse their faces are fixed in my head as the tv characters, but mostly that's ok. Jefferson Mays he is the perfect narrator, every nuance, every tiny inflection comes through.

Brilliant.

ps Audible - will you finance re-recording Cibola Burns with Jefferson Mays? Nothing against Erik Davies, it's just that his narration is not as suited to the series as JM, it spoils an otherwise brilliant run of books.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Scallywag
  • 23-07-2017

Damn. I've finished them!

This is last of the books in The Expanse series, and I've grown to love them more as I've progressed through them. The characters are complex and interesting, the scope is sweeping, and there's wit as well as drama, psychological insight as well as action. All six books are entirely satisfying.

This series is as free from gender bias as anything I've ever read. That two men can write a character like Avasarala - an old, sweary, powerful Indian woman - is impressive. Age, sex, race and sexuality are all incorporated into these books as unremarkable facts of life. They do not determine whether someone is a soldier, a politician, an engineer, a priest or a doctor. These authors write about People.

The book is well read. The voices of all the characters are consistent and evocative, and Maya's rendering of the Belter patois is excellent.

The overall message of this series is humane and tender and timely, but it is conveyed in riveting stories, and through characters it's easy to fall in love with.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Beenay25
  • 09-05-2017

Complete change of pace... dead slow ahead.

What disappointed you about Babylon's Ashes?

The pacing was slow, predictable and repetitive.
The villain was just unbelievable. Every time Inaros started going off on one about his righteousness, I just wanted to yell "But you killed billions of people". What's worse, other characters supported him. Even with the differences between the belt and Earth, I refuse to believe that people would support someone who orchestrated genocide. I like my villains to at least be believable.
Plus the author seemed to completely forget about Amos half way through the book... he just disappeared and the re-appeared towards the end of the story. Very little exploration of Clarissa being on board the Rocinante aside from some thrown in angst that Jim just gets over between heartbeats.
Bearing in mind how much time the book spends building up the bad guy, the ending was anticlimactic at best.

What will your next listen be?

I'm invested in the Expanse series so shall listen to the next one. I just pray it'll be less dull than this dirge.
Until then, moving on to We Are Legion (We Are Bob) - which so far is excellent.

Have you listened to any of Jefferson Mays’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Mays was on form as always. I have no complaints about his excellent performance.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Babylon's Ashes?

Pretty much anything with Inaros would be cut - leaving him as some faceless entity causing terror. The Philip story was tedious and predictible and so would be mostly axed.
In short, by the time I finished editing this novel it'd be a short story.

Any additional comments?

In all honesty, I think you could skip this book entirely and go straight to the next one with little or no continuity issues.

1 person found this helpful

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  • terry
  • 19-12-2016

Bring on the next one

Another great installment of the Expanse series. I've been waiting for it for a while now and enjoyed it thoroughly, but sad it's already over. just going to have to wait again now.

1 person found this helpful

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  • mark mills
  • 19-05-2021

Exceptional next phase in this realistic series.

All good, story direction, believable continuation of all the characters personalities and the narration made it come to life.

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  • Yvonne
  • 20-03-2021

Brilliant

Couldn't get enough of it! Jeffery the Narrator is excellent and the richness of the characters and storyline kept me gripped from start to finish.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-01-2021

Poorly written story set in an interesting universe

My god, talk about a fumble. Stunningly uncharismatic villain, far less than literary prose. Lamentable.

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  • Artturi
  • 30-11-2020

expanse is

the best sci-fi series I have read or seen.
just above star trek or the space opera.

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