The crew of the Rocinante are scattered across the solar system. While Naomi and Amos try to dig their way out of their pasts, Alex and Jim are drawn into dangerous mysteries that threaten whole worlds. Because whoever is stealing ships has started killing to cover their tracks – and they’re only just getting started…

For those new to the Read-along – we are working our way through The Expanse from beginning to end, reading about a quarter of each book per week and blogging weekly in response to a host’s prompts. Expect enthusiasm and/or ranting – it’s fun, and if you fancy joining in, the schedule is at the bottom of this post – grab a copy and read along (you don’t have to keep to the time table). The questions this week are all from me!

Be warned – if you keep reading, There Will Be Spoilers.

 

1. Woah. Okay, was anybody expecting this level of drama? Prediction time: what will Marco do next? Any thoughts on who his mysterious allies are?

HOLY SHIT.

I made no secret that I thought Cibola Burn was a bit lacklustre, but talk about getting back to business with a BANG – Nemesis Games really isn’t messing around.

Because here’s the thing: Marco and his gang are hella organised and well-equipped for a ‘splinter’ cell, which suggests there’s a bigger schism in the OPA than Fred would like to think (although I think he’s confronting that ugly truth head-on right about now). I haven’t a clue who is funding all this (because surely this has taken some serious money?) – and for once, it can’t possibly be an Earthcorp because, well, they’ve just taken a pounding.

Maybe Fred is right to be worried about Anderson Dawes? Is the Martian Admiral part of the plot? – after all, Mars has as much to lose to Earth and from the Gates as the Belters do… Or is Marco just really good at this?

…and after what he’s just done to Earth, I think the real question is – what won’t Marco do?

…now that he’s got his hands on the protomolecule.

I’m frankly terrified. I’m taking it as read that there’s going to be an assault on Medina and/or an attempt to close the Gate somehow.

And I have no idea what Marco’s end game is.

 

2. So Earth is full apocalypse. The Secretary General is dead. The Martian President may be dead too, but Mars was pretty much flailing anyway. What Should Fred Do? (and will Holden approve?)

 

Actually, I have another question – did Avasarala make it to Luna? I’m sort of assuming so – and she does still have a fleet at her disposal – in which case, surely a team-up is the sensible thing for Fred to do whilst he doesn’t know who to rely on. Far more sensible than, say, trying to take advantage of the chaos to assert OPA control over more territory…

I don’t like to think Fred would try to capitalise like that in the circumstances – but it wouldn’t be an unheard of way to try and get his unruly troops back on side (and show that he’s really not an Earther any more).

But what would that look like (because I’m assuming ‘finishing off Earth’ never even crosses his scope) – perhaps regrouping at Medina and trying to set up afresh on the other side? That’s… not bonkers. But it won’t address any of the issues around cancer / bone density meds (although hey Marco, blowing up Earth won’t exactly secure you a supply of those either – I guess you’ve got your own stash?)

I don’t think Jim will approve of anything that isn’t Getting The Band Back Together. And he doesn’t even know about Naomi yet…

 

3. All of Naomi’s past is laid bare for us now. Will she save Filip’s soul? Is she right to try?

Oh, Naomi. My heart bleeds. So many things make so much sense now. And the bit where she’s channelling Amos to keep it together is both wonderful and terrifying.

As for Filip, I’d like to space him, but I think Naomi’s more forgiving than I am (and, well, has other reasons to be more sympathetic obviously). So I think she has to try and redeem him – and if you look back through the series, The Expanse is pretty big on redemption arcs, which suggests that she may succeed to a point (although I don’t expect a happy ending for him / them). But I’d still like to space him.

Yes, yes, I know, brainwashed from birth etc etc. But there’s no point where anyone should feel good about killing quarter of a billion people. He gets no quarter or sympathy from me.

 

4) Who are you most worried about/for?

…I should probably say Amos because he’s trapped planetside in the middle of an apocalypse (on the other hand: if anyone were going to survive the apocalypse, the money’s on Murdersnuggles), but honestly, I think it’s Naomi. Jim is still in a position to get himself into a world of trouble, but she could lose her mind if she’s kept penned up with her old flame and his insidious manipulative ways. I just want to give her a hug and rescue her already.

 

Other thoughts for the week…

I love that Clarissa caught that Amos wasn’t answering the question she thought she’d asked here:

“You think we’re going to die?”

“Yup.”

“Of this?”

“Maybe.”

We’re all going to die, honey. Stick with the big man.

 

Take a tour of our responses this week:

  • Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
  • Sarah at The Illustrated Page
  • Susan at Dab of Darkness
  • Allie at Tethyan Books
  • Feel free to join in in the comments on our blogs or on Goodreads – but no spoilers!

 

A round-up of the weekly discussions for Book 5: