Humanity is streaming from the solar system to the stars, and not everyone is as happy about it as you might expect. The Rocinante – fresh home from Ilus / New Terra – needs 6 months of repairs. The enforced pause grants her crew some rare breathing space, but time to reflect is also time for the past to creep up on you – and only Jim Holden, the most public man in the galaxy, has no skeletons rattling his closet doors…

As Cibola goes full Burn, the gloves come off, with Murtry determined to claim the planet for RCE through weight of numbers – of corpses. While Havelock has finally learnt to question dubious orders, there are sadly plenty others who are happy to pick up arms against civilians in distress. And if Holden and Miller can’t switch off the planet’s defences, nobody is likely to survive until a rescue ship arrives…

While Bull and his new allies go toe to toe with Ashton’s well-armed forces, Anna tries to persuade the fleet to switch off all their power to persuade the station they’re no longer a threat. With Ashford intent on destroying the gate itself – which might cause the station to wipe out the entire solar system – there’s a lot worth fighting for. Or dying for. Will there be a home to try to get back to?

Drunk synopses are honest synopses: Book 3 picks up in the outer solar system, with Mr Corey testing our ability not to snigger like teenagers as the protomolecule creates an enormous ring just outside the orbit of Uranus.

Grown up. Honestly. There’s a bevy of new characters in book 3, and – as usual – this first week is all set up as we slowly build up to the rollercoaster. Also, Holden sees dead people.