Babylon's Ashes - humanity on the brink in the latest Expanse novel
Our solar system will never be the same. Book 6 of The Expanse picks up right after the end of the last one in the bleak aftermath of the sudden and devastating attack on Earth by the Free Navy. Out of nowhere they laid waste to the bread basket of the solar system and now humanity struggles to pick up the pieces and find a way to survive. The super powers of the solar system who were central to mankind's expansion into space now find themselves mere shadows of their former selves and short on resources. Earth is in disarray after the attacks with billions of starving people and Mars is a hollow shell after being left behind by those that moved through the ring gate to colonize other planets with actual atmospheres. To add insult to injury, those same Martian defectors were the source of the military ships acquired by the Free Navy to wreak havoc on Earth so Mars also finds itself in the middle of a political upheaval.
With billions already dead on Earth it is Avasarala who cobbles together the effort to secure the solar system. In addition to trying to solve the crisis on Earth she formulates a plan to strike back at the Free Navy and of course Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are key players in that plan. The Free Navy controls the Belt and Medina Station so Earth and Mars now have to work together to have any hope of survival. Even Jim Holden the idealist must give a bit more thought to the consequences of his actions because humanity's very survival is at stake. Complicated scenarios abound for many, especially Naomi who must try to live with the fact that her ex-husband and son have laid waste to the solar system and she knows that her actions, if successful, could mean killing them both.
With all of the awesome characters from the first five books being central to this story I feel it is actually one of the best books of the series. Bobbi and Avasarala in particular are more central and that is a good thing indeed. James S. A. Corey has built up a tremendous story arc and by the time this one is over there are still some key threads left dangling for future books. Jefferson Mays delivers another excellent narration so all is well on the audiobook side of things. Note that if you feel that watching the Syfy series The Expanse is an adequate reason to skip the books I would say that you are missing out. The books are way better than the series so far and it is definitely worth reading/listening in addition to watching.