Persepolis Rising (Book 7 of The Expanse), by James S.A. Corey

Persepolis Rising, James S.A. CoreyThis one changes things. I assumed that the pace was going to quicken, since Persepolis Rising is moving us into the final three Expanse novels, but I am in awe at how much this book moved the series forward from where we left off in Babylon’s Ashes. We are now nearing the end of the long Expanse arc that began with Leviathan Wakes in 2011, and it is thrilling to see where we’re heading.

“Your empire’s hands look a lot cleaner when you get to dictate where history begins, and what parts of it count.”

As far as the story goes: The only constant is change, and empires aren’t built overnight. That rise to power is fraught with great and terrible things. There are good and bad people on multiple sides of every argument. History is full of grey, contradictions, and passionate people with good intentions committing atrocities for their causes. Persepolis Rising feels like the story of the necessarily messy history between A and B. The history that usually gets rewritten by the victors.

This narrative also brings with it some unique adaptation challenges for the Amazon television series. Thirty years have passed between the end of Babylon’s Ashes and the beginning of Persepolis Rising, making most of the crew of the Rocinante at least in their seventies. Of course, these are “future humanity” seventies, and it is hinted that there is regenerative medicine available. Seventies may be the new thirties.

“It seemed to her that the real sign you were getting old was when you stopped needing to prove you weren’t getting old.”

As much as I want this series to last forever, I’m a firm believer that good stories end, and great stories end well. Persepolis Rising is setting up the Expanse saga for inclusion in the latter category.

I can’t wait for Tiamat’s Wrath in 2019, with the final Expanse novel to follow in 2020. I believe a tenth book which collects the short stories and novellas together in print for the first time is scheduled to follow in 2021.