This page is about the Book-icon-simple.png books character. For the TV incarnation, see Clarissa Mao (TV).

Book-icon-simple.png Books character Tv icon.png TV character

Clarissa "Claire" Melpomene Mao is the daughter of Jules-Pierre Mao, and the younger sister of Julie Mao.

Appearance[edit | edit source]

Clarissa is described as pretty with long, dark hair. During her incarceration, she grows quite thin. She has a good singing voice with reedy overtones. She also bares a passing resemblance to Julie Mao.

History[edit | edit source]

She wishes to find, humiliate and eventually kill James Holden for what he has done to her father and her family name. But she doesn't want to kill him outright. She believes this will lead to his martyrdom. She wants to destroy his legacy, reputation, and name. This is in regards to Holden's revelation to the Sol system of Jules-Pierre Mao's involvement with Protogen, which led to his arrest.

She has illegal implants that allow her almost a second sight when in combat and allows her to increase her combat skills to be able to beat groups of attackers. It feels like time slows for her and she can see and anticipate attacks. During her battle state, her movements aren't conscious and happen with instinct which can leave her attackers dead or in bad shape. Afterwards, she is left disoriented and in a confused state. The loss of control is why the type of implant she has wasn't adopted by the UNN military and are illegal.

False Identity[edit | edit source]

Clarissa buys the false identity of "Melba Koh" along with a cover occupation of electrochemical technician supervisor aboard Cerisier from Travin, an identity broker in a gambling house of Baltimore. Then, because he attempts to blackmail her for more money, she uses her implant to kill him and his crew before escaping the scene.

The Ring[edit | edit source]

Using her false identity, she was responsible for a terrorist attack on the Seung Un, a UNN vessel, while trying to incriminate James Holden as part of a larger plan to disgrace Holden and the rest of Rocinante's crew and then to recover the former glory of the Mao family.

Her framing of Holden forces him to flee through the Ring to escape the fleets of Earth, Mars, and the OPA. Consequently, the ships of all fleets follow Holden through the gate into the slow zone.

The Slow Zone Incident[edit | edit source]

Main article: Slow zone incident (Books)

The ships of the flotilla are severely damaged and crews took heavy fatalities when the Ring responded to MCRN Marines explosive weapons aboard the Ring station. A more restrictive speed limit quickly decelerated all these ships.

She is identified and stopped by Anna Volovodov who had been befriended by Tilly Fagan, the wife of the wealthy sponsor of the Thomas Prince cruise and friend to the Mao family. Tilly refers to Clarissa as "Claire".

Anna pursues Clarissa from the Prince to the Rocinante and stops her first attack on Naomi as Anna uses a taser taken from the security office of the Prince. With Amos Burton and Alex Kamal recovering from injuries sustained during the Slow Zone's sudden speed limit reduction, with Naomi passing out from Clarissa's first attack, Clarissa uses her implant to mount a second attack this time against Anna; however, she fails to find and break into the locker before the effects of that implant wear out. Anna is able to bind Clarissa with tape then called for emergency pickup by the crew of Behemoth.

After her failed attempt to eliminate the Rocinante's crew, she is taken into custody and locked up aboard the Behemoth. It was through the central influence of the connections between Tilly and Anna that leniency for Clarissa was sought from Bull, James Holden and the Rocinante crew.[1]

She is recruited by Captain Ashford aboard the Behemoth while they're in detention together and as his loyalists free him. As Clarissa goes to join them, she sees Anna and turns to give her a smile. In his service, she circumvents tactics to disable environment of the command center while Bull's loyalists controlled engineering.

While watching Monica Stuart's Radio Free Slow Zone broadcasts and witnessing Captain Ashford's tactics, Clarissa feels growing remorse and repentance for her crimes that led everyone into the Ring, especially her betrayal of Ren while she preserved the identity of Melba Koh. Hector Cortez recognizes her uncertainty but as he too begins to question Captain Ashford, he does not expose her.[2]

She ultimately helps Holden gain access to the Behemoth's command center and uses her implant to disable Captain Ashford before he can fire the communication laser at the ring, but does not kill him.[3]

Incarceration[edit | edit source]

Anna exchanges favors so Rocinante transports Clarissa to Luna in exchange for Tilly paying the MCRN for the ship and clearing their claims on it as the "Tachi" then, granting the ship to the crew.[4] After the Slow zone incident, Clarissa was arrested and shipped back to Earth on the Rocinante. Amos befriended her on the trip back, giving her the nickname "Peaches".

Because of her illegal implants and augmentations, which can't be removed from her body safely, she was held as prisoner 42-82-4131 in the Pit, a high-security UN facility in North Carolina. Following the asteroid attack on Earth, she and Amos Burton successfully flee the planet aboard Zhang Guo, a luxury ship they commandeered on Earth.[5] At Amos's insistence, she joins the Rocinante crew, and Chrisjen Avasarala agrees to leave her in Holden's custody.[6]

Helps during the fight for the Azure Dragon and is wounded but her support in the fight makes Holden start treating her like an actual member of the crew.

After the decades, the implants are killing Clarissa. Amos tends to Clarissa. Clarissa is instrumental in the interception of encrypted transmissions and later the sabotage of the sensor arrays that allows escape. She uses her implants one last time when they are betrayed by a turncoat from the Voltaire Collective, Jordao. Shortly after this, she dies.


  1. The Expanse Novel Abaddon's Gate, Chapters 32, 35, & 36
  2. The Expanse Novel Abaddon's Gate, Chapter 46
  3. The Expanse Novel Abaddon's Gate, Chapter 51
  4. The Expanse Novel Abaddon's Gate, Chapter 53
  5. The Expanse Novel Nemesis Games, Chapter 45
  6. The Expanse Novel Nemesis Games, Chapter 50

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