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This page is about the Book-icon-simple.png books character. For the TV incarnation, see James Holden (TV).
Book-icon-simple.png Books character Tv icon.png TV character

James "Jim" R. Holden is a former soldier of the UN Navy, former Executive Officer onboard the ice hauler the Canterbury, and is currently the Captain of the Rocinante. He is also in a relationship with the Executive Officer of the Roci, Naomi Nagata.


He is an Earther with pale skin, blue eyes and dark short-cropped hair. While under the disguise of Walter Philips of the Weeping Somnambulist Holden grew a beard which came in patches of various length and curl.



Holden was born and raised in Montana on Earth, as the only child in a family co-op of five fathers and three mothers[3][4][5]. Mother Elise was the one who gave birth to him and stayed home when he was young. They all contributed to his DNA mix and as such were his biological parents. The tax break for eight adults only having one child allowed them to own twenty-two acres of decent farmland.[3]

He joined the UNN at the age of eighteen and served for seven years, his last posting being as a First Lieutenant on the destroyer Zhang Fei. He was discharged from the navy for assaulting a superior officer.

Holden was the Executive Officer of the Canterbury, where he had worked for the Pur'n'Kleen Water Company for five years, flying the Ceres-to-Saturn circuit shuttling ice nine times. While serving on the Canterbury he had a secret sexual relationship with Ade Tukunbo, which she was reluctant to escalate into a romantic relationship, despite his insistence.

Eros Incident[]

Main article: Eros incident (Books)

When the Canterbury receives a distress signal from the Scopuli on the asteroid CA-2216862, Holden is placed in command of the shuttle Knight with the crew consisting of Naomi Nagata, Amos Burton, Alex Kamal, and Shed Garvey sent to investigate. Amos joins Holden in the search of the Scopuli where they find a transmitter in ops. Immediately after the discovery of the transmitter, a suspected pirate ship appears and fires six torpedoes at the Cant. The crew of the Knight rushes back to the Cant to help save it but, both crews realize it'd be hopeless and in vain. Captain McDowell then orders Holden to fall back to the asteroid and continue broadcasting an SOS in an effort to keep the enemy crew from killing everyone on board of the Cant. Holden maintains a channel open with Ade as she counts down the time until impact with the torpedoes and the Canterbury is destroyed. He then sends a message to the enemy ship and attaches the personnel files of the crew of the Cant.

After the Cant'ss destruction, he becomes the Captain of the Knight and orders the crew to follow the stealth ship until Naomi protests and states the best course of action would be to call for help and ensure the safety of his crew to which Holden thanks her for her help. He then prepares a data package including all the sensor data from the Canterbury and Knight and after Alex tells him about similar stealth ships that were part of the Martian Navy when he was enlisted. Holden then discovers the logo of the MCRN on the battery of the transmitter from the Scopuli. He broadcasts this discovery system-wide and through that act, he effectively though unconsciously blames Mars for the attack.

Holden then contacts the Pur'n'Kleen Water Company Saturn station for orders on what to do next. After three hours, he is contacted by Wallace Fitz, the legal counsel on the station. He orders the Knight to fly towards the Jupiter system where the shuttle will be picked up by the MCRN Donnager which will assist them in their investigation. In an effort to keep his crew from being harmed by Mars, Holden broadcasts another message stating that they are cooperating with Mars' investigation and being picked up by the Donnager. Alex then notices that they are being followed by six objects. Four days into their trip to meet with the Donnager, Fred Johnson of the OPA sends Holden a message. He assures Holden that Holden has allies in the Belt and, while Holden is in the custody of the MCRN, Fred suggests he use the word "ubiquitous" in his first sentence to let Fred know he is not being coerced.

Once the Knight docks on the Donnager and the crew is taken to their quarters, Holden is escorted to Lieutenant Lopez to be debriefed. During the debriefing, the Donnie is attacked by the six ships that followed the Knight. Holden is escorted back to his crew's quarters. During the firefight their chamber is punctured and Shed is killed. While the Donnie is being attacked and boarded, Holden and his crew are escorted to the hangar bay by Lieutenant Kelly and three Marines. After a gunfight in the hanger bay, the crew escapes on the Corvette-class light frigate, the Tachi.

Drifting in space with their list of enemies growing and unsure what to do next, Holden contacts Fred Johnson who gives him coordinates and a new transponder code for the Tachi, now legally claimed as salvage. In route to Tycho Station, Holden begins to explore the Roci, his new ship. Upon arrival, Holden orders the crew to wear their environment suits and carry handguns, making it standard operation when arriving anywhere new. After leaving the airlock, Holden and his crew meet "The Butcher of Anderson Station", Fred Johnson.

Fred escorts them to their rooms and explains his situation. An all out war between the Belt and Mars would bring about a horrible death toll. However, there is one way to save all the bloodshed; view the destruction of the Canterbury and Donnager as a criminal act instead of an act of war allowing for a trial incriminating a group on which both the OPA and the Martian Congressional Republic can agree. In the event of a trial, Holden and his crew would be the star witnesses having experienced both ships' destruction first hand and give Fred and the OPA credibility in the process. Fred leaves giving them freedom of Tycho and puts all their expenses on his tab. Later, Holden and Naomi have drinks at a karaoke bar with Naomi getting up on stage to sing tunes by the Moldy Filters. After leaving and attempting to sleep in his new room, Holden heads back to his home, the Rocinante.

After three days on Tycho, Holden begins to get restless without a job. He proposes to his crew that they become independent couriers. The Roci is a stealth ship and people will need things moved quietly during the war. Later, Fred calls Holden to his office. He asks Holden if he can borrow Holden's ship. Holden refuses, but offers to go instead if he knows the details. After Fred thinks about it, he explains the job; Lionel Polanski, a fake alias created by Mr. Tycho to own things he doesn't want to be known publicly such as the Scopuli, has checked into a hotel on Eros. Due to it being a fake person, Fred knows it's someone who knows the OPA intimately and is in trouble. Holden negotiates an exchange of the Martian data cube from the Donnager for his ship and crew to be signed on as independent contractors for the OPA. Fred does put one condition on Holden being signed on; he has the right to outbid anyone else who tries to hire the Roci.

The Rocinante docks on Eros and the crew make their way to the flophouse where "Lionel Polanski" is registered. Amos notices someone following them who appears to be a cop. Upon their arrival, the Roci crew gets into a gunfight and is helped by Joe Miller, who had been following the crew. With the help of Miller's old friend, Sematimba, the crew avoids going to jail. Together they find the mutated body of Julie Mao, who had written down the location of the asteroid where the ship that attacked the Scopuli was hiding. While the crew discusses their next move with Miller, they receive a message from Fred saying that a mole was found on Tycho leaking their location. Meanwhile, a nuclear explosion on Eros put the station in lockdown. The new security force, which had taken over the Eros contract from Protogen not long before, Carne Por la Machina, starts ushering the population to radiation shelters. Miller recognizes one of the security officers as a former criminal from Ceres, and deduces that the officers are carrying the riot gear that had been stolen from Star Helix Security.

Miller and Holden decide to investigate the situation while the rest of the crew hides. Forcing a CPM security officer to open one of the already full radiation shelters, they discover that all the refugees have been gassed unconscious, and that there is heavy radiation inside, but not before they both get poisoned by a heavy dose of radiation themselves. With only hours to live, they manage to shoot their way through the security forces and the infected people from the radiation shelters who are turning into "vomit zombies", and escape to the Rocinante. With radiation sickness, broken ribs, and a shot calf, Holden barely survives, having to lay in the sickbay with Miller for several days while the Rocinante travels to the location of the asteroid Julie had written down.

With Holden and Miller still in the sickbay, Holden expresses his feelings for Naomi. Naomi instead explains that she has been in love with him since the seven weeks into their first run together on the Cant. Naomi recalls how Holden had treated another shipmate with respect when he found out that the woman had feelings for him and but he did not feel the same. Holden is revealed to be somewhat of a womanizer aboard the Cant and Naomi claims he never noticed her until she was the only woman around. Naomi refuses to sleep with Holden unless they are in a serious relationship. En route, the crew discovers that the data they brought from the Donnager implicates Earth ships in its destruction. Holden immediately broadcasts the data to the public, as he had done with the information about the Canterbury's destruction. This leads to a disagreement between Holden and Miller, the former believing that information should be free so the public can draw its own conclusions, while the latter believes that the public is bound to reach incorrect conclusions and that detective work is needed in order to not broadcast potentially false and disastrous accusations.

Arriving at asteroid BA-834024112, the crew of the Roci find the Anubis, the Protogen ship that had boarded the Scopuli. Aboard the ship, they find the bodies of the crew in a late stage of protomolecule-infection and a video of Antony Dresden explaining Protogen's plans, and communication logs. Holden then orders Naomi to remove the safe from the captain's quarters and for Amos to scuttle the ship. Upon returning to the Roci, Miller attributes United Nations Navy ships destroying Martian Congressional Republic Navy ships to Holden's releasing of the information of the origin of the stealth ships. During their trip back to Tycho, during dinner, Naomi theorizes that the protomolecule wasn't "smart" enough and needed more biomass.

Arriving at Tycho, Holden and Miller meet with Fred. Fred goes over their after-action report and they decide that the only way to stop Protogen is to find their research lab and to kill everyone there. Miller later calls another meeting with Holden, Fred, and Naomi. Miller hands over to Fred the coordinates of Thoth Station he received from his former partner.

Battle at Thoth[]

Main article: Assault on Thoth Station (Books)

During the battle at Thoth, the Rocinante takes out the station's comm array and the two defensive frigates guarding it. Once Fred and the crew of the Rocinante arrive at ops where Miller and the rest of the OPA have captured Dresden, Dresden begins to explain the Protomolecule and Protogen's involvement. Miller eventually hears enough of Dresden and shoots him in the head, much to everyone's surprise. Holden begins yelling at Miller, telling him to find his own way home.

Back on Tycho, Holden meets with Sam Rosenberg, the Roci repair team leader and tells her how much he appreciates her work. Later, Miller arrives at Holden's cabin. He explains to Holden why he shot Dresden; he thought Dresden would get away with it. Dresden was beginning to convince Miller and couldn't be allowed to get out since he and Protogen are too powerful. Holden tells Miller that he can't trust Miller to be around the people he cares about and Miller leaves. Holden then calls Naomi and she invites him to have drinks with her at the bar. Once there Naomi asks Holden if he'd like to come home with her, which he accepts.

The next morning, Fred calls Holden and Naomi to his office where Miller briefs them on the plan to destroy Eros. The Roci will defend Eros while engineers will attach five freighters to explode on the surface to deter anyone from landing. The Nauvoo will make its way to crash Eros into the sun. With Holden and the Roci going back into combat, Fred demands that he turn over the protomolecule sample he has. Holden refuses and when Fred presses the issue, Holden calls Amos and tells him if he doesn't contact him in an hour to take the Roci and leave shooting his way out if he has to. Under Miller's advisement, Fred relents.

On their way to Eros, Holden and Naomi break the news of their relationship to Alex and Amos who are quite amused and happy. While guarding Eros, Holden is able to force the Charles Lyell and its escort, Ravi, to stop moving towards the station. Naomi and Holden discuss Miller shooting Dresden. Naomi compares the Belt to one big ship and Miller did what he did to save the Belt. Not long after, they pick up a large amount of UNN ships heading toward Eros.

Once Eros dodges the Nauvoo, the crew of the Roci begins to panic. Holden opens up a channel to the Ravi asking if they would like to follow Eros as it has now somehow become invisible to radar. Holden then opens a channel with Fred. They concluded that Eros is heading towards Earth and decide to detonate the bombs on the station in hopes of slowing down the ship. Holden then contacts Miller who it turns out is still on Eros. After working on ways to get Miller off Eros, Miller contacts Holden for what they think will be the last time with the two reconciling. With the Roci traveling at high-g, Fred contacts Holden with a plan to paint Eros with a targeting laser while Earth fires nuclear missiles at it. Holden points out that there is no way for the Roci to maintain contact with the station without killing his crew in the process. Fred responds that Holden should put the ship on autopilot if he needs to. Holden replies that he'll think about it. After discussing it with Naomi they realize that they can use the radio waves from the OPA ships on Eros to target the Earth nukes without endangering their crew which receives approval from both Fred and the UN Naval Command. Shortly after, Holden receives a call from Miller telling him there's a problem. He tells Holden to call off the UN missiles and that he can negotiate with Julie and convince her to not attack Earth. Holden refuses but agrees to attempt to stall them long enough for Miller to find her. Holden then calls Fred and tells him of his plan. When Fred refuses, Holden tells him that, if he agrees, he'll give him his sample and notes of the protomolecule.

While waiting on Miller to contact Julie, the Ravi begins threatening the Roci. However, before any damage can be done, Eros stops jamming radar sensors and heads toward Venus.

On the Rocinante's way back to Tycho, the crew watches Eros' descent on Venus wondering what will happen next. Three weeks later Holden attends the peace conference of Ceres with Fred, asking him to remember Miller.

Ganymede Incident[]

Main article: Ganymede incident (Books)

In the eighteen months since the Eros incident, Holden and his crew have been working as pirate hunters for the OPA. After successfully convincing a pirate ship to turn themselves over, Holden is contacted by Fred Johnson about the Ganymede incident.

Holden, Naomi, and Amos are sent under the guise of the crew of the Weeping Somnambulist to investigate, while Alex kept the Roci hidden in case they needed to escape or were captured. Upon their arrival, much to their surprise, due to the ship being a regular, they were boarded and inspected by UN Navy, but were able to hold their cover. To make matters worse, once the ship landed they were greeted by the customs official who attempted to con/extort part of their supplies in order to subsequently sell on the black market. Holden and Amos were able to scare him and his guards off leaving him unsuccessful. Once the shakedown is over Holden meets with Santichai Supitayaporn and his wife Melissa, missionaries with the Church of Humanity Ascendant, who ran the relief depot. Santichai chastises him for the way he handled the customs official, telling him things of the relief depot are hard enough. Then, he goes on to tell Holden that he is short ten thousand kilos of protein. He escapes to speak with his wife Melissa who is much more pleasant. When Holden asks if she knows why the shooting started, she said she didn't know and assumed it was also happening all over the system.

Holden and Naomi begin to explore the station when they begin to hear a large group of people shouting. When they investigate, they discover it's a food riot; Ganymede is one of the largest food exporters in the system and continues to export food while most of the people on the station itself are starving. After he examines the situation, he goes up to the port supervisory and tells him that he is Walter Philips, OPA rep out of Tycho Station. When he fails to resolve the situation, Naomi steps in. She calls Amos and tells him that if the freighter carrying food leaves to take everything and scuttle it. She then tells the port supervisor to either give the crowd the food or the OPA will just take the whole ship. Afterwards, Naomi accuses Holden of acting like Detective Miller but, before their argument could escalate, they are approached by Praxidike Meng asking for their help.

The three make their way back to the ship where Prax tells them his story. While Amos does recon and gathers supplies, Holden forces Prax to eat a meal and take a shower. Amos returns with a can of "chicken food products" which Holden hopes the hacker that Prax hired will take as a token of payment. Then, Holden, Amos, and Prax make their way to the hacker while Naomi monitors them from the ship. They arrive at the hacker's hole for the exchange but, the hacker believes they have more chicken and raises the price. Instead, Amos begins to beat the hacker eventually being called off by Holden when the hacker agrees to help them. The hacker shows them the footage of Mei Meng being taken by her doctor, Strickland, and another woman who Prax doesn't recognize but the school's security registered as Mei's mother. The footage follows them up to an old utility storage area before the station was finished that the security feeds do not follow. With their information, they pay the hacker and head back to the ship and discuss a plan. Naomi will monitor them and take care of any electronic threats, Prax will be there for Mei to recognize and to give any details on her illness that affects the rescue, leaving Holden and Amos to the violence.

As the three of them head through to tunnels to find Mei, they are ambushed by a group of former Pinkwater Security led by a man named Wendell. Holden is able to talk them down and convince them to assist them in their rescue of Mei in exchange for getting them off of Ganymede. The group arrives at the doorway where they lost track of Mei and begin clearing the tunnels. During their search, they come across the dead body of Katoa Merton. Filled with anger, Prax opens the next door to find a group of security guards taking a break. Prax, hysterical, inadvertently starts a gunfight. The group presses on and finds more security guards and a secret science lab with the black tendrils of the Protomolecule. Holden then calls Naomi telling her they have to leave immediately. On their way back to the ship, Holden comes to the conclusion that because he gave Fred the only remaining Protomolecule sample that he must be behind this. He then orders Naomi that if they do not make it back to the ship in thirty minutes to leave with Alex but to not return to Tycho. Just before making it back to the port, they are ambushed and subdued by a group of Earthers in gray armor with no insignias.

Io Campaign[]

Main article: Io Campaign (Books)

Chrisjen Avasarala ensures that all are aware of her presence aboard the Rocinante by making a video press release with Naomi's help. In the process, she clears Prax's name.[6]

Martian Navy easily agrees to attack the UN fleet led by Admiral Augusto Nguyen when Avasarala authorizes it for threatening the safety of herself as the UN Undersecretary aboard the Rocinante.[7]

During the battle, Bobbie asked Holden to give her weapons fire control on the Rocinante.

Following the battle at the request of Holden, Captain Richard Tseng MCRN Cydonia, cruiser instructs Lieutenant Graves MCRN Sally Ride, destroyer to resupply the Rocinante[8] including "five thousand rounds of two-millimeter caseless, incendiary-tipped" ammunition and a "2mm electrically fired three-barrel 'Thunderbolt Mark V' gatling gun" for Bobbie's power armor.[9]

When Admiral Nguyen launches protomolecule hybrids toward Mars but has one hit his own vessel, the Agatha King,[10] the Razorback that Bobbie and Avasarala brought is what Holden uses to board and acquire transponder activation codes[11]. He then meets UN sailer Larson, who then helps guide him to the Combat Information Center (CIC). They are however then run into the entire infected crew in the ship's galley, the crew by this point are all vomit zombies and chase Holden and Larson. The two then escape and make it to the CIC where they run into Admiral Nguyen.

In the CIC, Holden is unable to get the codes from Nguyen and so shoots him in the throat. Once he gets reactivates the transponder codes, Holden finds the self destruct but finds out the ship has no timer. Larson however, reveals he was exposed to protomolecule by the vomit zombies and agrees to stay behind to blow up the Agatha King. Following this Holden leaves through the airlock and leaves the Agatha King, and after some time Larson blows up the ship.

After Io, Miller suddenly appears to Holden and is covered in blue sparks. He then tells Holden that "we need to talk".

Slow Zone Incident[]

Main article: Slow zone incident (Books)

One year after the events on Io, Holden and his crew of the Rocinante had a successful year and saw upgrades made to the ship. Holden at this time continues to see Proto-Miller, but he always speaks gibberish around him or tells him to "watch his doors and corners". Naomi knows about Holden seeing Miller, but he did not tell the others.

Following Holden seeing Miller, he fears that this is somehow connected to the activated Ring gate, so Holden accepts a delivery job to Uranus' moon Titania, as it takes him and the Rocinante far away from the Ring. This, however, is stopped when the employer backs out at the last minute by something. Holden is then later served a summons from Mars as they are being sued to challenged their salvage claim of the Roci. With few options, Holden and his crew accept a job by Monica Stuart, whose planning to do a story on the Ring and wants the Rocinante to take her and her camera team there. The circumstance of these events makes Holden suspect Miller is behind all of this.

Following the Seung Un being suddenly blown up, a fake transmission of Holden is broadcasted from a hacked Roci. This transmission has Holden demanding that the information and resources about the Ring remain free to all people and that he'll kill anyone who tries to stop him. In response, the OPA's Behemoth fires on the Rocinante and so it tries to flee to the other fleets but is also targeted. With nowhere else to go, Holden and crew enter the Ring by doing a flip and burn and then massively decelerating before entering.

Once entering the Ring, Holden gives a presentation for the camera crew where Holden explains the space he refers to as the slow zone and the Station in the center.

The crew eventually find out about who sabotaged the ship transmissions when Amos finds a piece of equipment in the bathroom of one of Monica Stuart's documentary crew. This documentary crew member, Cohen, admits that he got paid to install the device there and tells them it was all a set up by benefactor to get Holden to the ring. He then provided Holden an image of the person, who Holden believes to be Julie Mao.

Holden then decides to go to the station since he believes it wants him. So he tells Naomi this and leaves her in command.

When he arrives at the station, it opens up to him. Miller then appears to Holden as The Investigator and tells him that he shouldn't have come, but he can use him now. Martian Marines in power armor then catch up to Holden. He attempts to reason with them but the Marines fire at him. Then insect-like alien structures attempt to stop them. One of the Marines then throws a grenade at the structures and destroys one of them. Then a swarm of the structures surrounding the Marine and rip him apart to absorb him. The rest of the Martian Marines fall back after seeing this. This encounter causes the station to slow down the speed limit in the slow zone, which causes many ships to decrease its speed dramatically, causing many casualties.

The Investigator then takes Holden into the central core as he needs him to physically touch the interface to authorize The Investigator for remote access, since he himself is just the protomolecule simulation inside Holden's brain to make it seem like he's there with him.

Holden then touches the core, and gets a vision of him feeling like a galactic spanning civilization that then gets an infection that kept spreading. Holden then realizes that the protomocule creators were destroying solar systems to stop this infection but failed to stop it. Holden then wakes up and tells The Investigator what he saw, but the Martians show up and take Holden away.

Holden is taken to the MCRN Hammurabi where he explains everything that has happened to him. He's put in a holding cell. The Investigator appears and tells him they all need to shut down their ship's power so he can get rid of the lockdown. The Martians then surrender him to the Behemoth as they use an altered comm laser as a weapon and get Holden sent to them.

When Holden arrives, he tells the acting captain Michio Pa everything, including how to shut off the protomolecule's hold on them. Pa then frees Holden and he heads to the medical bay to check on his crew and he's accosted by Anna Volovodov. She tells him about Melba Koh, who was behind what happened to the Rocinante and Holden's fake transmission. Anna takes him to see his crew, who are all grateful to her as she helped save their lives. Anna asks them to forgive Melba, and Holden reluctantly agrees when Naomi says she forgives her.

Eventually, the ships are shut down following a mutiny on the Behemoth. Which then causes Holden suddenly envisions himself on an alien planet with The Investigator. With all the ships powered down, he managed to shut down the station's defenses, which freed the ships and opened all the Rings. No malevolent force appears and kills them, but The Investigator warns him, that they could still be out there. Even though his creators are gone, he can't stop searching for them and tells Holden that he "needs a ride".

Conflict on Ilus[]

Main article: Conflict on Ilus IV (Books)

Holden and the crew of the Rocinante have been taking jobs by escorting ships through the Sol gate to Medina Station. After they dock, Fred Johnson tells Holden that he's received a video from Chrisjen Avasarala; she wants him to mediate the situation on New Terra, since he's mostly impartial to the UN and the OPA. Holden ultimately agrees to take the job, partly because they'll be setting the template for everything that follows, and partly because the money is really good.

The Roci heads through the Ring, but it will still take 73 days to get to New Terra. In the meantime, Holden gets continual demands from both sides demanding that he force the other to concede; the Captain of the Barbapiccola insists that they be able to sell their ore, while the Captain of the Edward Israel continues their blockade, insisting they are selling the lithium illegally. Holden thinks his mission is intended to fail, that both sides are using him as a scapegoat.

After the long burn to New Terra or Ilus, Holden and Amos land on the planet to absolutely no fanfare; Alex and Naomi, who can't withstand the gravity due to her Belter physiology, head back into orbit. They walk to the town square, where the two opposing sides, headed by the major/coordinator Carol Chiwewe and Adolphus Murtry, are facing off in a shouting match. Both sides ask Holden to take their side, but he wants to be impartial. Coop threatens Murtry, who in turn shoots Coop right in the eye; he's declared Martial Law on the town. Holden tells Murtry he fully intends to prosecute him for murder.

Holden meets Elvi Okoye, an exozoologist, who warns him about the possible danger they are in by lifeforms on the planet that might infect them. Holden holds the first joint meeting with Murtry and Chiwewe in an effort to establish the laws on Ilus. They come to a compromise where the settlers can send ore up to the Barbapiccola, but they have to sign out the mining explosives from the Royal Charter Energy.

While out walking, The Investigator appears to Holden and explains that the previous inhabitants of Ilus were powerful enough that they remodeled the whole planet, and had an orbital defense system that could've vaporized Ceres, but they were still extinguished by the Unknown Aggressors. Holden then asks him how he manages to follow him around, and The Investigator tells him that the protomolecule put a local node on his ship during the Ganymede incident, when the monster was in the cargo bay. Holden then runs into Basia Merton on his way back. Basia tells him who he is, and tells him they can't make him leave. Holden can tell from his nervous demeanor that he's either in the resistance or knows who is. Then Naomi calls and warns him that there are massive energy spikes coming from his location.

Holden, Elvi, Fayez Okoye-Sarkis, and Chandra Wei head out to a location with a high energy spike. When they arrive, they find a large, insect-like being that Holden recognizes as one of the security drones from the Ring Station that was so adept at killing things. It is consuming the grasses and fungus on the ground to repair itself. Holden says they need to retreat as soon as possible, but Wei opens fire on it, and kills it; they burn it to make sure it doesn't resurrect.

Following these events, Holden gets Murtry and Chiwewe together and tells them they're all leaving, but neither agrees to his plan. Holden ultimately has to threaten to shoot Murtry, but Murtry gets a call from his team, revealing that they all knew about the uprising because he's bugged the entire town, and he already has his people in position. He orders his strike team to attack; they kill everyone inside a nearby house that Murtry dubbed a "terrorist cell". Murtry orders Basia be taken as a prisoner for conspiring with the terrorists, but Holden declares custody of him on behalf of the UN, saying he will be kept as a prisoner on the Roci.

The Investigator then visits Holden and admits that the protomolecule has been activating the alien robots on the surface, but also that there's a big empty spot in the global network and he needs Holden to check it out; it may be a remnant of the thing that killed The Investigator's creators. Holden says he'll check it out as soon as Naomi is freed from the Edward Israel.

Holden then gets a call from Alex, who says a large shockwave from an eruption from the other side of the planet would be heading to their location. With only 6 hours before the storm hits, everyone heads to the alien ruins.

The storm front hits for 16 long hours and afterwards deadly slugs emerge. All of this makes Holden tell Murtry that they need to get everyone off the planet, and he actually agrees, though he plans on coming back later. They however are not able to leave when their shuttle is shut down by the reactivated planetary defenses.

The Investigator appears and tells Holden he needs to use the material transfer network to get to the blind spot he's seeking out; Holden tells him later, after he saves everyone. The Investigator suggests that maybe airdrops of supplies are probably innocuous enough that the defense grid won't take them out, so Havelock begins dropping supplies successfully.

To make matters even worse on Ilus, the organisms that lived in the clouds infect everyone via the rain, and they all start going blind, except Holden. After some time, Elvi tells Holden his anti-cancer meds are fixing the blindness, and that they should all be able to see within hours, maybe days. After a quick nap, he finally agrees to help The Investigator shut down the planetary defenses and joins him on the material transfer system.

When they reach the processing station, The Investigator explains that the whole planet contains materials rare in the galaxy. It is basically an interstellar gas station.

Elvi then shows up and warns him about Murtry. Holden nonchalantly introduces Elvi to the alien mechanism controlled by proto-Miller. Holden then tells her and Miller to go save the planet while he goes after Murtry.

Holden eventually meets Murtry at opposite sides of a bridge. Murtry says he has to stop him from shutting down the technology because the RCE can learn from it, and even if it means he and all his people have to die, so be it. They both prepare for a shootout, but while Murtry is busy grandstanding, Holden shoots him multiple times in the chest, arm, and leg. After this, Holden patches him up and saves him, then tells him that he's got powerful friends back home that owe him favors, which he plans to cash in by humiliating Murtry.

Afterwords Holden finds out Elvi and proto-Miller were successful in their mission. So then he lets the Roci know that the planet's defense system is down and Alex fires up the engines; everyone else follows suit. Holden and the Roci crew take off; he lets Basia stay behind with his family.

Once onboard the Rocinante, Holden takes an EVA suit and blowtorches into the Roci's cargo bay until he finds the remaining bit of protomolecule. He loads it into a probe and shoots the probe into Ilus' parent star.

Return to the Sol system[]

With the Rocinante needing six months to be repaired following the events over Ilus, Holden meets up with Fred Johnson and discusses the goldrush for the new worlds. With the crew informed about the long repairs that the Roci will need, Alex, Amos, and Naomi leave Tycho Station to deal with personal business.

While being alone at a bar, Holden receives a call from Monica Stuart and then meet over dinner to inform him about the disappearance of the Rabia Balkhi. With it only being one of thirteen ships that had disappeared after going through one of the rings. Monica Knows about Fred's Protomolecule sample and wants to use it to consult Proto-Miller; Holden rejects her offer and would rather further investigate all other options. Holden raises his theory of possible OPA involvement off the missing ships with Fred, who promptly invalidates it.

Holden reaches to pay a "data wonk" called Paula Gutierrez to write him a program to find any ships that may be suspicious. when he tells Monica, she gets upset that he brought Fred, Sakai, and Paula in on the investigation especially since they are all OPA. The next day, he gets a hit on a ship called the Pau Kant located in the Hungaria asteroid group that is relatively close to Earth and Mars. He calls Alex and asks him to check it out before he comes back, then he tries to track down Monica again, but her room on Tycho had been ransacked and she's missing. He warns Fred that he has got OPA radicals on the station. and that's when he is also introduced to Tycho's chief security Camina Drummer.

Holden and Fred then go check the security footage and sees two men in jumpsuits and caps go into Monica's room and leave with a shipping crate which may possibly contain Monica. They go to the docks and find the crate, but it is revealed to be empty. Thus they suspect someone of editing the security footage, Fred responds to this by putting the station on lockdown. Back in Monica's quarters, Holden finds that her hand terminal seems to be receiving a signal from the hidden camera she wears for interviews. They track her to a sealed cargo crate and find her inside, drugged, and tied up, but mostly unharmed. Once taken to the Medical bay, Holden and Fred question Monica but then come to an agreement on the investigation of the missing ships.

Later when Holden is going over data of the missing ships, Fred requests his help in interrogating Tycho's chief engineer William Sakai. Fred tells Holden of being informed by Anderson Dawes of Sakai's possible involvement with the rogue OPA on Tycho. Holden questions the reliability of this information but Fred says it is reliable. Their questioning of Sakai reveals his resentment against Holden and Fred for being Earthers but of also his betrayal. Holden is unnerved by the confrontational Sakai but is eased by Fred Johnson's ability to control the situation. Sakai is imprisoned for his betrayal of Fred, and Holden requests the inspection of the Rocinante for possible sabotage.

Free Navy Conflict[]

Main article: Free Navy Conflict

While watching the news of two asteroids striking Earth and of Martian prime minister's escort being approached by a hostile force, Holden realizes these events are a coordinated attack. Then a priority alert from Drummer warns Holden and Fred of a ship targeting Tycho Station. Three people then enter Fred's office and start shooting. Fred is hit in the shootout but Holden and he manage to kill and fend off their attackers. However, with the station's defense grid disabled, the rogue ship fires torpedoes at the habitat ring and Fred's Office. One torpedo hits and cracks the station's Drive cone. Fred, Holden, and Drummer coordinate a counter-attack on the intruders in engineering and regain control of the station. A second torpedo with a salvage mechanism impacts Fred's office and steals his protomolecule sample.

Following the attempted coup on Tycho Station, Fred and Holden are interviewed by Monica, where they explain and give their opinion on the events that had occurred. Monica then asks of something being stolen from the station but Holden lies and denies it. Holden contemplates how he has changed from how he used to tell the truth. Fred Johnson then tells Holden of receiving two offers, one for a meeting on Luna with the Martian Prime Minister and Avasarala, who was appointed the interim Secretary-General of the UN. While the other being a message he got from Anderson Dawes, asking Fred to join with the new faction of the OPA. Holden is appalled, but Johnson is actually considering Dawe's offer. Johnson asks Holden to take him to Luna or Pallas but Holden only agrees to go if Fred takes Avasarala's offer. When Medina goes dark, Fred and Holden agree to fast track the repair of the Rocinante and of taken the Luna offer from Avasarala.

Holden meets up with Monica and gets in an argument for lying to her about the stolen sample. Their conversation is then cut short when Monica receives and plays Naomi's message for Holden about the Roci's fusion reactor had been sabotaged with bad code. They shut down the drive at 60% and reload a new drive. His hired programmer, Paula, finds the bad lines of code in the sabotaged drive and tells him that if the reactor had hit 95%, it would have lost containment and taken most of Tycho Station with it. She realizes this could have been what happened during all the reactor accidents in the past, meaning they were all murders. Holden, Fred, and eight crew of Tycho workers depart in the Roci, leaving Drummer in charge of Tycho station.

In Fred Johnson's temporary office on the Rocinante, he tells Holden about Marco Inaros likely being a puppet to someone since he lacks the organization and coordination skills. Holden then questions Fred of Naomi's connection to Marco and Fred tells him of them likely having a history. Their conversion is interrupted by a Tycho crewmember who informs Holden of the Free Navy change in course and of a civilian ship called Chetzemoka departing the Free Navy and heading towards them. Then a repeating distress message from the Chetzemoka plays and Holden discovers of Naomi on that ship and needing help. Holden and Johnson cautiously agree to head to the Chetzemoka. Then Holden video messages Alex to check the ship with him being near the mysterious ship.

When the Rocinante arrives near to the location of the Chetzemoka, Holden contacts Alex on the Razorback to see if they can contact Naomi. They soon see Naomi, who is in an EVA suit warming them of the Chetzemoka being an explosion hazard and of her running out of air. Once Naomi is saved by Bobbie, the Rocinante and meets with the Razorback. Holden immediately gets Naomi to the med-bay following the trauma she's taken. Holden then has a conversation with Naomi about them being together again and how he won't press her on her past if she chooses not to discuss it. Later on, Holden is watching an interview Monica Stewart is doing when Fred interrupts him to discuss the rogue martian fleet and who commands them.

They all make it to Luna and meet up with Amos. Then Holden and his crew have a meeting with Avasarala about the state of the system. Avasarala then informs Holden of him being appointed as a leader of the Consolidated Fleet. Holden is then informed by Noami that Amos had brought Clarrisa Moa onboard the Roci and he states he does not want to keep her as one of the crew. The conversation they have leads to Holden discovering about Naomi's past, specifically about her connection to Marco and how she has a son named Filip.

Holden is debriefed and questioned by U.N. Interrogators on Luna. He watches the news feeds about Earth's global catastrophe and gets into contact with mother Elise to learn his parents are fine on the farm. When he is back on the Roci, he talks to Naomi in their cabin about his discomfort of having Clarissa on the ship but she reassures that people can change. When Chrisjen Avasarala requests a meeting with his Roci crew, Holden agrees to her request for them to capture or destroy the Free Navy’s Azure Dragon that is coordinating the rocks being thrown to Earth. The coordination leader position is however given to Bobbie and Holden agrees to it.

As the Rocinante secretly makes its way to the Azure Dragon, Holden tries to adjust to having Clarissa onboard and having Bobbie lead as they plan their attack. When the Rocinante intercepts and disables the Azure Dragon, they try to dock until the airlocks get stuck and Holden notices the Dragon’s crew attacking the Roci with EVA mech suits. When Amos and Clarissa try to stop them, Clarissa is shot multiple times but Holden provides backup and takes her to the med bay. Seeing her risk her life causes Holden to start treating her as a member of his crew.

When the Roci heads back to Luna, James has a discussion with Naomi about Marco’s plans and how the Rings will outlast his war. As the Roci arrives at Luna for repairs he learns of the fifteen billion dead on Earth and is angered of the billions still alive in need. Later when Bobbie takes them to meet Avasarala, Holden discovers that she’s brought all 8 of his parents to Luna as refugees for all that Holden has done for Earth.

While the Roci begins being repaired, a new experimental hull plating inspired by the protomolecule, the crew are unsure of how it will hold up but Holden tells them to embrace the future. Before leaving to take Fred Johnson off Luna, Holden visits his parents to say goodbye. When father Caesar calls belters “skinnys” in front of Naomi, she makes Holden not to push for an apology.

With the Free Navy abandoning Ceres, Holden is at a bar when Alex approaches him to ask him how he is and holden tells him he’s thinking of his dad's racism towards Belters. Knowing he needs to do something, he has the idea of recording interviews with Belters that he will send Monica Stuart so she can broadcast those videos to humanize Belters. While recording an interview with two Belters women, he is interrupted by Fred to discuss if he thinks Bobbie is up to be Mars’ ambassador and Holden says yes.

In a meeting with Fred about Michio Pa’s defection from the Free Navy, Holden tells Fred he's going to contact Pa and Fred can get off the Roci if he doesn't like it. When Fred doesn’t, the Roci leaves Ceres to meet up with Pa’s ships. When the two ships meet, a missile from Ceres almost hits Pa’s ship but the Rocinante destroys it. Fearing tensions rising, Holden contacts Pa to insists it was Free Navy agents that did it. This eases tensions and Pa agrees to transfer the Minsky over.

Free Navy ambushes Rocinante[]

Main article: Free Navy ambushes Rocinante

When Holden returns to Ceres and is in a hanger bay, Fred Johnson meets up with him to have the Rocinante take him to Tycho Station for an OPA summit. When the Roci leaves Ceres for Tycho, Marco attacks them with 3 of his ships against the Roci. As the battle rages along Bobbie asks Holden to distract them with a tight beam connection as she discovers a way to take out the Pella with PDCs. Once her plan works, Marco switches his feed to Filip and, realizes he can't bring himself to kill Naomi's son, so he disarms the torpedo right as it's about to hit. Once the battle is over, Fred Johnson dies from a stroke, and afterwords Holden contacts Avasarala of Fred’s death.

Holden meets with the OPA heads on Tycho and tells them he wants to take over for Fred and enact his plan even though Fred never actually told Holden his plan. Anderson Dawes, newly defected from Marco's inner circle, shows up to the meeting uninvited. Dawes later convinces the others to give Holden a shot for them to work with him.

During a Roci crew meeting, Holden goes over their plans to take the slow zone and the ring station. When he’s alone with Naomi he tells her of his decision not to take out the Pella because of Filip being on the ship. Noami thanks her for caring but says he lost him years ago. Holden has a final word with Amos and Bobbie as they plan to crew the ice Holler Giambattista as they burn to the Sol Ring. They are then alerted of two Free Navy ships in route to catch up to them.

First Battle of Medina Station[]

Main article: First Battle of Medina Station (Books)

When the two ships launch missiles, they are taken out but the Roci and Giambattista take some damage. Holden then asks how long until the two ships catch up and is told they would in six hours. With this, the fleet approaches the Sol ring and Holden gives the order to launch the first wave of the thousand ships though the ring.

Following the first battle for Medina Station, Holden is surprised when Bobbie contacts him that she disabled the Ring station railguns. With this, the Rocinante and the Giambattista activate their drives to go through the Ring. Holden then opens a broadcast to the two ships for them to surrender, when they don’t, the Roci fires PDCs and destroys the two Free Navy ships. Holden is then relieved as the battle goes in their favor. He Then contacts Captain Samuels for the station’s surrender and Samuels does.

Following the boarding and the long takeover of Medina station, James Holden and the other Roci crew realize that the free Navy will do a counter attack to retake the station. Holden later discusses with Naomi on their different possible plans in defending the Station. Holden questions his video essays and if they mattered, Naomi comforts him in saying they did.

Second Battle of Medina Station[]

Main article: Second Battle of Medina Station (Books)

Holden is informed by Naomi of how they could cause a high traffic period to make the Free Navy ships disappear. As Marco’s ships near, Naomi's plan is set in motion to send the Giambattista through the gate. Jim then watches as the Free navy ships don’t come through the Sol ring.

Six months after the end of the Free Navy conflict, a conference with every major faction is held on Medina Station. Where Holden outlines a new role Belters will play as an independent union that would regulate the traffic and resources coming through the Slow Zone. Avasarala tries to nominate Holden as the leader, but he immediately declines and nominates a true Belter, Michio Pa. Following the meeting, Holden and the crew talk of joining the union and then tells Naomi she was his other pick to nominate.

See also[]


  1. The Expanse Novel Babylon's Ashes - Chapters 22, 39 & 46
  2. The Expanse Novel Tiamat's Wrath
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Expanse Novel Leviathan Wakes - Chapter 11: Holden
  4. The Expanse Novel Caliban's War - Chapter 39: Holden
  5. The Expanse Novel Babylon's Ashes - Chapter 9: Holden
  6. The Expanse Novel Caliban's War - Chapter 41: Avasarala
  7. The Expanse Novel Caliban's War - Chapter 43: Bobbie
  8. The Expanse Novel Caliban's War - Chapter 44: Holden
  9. The Expanse Novel Caliban's War - Chapter 46: Bobbie
  10. The Expanse Novel Caliban's War - Chapter 48: Avasarala
  11. The Expanse Novel Caliban's War - Chapter 49: Holden