Tiamat's Wrath is the eighth and penultimate novel in The Expanse series. It was originally projected to be released on December 4, 2018, a year after the preceding novel, Persepolis Rising. However, production delays with the publisher postponed the release to March 26, 2019.
Its title and cover were revealed on April 3, 2018.
In the dead systems where gates lead to stranger things than alien planets, Elvi Okoye begins a desperate search to discover the nature of a genocide that happened before the first human beings existed, and to find weapons to fight a war against forces at the edge of the imaginable. But the price of that knowledge may be higher than she can pay.
At the heart of the empire, Teresa Duarte prepares to take on the burden of her father's godlike ambition. The sociopathic scientist Paolo Cortázar and the mephistophelian prisoner James Holden are only two of the dangers in a palace thick with intrigue, but Teresa has a mind of her own and secrets even her father the emperor doesn't guess.
And throughout the wide human empire, the scattered crew of the Rocinante fights a brave rear-guard action against Duarte's authoritarian regime. Memory of the old order falls away, and a future under Laconia's eternal rule - and with it, a battle that humanity can only lose - seems more and more certain. Because against the terrors that lie between worlds, courage and ambition will not be enough...
Four years after the Laconia-Sol Conflict, James Holden is an honored prisoner on Laconia. He is attending the Funeral of Chrisjen Avasarala who had died in her sleep four months earlier on Luna. Holden could hardly believe she was gone but then Winston Duarte moved the funeral service and her tomb to Laconia. By the end of the service, Holden ran into Kiki the granddaughter of Avasarala and they discuss the impact her legacy has had on them. As Duarte moved the center of humanity to Laconia, science institutes, business, and the famous all moved to Laconia Capital City. So while Holden made his way through all of those famous and powerful people at the reception in the state building, he runs into Camina Drummer and they converse about their predicament under Laconian rule. Then High Consul Duarte arrives at the event and Holden notices how some of his physical features were off because of Protomolecule testing Paolo Cortázar has done on him.
Elvi Okoye, now a major in the Laconian Empire, leads a scientific mission with her Husband Fayez for the Empire with a number of different scientist. With the Falcon, a Laconian ship specifically made for the mission, they study Dead systems. The ship accomplishes the travel form system to system with the newly invented fully immersive liquid chamber Crash Couches that can travel up to 30Gs without killing its occupant. The Falcon's scientific mission also involves using a Protomolecule infected test subject who is called The Catalyst to activate any possible Protomolecule artifacts in these unexplored systems.
While in the Adro system, Elvi and her crew find a system with a large diamond like spherical planet. When the Catalyst makes contact with the Adro diamond, Elvi theories it could be a backup drive and the Rosetta Stone to builder technology. The Falcon's commander, Admiral Sagale however orders to leave the system before any serious study can be done. Elvi tells Fayez she suspects Sagale has another agenda.
With the crew of the Rocinante crew separated and wanted fugitives, Naomi is remembering the Rocinante. She and Alex had stowed it away on Freehold to be saved for a later day and to keep a low profile. With Holden captured and Amos in an undercover on a covert mission on Laconia, Naomi had taken a leadership position for the Underground. This however involves her being isolated and being sent in shipping containers in Transport Union ships in order to move to system to system to communicate with Underground forces. Once she arrives to Deep Transfer Station Three in the Sol system, She meets up with Bobbie Draper who now is the Captain of the Gathering Storm and Alex who is the ship's pilot. During their meeting, they discuss the Gathering Storm secret mission in the Sol system but Naomi and Bobbie disagree on which tactics the Underground should use. Once they say their goodbyes and Naomi leaves. Alex prepares to transfer the Gathering Storm which is being transferred from freighter to freighter for their mission.
Back on Laconia, Teresa Duarte the daughter of High Consul Duarte lives a busy life on Laconia and has little freedom. In one of session with her tutor, Colonel Ilich, she question who the Ring Builders were and who killed them but her Ilich says no one knows. Later when her father begins to take her to important meetings, Teresa question on why she should be there. Duarte simply tells her he is grooming her to become the leader of Laconia if one day he no longer would around to rule it. Later Teresa runs into Holden and he warns her not to fully trust those close to her. Eventually Teresa with her dog Muskrat sneak out of the State building and goes up into the hills to a cave. There she meets with her friend Timothy. She eventually goes home where her father meets with her to discuss Laconian tactics in decision making.
While the Gathering Storm was in the Pendulum's Arc, Alex learns from Bobbie their mission is to intercept a freighter caring cargo parts for the Heart of the Tempest that was stationed in Earth's orbit. The Freighter however was being escorted by two Laconian Frigates so the Storm snuck up to the ships to attack. While the Storm engages and was takes out the two frigates, Bobbie with a strike team uses a Breaching pod to take the freighter until PDCs decompresses the entire ship's atmosphere. This causes the mission to be a partial failure but Bobbie does capture the ship's cargo. When they get to a hideout in Callisto, Alex gets a message from his son Kit who is getting Married. After a meeting Alex and Bobbie have, Bobbie learns the cargo they took was antimatter that powers the Tempest weapons and she plans to use it against the Laconians.
Following Elvi Okoye onboard the Falcon arrival into Tecoma system, it is discovered the system is empty of any planets or even space material. The only thing in the system is a neutron star and it's oddly placed ring gate, which is much farther out and positioned above the star's north pole. Commander Sagale then informs Elvi of their other mission by the Laconian military to use this system to conduct a weapon test since the Tecoma system met their requirements of a sparse system. Elvi advices against the plan but Sagale moves forward with it.
In a strange interpretation of game theory, Duarte believes that he needs to "punish" the Unknown Aggressors that are believed to be making ships go dutchman. In order to do so, Duarte gave the command to Admiral Sagal to conduct the weapons test attack by sending a bomb ship into the Ring network with the Tecoma gate as a Ring network anomaly occurs. When the test is conducted, the ship phases between the gates and explodes. The experiment then goes wrong when the Unknown aggressors destabilize the Tecoma system's neutron star. Fearing a possible gamma-ray burst hitting the Tecoma gate, the Falcon crew burn and retreat into the slow zone. Then as feared, the neutron star collapses and shoots out a gamma-ray burst that destroys the Tecoma gate and Thanjavur gate, which is located on the opposite side of the Slow zone. This causes the Thanjavur colony to be cut off from the Ring network and be isolated.
A few days after the Tecoma star collapse, the crew of the Falcon witness strange reading of radiation coming from the edges of the slow zone as the Ring station glows like a small star after being hit by the gamma-ray burst. Suddenly another missing time skip event occurs throughout the gate network and in the slow zone. The Falcon is nearly destroyed by strange dark tendrils, but Elvi is capable of activating the Falcon emergency escape out of danger and into the Laconia system as she had experience this before on Ilus. Unfortunately, half the crew die (including Admiral Sagal) from injuries caused during the time skip, and the rest barely survive including Fayez. Everything else in the Slow Zone is either killed or destroyed following the Slow zone catastrophe. This includes Medina Station, the Eye of the Typhoon, and Saba, the leader of the underground.
While Teresa meets up with Timothy again, they experience the time skip event and she leaves the cave to see what has happened. She is then picked up by colonel Ilich and security to see her father. Duarte is left in a waking coma like state after the time skip as Cortazar's treatments to make him immortal left him susceptible to the time skip attack and he is no longer cognizant of the real world. This leaves Admiral Trego to be running the Laconian Empire while they keep Duarte's condition a secrete.
When Naomi finally arrives at her destination in the Auberon system after being onboard a ship where she was almost found by Laconian forces. she meets up with the local underground who she knew during her Fred Johnson days. After learning of Saba's fate, Naomi takes over as leader of the Underground, she then sends out her plans to everyone in the Underground that she can contact. While Naomi still wants a peaceful solution, she understands the need to negotiate from a place of strength. With the destruction of the Typhoon in the slow zone, the Laconians are not able to control the ring network like they once had.
After consulting with Naomi, Bobbie and Alex head out on a mission to destroy the Tempest using what they learned from the transport freighter ship intercept. This information reveals a blind spot in the Tempest's sensor view that Bobbie uses to sneak the White Crow close enough so they can send a small rocket with an antimatter bomb attached to destroy the Tempest. Unfortunately, Bobbie's ship takes PDC damage upon approach. Bobbie's copilot Rini Glaudin is killed but the antimatter bombs are untouched. Seeing that she will no longer be able to get the antimatter bombs close with the rockets they had, she takes a final measure of using her Laconian Power Armor thruster's to accelerate the antimatter bomb towards the Tempest. Bobbie realizing there is no chance she can be saved, uses the remaining amount of bullets she has to get into the sensor range of the Tempest which kills her with a rail gun strike. She does this to prevent Alex from making any dangerous rescue plans. As Storm retreats from the Tempest, the antimatter bombs explode destroying The Heart of the Tempest. The crew of the Storm receives a large amount of radiation in the blast.
After receiving the sad news of Bobbie's death, Alex reveals that he is heading back to Freehold to unwrap the Rocinante for the upcoming fight that Naomi is planning. Naomi who continues in as Saba's successor heads to Freehold to meet up with Alex who she assists in getting the Rocinante in ship shape for an atmosphere launch. Soon enough they are ready to head off into space to get "closer" to the Ring Gates for "better" communications. While in transit the Rocinante is hit with another time skip event. This event only affects three systems but lasts 20 minutes, longer than the previous events.
After this Teresa heads up to Timothy's cave, she inadvertently leads security forces to the cave and a firefight breaks out where Timothy is killed by Colonel Ilich. After Teresa is taken back to the state building, Timothy's body is taken away by the native Laconian repair drones. Then Teresa learns Timothy's real name was Amos Burton a terrorist who was planning to nuke Laconia until he met Teresa.
Elvi during this time had fully recovered and had been given increasing responsibilities to help Duarte recover, and look over Cortazar work. She then meets up with Cortazar who takes her to the Pens and is shown Cara and Xan Bisset. The children had died decades ago and had been repaired by the Laconian Repair Drones. Elvi questions the children if they are conscious and apologizes to Cara for what happened to her.
Holden who has been in contact with Cortazar, Duarte and a little bit with Teresa has been playing a long term chess game, in order to drive a wedge between Cortazar and Duarte. Holden's plan comes to head when he tells Teresa to watch his conversations with Cortazar. Holden has been suggesting using as Teresa a subject to study to help Duarte get better. When Cortazar's slightly mentions this on camera, Teresa becomes aware of the fact the Cortazar wants to kill her. She lets Elvi know of Cortazar's intentions and she lets Trejo know. Teresa also goes to her father and tells him about Cortazar, Durate seems to be unaffected by the news, still swiping at the air. Later in the meeting in Durate's room Elvi, Cortazar and Trejo discuss the future of the Empire. Duarte at one point gets up and mumbles to himself near Cortazar, the next second without a gunshot, Duarte causes Cortazar's head to explode, killing him.
Naomi's plan finally comes to head, in the Siege of Laconia. Over 400 rebel ships arrive to resist Laconia, including three Donnager Class battleships. Unlike the invasion of Sol, the Laconian Magnetar-class ship Voice of the Whirlwind does not use its primary weapon for fear of triggering another round of unconsciousness. Naomi's plan to disable Laconia begins with baiting the Whirlwind and retreating away. When the Whirlwind gets far enough away from Laconia, a few ships of Naomi's fleet dive for the alien orbital construction yards. When the ships are close enough they fire rail guns into the orbital construction yards destroying them, all this while dodging rail guns from planetary defense systems. This accomplishes the goal of taking away Laconia's advantage of creating new alien ships and producing antimatter.
During the engagement, the Rocinante receives Amos's codes for evacuation. The codes were sent from Teresa who had released Holden so they could leave the planet. When the two make an escape they are confronted by Ilich and security threatening to kill them. Out of nowhere, a "repaired" Amos kills Ilich and his security forces. Soon after, the three of them and Muskrat are evacuated by the Rocinante. When leaving Laconia, the Rocinante is target locked by the Whirlwind. The Whirlwind however hesitates when Teresa gets on the comms and declares she is working on a mission with the rebels straight from her father. The Whirlwind sends ten missiles at the Rocinante which it destroys with PDCs. The Roci with the surviving Underground fleet leaves the Laconia system.
On Laconia, it is revealed that Holden's goal in his metaphorical chess game as a captive was to get Cortazar removed and for Elvi to take over the science directorate. Confident in her position, Elvi's first move is to shut down Cortazar's Pens and release Cara and Xan so they can work with her with the information they can access with The Library. She declares to Trejo that the greatest potential of information is exploring the Adro Diamond.
Back on the Rocinante, Holden is settling back onboard with his crew and he talks to Amos to see if he is still him. Amos tells him that he is still himself but now he knows thing now and warns Holden they are going to kill everybody. Holden simply tells him he knows.
- Holden (prologue, epilogue)
- Elvi (13 chapters)
- Naomi (14 chapters)
- Alex (7 chapters)
- Teresa (11 chapters)
- Bobbie (5 chapters)
- The Dancing Bear (interlude)
The book was released as a hardcover on March 26, 2019.
The book was first released as a trade paperback in Europe. A paperback edition was released in the United States on January 21, 2020.
- Hungarian: Tiamat Dühe (2019)
- Italian: L'ira di Tiamat (2019)
- German: Tiamats Zorn (2020)
- Polish: Gniew Tiamat (2020)
- Russian: Гнев Тиамат (2020)
- Czech: Tiamatin hněv (2020)
- French: La Colère de Tiamath (2021)
- Serbian: Tijamatin gnev (2021)
- The title refers to Tiamat, a primordial goddess associated with creating the cosmos from chaos in ancient Babylonian mythology. The entity has been described as a serpent or dragon. According to the myth recorded on ancient cuneiform tablets, the deity Enki captured and killed Tiamat's partner, Abzû. As a display of her wrath, Tiamat created eleven monsters of her own offspring to wage war against the deities and avenge her mate's death.
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