For generations, the solar system - Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt - was humanity's great frontier. Until now. The alien artifact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has emerged to build a massive structure outside the orbit of Uranus: a gate that leads into a starless dark.
Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artifact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core. As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them.
I have to say that I'm glad the TV series only spent half a season on this book and only really dealt with half of the material. I get to the midway point of this one and I'm like, "All the important stuff is done, so what's the next two hundred plus pages going to be about? Really? That's how we're going to spend our time. Ugh."
Pieces of the characters from the book were taken apart from the book and re-combined for the TV show. If you didn't like Ashford in the TV show, he's unbearable in the book. Far less depth to him, too. I didn't like the character of Melba/Clarissa in either the show or the book. Her character's story arc ended differently in the book, but I'm not 100% convinced by it, even after 547 pages. Anna was fine, seemed solid. Bull's character was chopped up into pieces and divvied among the TV show. His scenes would've been too expensive to film in the second half. I didn't mind him either, but didn't feel like he contributed much to the story other than providing another POV.
Overall, I'm calling this one a letdown. I didn't really care for any part of the storyline that didn't include the Ring. Even the Rocinante crew storyline, which was focused on Melba/Clarissa's revenge plot and its aftermath, was more annoying than entertaining. Knock off a couple hundred pages from this book and it improves. Too much filler with Melba/Clarissa's angst-filled storyline and details about the physical effects of sudden braking on the human body. Knock off a couple hundred pages from this book and it improves.