Babylon's Ashes is the sixth novel in The Expanse series. The book was released on December 6, 2016.
A revolution brewing for generations has begun in fire. It will end in blood.
The Free Navy – a violent group of Belters in black-market military ships – has crippled the Earth and begun a campaign of piracy and violence among the outer planets. The colony ships heading for the thousand new worlds on the far side of the alien ring gates are easy prey, and no single navy remains strong enough to protect them.
James Holden and his crew know the strengths and weaknesses of this new force better than anyone. Outnumbered and outgunned, the embattled remnants of the old political powers call on the Rocinante for a desperate mission to reach Medina Station at the heart of the gate network.
But the new alliances are as flawed as the old, and the struggle for power has only just begun. As the chaos grows, an alien mystery deepens. Pirate fleets, mutiny, and betrayal may be the least of the Rocinante’s problems. And in the uncanny spaces past the ring gates, the choices of a few damaged and desperate people may determine the fate of more than just humanity.
With Earth's Navy defending Earth from the incoming meteors, Marco's Free Navy, which is supplied by the rogue MCRN faction lead by Duarte based in the Laconia system, has both superpowers subjugated, thus exerting power throughout the entirety of Sol. The Rocinante's crew set out and managed to stop a geological ship from continuing the attack on Earth. Marco's Free Navy has set up a camp on Ceres. The former's next plan is to overexert the UN-Mars Liberation Coalition Navy by abruptly striping Ceres of its wealth and abandoning the station and its six million residents.
At this point, Michio Pa, who is flying for Marco's Free Navy, decides to diverge from Marco's path because he had abandoned his promises of supplying the Belt. The result is a schism in the Free Navy, causing ships loyal Michio Pa to possibly accede to a Sol Coalition, comprised of the UN, MCR and the OPA's joint fleets, as means to oppose Marco's Free Navy. While in travel towards the meeting location, Fred Johnson, the de facto leader of the OPA, has a stroke and dies while in battle with Marco's Pela and two other Free Navy ships.
After Johnson's death, Holden and co. convince the the Coalition to gather forces and make coordinated attacks on the Free Navy's holdings. The Rocinante and an ice hauler, which is filled with two thousand small rocket driven ships and missiles, make a hard burn for the Gate in order to take down the railgun defenses installed by the FN on the Medina Station in the Slow Zone.
With the diversion in place, the OPA forces, Bobbie and Amos make a dive for the railgun defenses. Bobby finds the railguns protected by a small force comprised of Duarte's Martians. Bobby eventually disables the railguns by destroying the fusion core powering them all. Holden and the OPA then proceed in liberating the Medina Station, which results in all of its occupants surrendering. Holden takes command of the station, which Carlos c de Baca predicted would happen.
As one last attempt to retake the station, the Free Navy sends the rest of its forces on a hard burn to the gate to overwhelm the small OPA force and the Rocinante, which were present there. Understanding that winning the battle outright is impossible, Naomi uncovers the mechanism which resulted in certain previous ships disappearing after attempting travel through the Ring network: a very large ship, as well as heavy traffic, can overwhelm the wormhole's physical capabilities, resulting in the ships forever being stranded in its throat.
Using the recent revelation, Naomi overloads the Sol Ring's capabilities at the time the Free Navy was attempting travel through the Gate. Much like the Barkeith, Marco's Free Navy remains stranded in higher space-time.
Six months later at a conference on the Medina Station, Holden discusses the formation of a Belt Union that controls the Ring Network and all the economic, military, etc. intra-system and inter-system trade, as means to restabilize the Sol system's economy, help the colonies flourish and improving living standards in the Asteroid Belt.
Ever since the defeat of the Free Navy, the Laconia system has ceased any inter-system communications with Sol and the other systems. However, one certain truth still stands: avoid the Laconia Gate or be destroyed.
Viewpoint characters Edit
- Namono (prologue)
- Anna (epilogue)