|Books character||TV character|
James "Jim" Holden is the captain of the Rocinante. Originating from Earth, he left the planet after being kicked out of Earth's Navy. He lives to avoid responsibility, because once he's taken on a cause, he can't stop until he sees it through.
A Montana native, he is the only child born to eight parents as part of a genetic collective. At a time when Earth's population is over 30 billion, there are big incentives for people not to have children and undeveloped land is a distant memory for most of Earth's population.
Holden is an only child of 8 parents whose DNA has been artificially combined to create an heir to his parent's fight to preserve one of the last undeveloped wildernesses in Montana. When he is 18 his closest parent, Elise, in a moment of guilt, tells him he has been raised to fight a losing battle and that he should run away as far as possible. Holden joined Earth's Navy to escape. In the UN Navy he served as a First Lieutenant until an ideological conflict turned into a physical confrontation where Holden tried to punch a superior officer. The officer dodged and Holden broke his hand on a bulkhead. Holden was then given a General Court-Martial, convicted and discharged from service as a result.
After being discharged from the Navy, Holden took a contract with Pur'n'Kleen (owner of the Canterbury), looking to get as far from home and Earth and the UNN as possible.
Throughout the series Edit
A small crew from the ice hauler Canterbury – Holden, Naomi Nagata, Alex Kamal, Shed Garvey and Amos Burton – respond to a distress call from a seemingly abandoned ship, the Scopuli. Once on board, they discover the distress call was planted. Shortly after, Holden watches as a ship with advanced stealth technology blows up the Canterbury, killing all the crew onboard.
With oxygen dwindling, Holden and the surviving crew of the Canterbury struggle to stay alive in their shuttle. They theorize the Canterbury’s destroyers were Martian, since the distress call transponder was of Martian Naval origins. Holden broadcasts a public message that implicates Mars in the attack, thus ensuring he and his crew won’t be killed by Mars (for fear they’ll look more guilty). The message goes out just as a Martian warship, the Donnager, approaches the shuttle.
The Martian Navy detains and interrogates Holden and his crew over Holden’s public accusation that Mars destroyed the Canterbury. Holden is interrogated and made to doubt Naomi’s loyalty. The ship’s captain wants Holden to rescind his statement and blame Naomi and her supposed Outer Planets Alliance ties for the explosion, just as a fleet of aggressive stealth ships approach.
The Donnager comes under attack by a fleet of stealth ships just like the one that destroyed the Canterbury. The crew realizes this indicates Mars’ innocence. While Shed is killed, Holden, Naomi, Alex and Amos escape the destruction of the Donnager by commandeering a Martian attack ship, the Tachi.
Holden and his crewmates escape the Donnager’s destruction through the fighter ship, the Tachi. They receive an offer of help and refuge from Fred Johnson. After much debate, given Fred’s reputation, they decide to take him up on his offer, shortly before disguising the ship with the new name of the Rocinante.
Holden and his crewmates arrive on Tycho, where Fred Johnson reveals that he was the one that chartered the Scoupli, the ship whose distress call started the chain of events that destroyed Holden’s ship, the Canterbury. He tells Holden and co. he needs their ship, the Rocinante, to go find the Scopuli’s sole survivor – code name Lionel Polanski. Holden agrees to lend the ship if he's part of the crew, as Lionel might be able to reveal who really destroyed the Canterbury. Fred agrees, and Holden, Naomi, Alex, and Amos decide to stick together until they get answers.
On the way to retrieve Lionel Polanski, the person that can reveal who destroyed their ship, Holden and Co. elude detection by a Martian warship. They discover Avasarala’s spy, Kenzo stowed away aboard the Rocinante. Holden and Amos disagree over his treatment.
Out in space Holden and his crew find the Anubis at the coordinates provided by Lionel Polanski. They realize the Anubis was the stealth ship that blew up the Canterbury, and is filled with a dangerous substance that must have killed the crew. The crew traces the Anubis’ shuttle to Eros, where they meet Miller and escape U.N. Underecretary Errinwright’s team of assassins, only to discover the agent they’re looking for – Julie Mao - is dead and infected with the same strange substance.
Holden and his crew compare notes with Miller. Both parties realize that the trails they’d been following point to the bioweapon that made its way from Phoebe. Eros goes on lockdown, and Miller deduces it’s the work of the same people responsible for the bioweapon. Believing this could reveal why the Canterbury was destroyed, he accompanies Miller on a search for answers while Naomi, Alex and Amos head to the Rocinante. Holden and Miller are hit with a fatal dose of radiation. They manage to elude the security forces keeping Eros on lockdown and get back to the Rocinante. After getting some medicine, Miller, Holden and the Rocinante crew vow to find Dresden, the scientist who is responsible for locking down Eros to use its populace as an experiment for the bioweapon.
In the aftermath of the Eros station disaster, Holden is still recovering from an almost lethal dose of radiation. Holden and the crew of the Rocinante go on the run, this time with a sample of the protomolecule, the extra-solar lifeform responsible for all of the havoc on Eros station. With so much at stake, they decide to reconvene on Tycho with Fred Johnson, the very man who sent them there in the first place. Naomi and Holden also embark on a romance.
Once on board Tycho, the crew of the Rocinante hatch a plan to get rid of the protomolecule, the extra-solar life form that destroyed Eros. Holden and the crew of the Rocinante depart for Thoth, a black ops station hidden in the belt and the whereabouts of the foremost protomolecule scientists. Once on board Thoth station, Holden finds a group of protomolecule scientists. When his boarding team disrupts them, things go sour and only one of the scientists survives the resulting shootout. Holden, Fred Johnson, and Miller corner the lead protomolecule scientist, Dresden, and seem poised to finally extract the truth from him regarding the protomolecule, before Miller shoots him dead.
After the battle on Thoth station, the crew of the Rocinante take some much-needed R&R. Naomi and Holden clash over Miller’s murder of protomolecule scientist Dresden; Naomi thinks that Miller was protecting the Belt with his actions and Holden believes Miller’s actions to be motivated by revenge. The two come to a truce, but their alliance and relationship may have been formed on a cracked foundation. Meanwhile, Holden works with Amos to extract vital protomolecule information from Cortazar, the only scientist to survive Thoth station.
Fred Johnson and Miller inform Holden and the Rocinante crew of their plan to get rid of the protomolecule threat on Eros once and for all: by using a commandeered Nauvoo as a battering ram, they plan to push Eros into the sun. Eventually, Naomi gets on board with the plan. Alex, Naomi, Holden and Amos take off with the massive generational ship the Nauvoo in tow, which will be used to destroy Eros (and the protomolecule). Once they get close to Eros, they encounter a small rogue Belter ship, the Marasumus, has boarded Eros and been exposed to the Protomolecule. Holden has no choice but to fire upon the Marasmus crew lest they infect the rest of the system with the protomolecule. Later, the Rocinante crew launches the Nauvoo into Eros, but the asteroid defies all physics and dodges the starship.
With Eros now hurtling towards Earth at speeds that defy physics, Holden and the Rocinante crew convince the UN to give Fred Johnson the codes to a horde of nuclear missiles, so that he can control them remotely through information the Rocinante feeds him. The UN agrees, but it’s Miller that saves the day when he convinces a protomolecul-infected Julie Mao controlling the asteroid to crash into Venus instead of Earth.
Holden and the Rocinante crew return to Tycho and are hailed as heroes. Holden pleads with Fred Johnson to return Earth’s nuclear missiles in his possession, but Fred sees these missiles as a valuable tool in keeping the Asteroid Belt’s residents from suffering because of Earth and Mars’ conflict. Worried about the sample of the protomolecule still in the Rocinante’s possession getting in the wrong hands, he convinces the rest of his crew to blast it into the Sun to destroy it. Naomi, thinking it may be valuable to the Belters, secretly saves it, lying to Holden in the process.
Holden witnesses Fred and Anderson Dawes vying for power within the Outer Planets Alliance. He tries to throw his support behind Fred, the only person in the room advocating peace. But Holden is quickly proven to be in over his head. Dawes wins the support of the Belter tribal leaders, and sniffs out the existence of Fred's secret weapon: protomolecule expert Cortazar. When Holden finds Cortazar's cell empty, the Roci crew race to catch him, but Dawes has scurried him away.
With the knowledge that there is protomolecule on Ganymede, Holden and Naomi work to track down the prominent scientists on the Jovian moon who might be responsible for the contamination. Their search reveals a Dr. Strickland. One of Strickland’s associates, Praxidike Meng, is one of the refugees that has just arrived on Tycho. Holden questions Prax, but the architect doesn’t know anything about the protomolecule. Naomi and Holden argue over Holden's increasingly violent approach to stopping the protomolecule threat; other people may behave that way, but he's supposed to be better. As tenderly as he can, Holden explains that this time he can't back down until his job is done. In order to protect the Belt, Holden and the Roci crew depart Tycho with Prax, to go to Ganymede and destroy the protomolecule.
Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are en route to Ganymede, but need a way onto the damaged Jovian moon that is less conspicuous than boarding with a Martian gunship. They hitch a ride on an aid ship called the Weeping Somnambulist and conscript the unwilling help of two Belters for safe passage to Ganymede.
At the beginning of the series, Holden is presented as having been enjoying the relative lack of responsibility that comes with being the 2nd officer on a remote ice hauler. Born on Earth, he left after being kicked out of Earth's Navy and has run to one of the most remote places in the solar system onboard the Canterbury.
As events unfold he soon becomes the captain of the Rocinante. Raised to be moral and responsible, once he has taken on a cause, he feels honor bound to see it through.
- Jim is forever on the lookout for a good cup of coffee in space.