Having put humanity through the wringer once, quite spectacularly, in The Expanse, James S.A. Corey is back to do it again. Yesterday, the two writers behind the pen name, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, announced their next project. The Captive’s War is a science fiction trilogy (only three books, not nine or ten!) which Franck described as, “The Book of Daniel, from the Old Testament, but as a science fiction story.”
Franck also called it “the disappointing love child of Frank Herbert and Ursula Le Guin,” which I personally find an extremely intriguing way to summarize a story.
Here’s the synopsis of the first book, The Mercy of Gods:
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Expanse comes a spectacular new space opera that sees humanity fighting for its survival in a war as old as the universe itself.
How humanity came to the planet called Anjiin is lost in the fog of history, but that history is about to end.
The Carryx—part empire, part hive—have waged wars of conquest for centuries, destroying or enslaving species across the galaxy. Now, they are facing a great and deathless enemy. The key to their survival may rest with the humans of Anjiin.
Caught up in academic intrigue and affairs of the heart, Dafyd Alkhor is pleased just to be an assistant to a brilliant scientist and his celebrated research team. Then the Carryx ships descend, decimating the human population and taking the best and brightest of Anjiin society away to serve on the Carryx homeworld, and Dafyd is swept along with them.
They are dropped in the middle of a struggle they barely understand, set in a competition against the other captive species with extinction as the price of failure. Only Dafyd and a handful of his companions see past the Darwinian contest to the deeper game that they must play to survive: learning to understand—and manipulate—the Carryx themselves.
With a noble but suicidal human rebellion on one hand and strange and murderous enemies on the other, the team pays a terrible price to become the trusted servants of their new rulers.
Dafyd Alkhor is a simple man swept up in events that are beyond his control and more vast than his imagination. He will become the champion of humanity and its betrayer, the most hated man in history and the guardian of his people.
This is where his story begins.
In the announcement event, Abraham said the series was “a really interesting place to go after the Expanse. The Expanse had so much in a particular slice of space opera that was sort of between late Apollo 13 and early Buck Rogers. We spent a lot of time there. And this is still space opera, but it’s such a very different place, such a very different part of the genre. There’s some things we get to do and play with that we couldn’t have done anyplace else.”
This isn’t the only new Corey project; the authors are also writing a novel on Patreon that is, Abraham said, their response to people asking how they collaborate. It’s called, appropriately, James S.A. Corey Writes a Novel.
But if you’re less interested in the process and more fixed on the upcoming space opera, Orbit will publish The Mercy of Gods on August 6, 2024.