From New York Times best-selling author James S. A. Corey...
Before his trip to the stars, before the Rocinante, Amos Burton was confined to a Baltimore where crime paid you or killed you. Unless the authorities got to you first.
Set in the hard-scrabble solar system of Leviathan Wakes, Caliban's War, Abaddon's Gate, and the upcoming Cibola Burn, The Churn deepens James S. A. Corey's acclaimed Expanse series.
©2014 James S.A. Corey (P)2014 Hachette Audio
This is a crime noir novella focused on a piece of backstory to Amos Burton from the main Expanse novels. While having read at least the first Expanse novel would enhance a reading of this novella, it is not necessary. The novella stands well on its own as a whole, fully-fleshed story. Much better than the other Expanse novella I read, Gods of Risk, which edged more on mere filler for me. I loved the way that, true to noir values, every character in The Churn is morally grey and broken. The idea of the Churn, while also speaking to themes that recur throughout the Expanse series, makes the events of the novella resonate with importance. Enough that, I gave this a second listening the day after I finished. The way these nobodies try to survive their harsh world made for a dark and twisted rough-and-tumble towards the inevitable ending, leaving me with a smirk. Good show.
And I have to say, despite popular opinion against the narrator of Book 4, I prefer Erik Davies' narration over Jefferson Mays.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life, is rounded with a sleep.
Ah ha! I see what the writers did here. This was a great interlude in The Expanse. Vivid back story.
It deepened the background for one of the most entertaining character of the series. And it did so in an extremely well thought out and rich ways. In my opinion, this novella is actually one of the best stories in the series!
While in every other respect, the performance was great, the narrator spoke a bit too slowly for my tastes. Great storyline. Amos is a very interesting character.
This prequel to James S.A. Corey's Expanse series, starting with Leviathan Wakes, tells the story of Amos Burton, whom we first met aboard the Rocinante as the cheerful, casually violent engineer. As a novella providing "filler" material for the series, it's only interesting if you already like the series and want to know more about the characters.
Amos, when we are first introduced to him, turns out to be an evil and amoral crime lord in future Baltimore. While the reader might be thrown by this man who seems to bear little resemblance to the character we know, the "twist" ending is soon telegraphed as we're introduced to two characters under Amos's employ, Timmy and Eric, who are both caught up in the "churn" of one of the city's intermittent crack-downs on organized crime.
Since The Churn takes place entirely on the ground, it's really more of a crime thriller than a space opera, with the technology of space exploration rarely intruding into the lives of the people trying to survive the mean streets of Charm City. (I was disappointed that the audiobook narrator did not even attempt a "Bawl-mer" accent.) It's a decent story with action and violence, but only barely science fiction. Recommended for those who like The Wire and the Expanse series.
It's a quick story that gives the background of Amos Burton. If you enjoy the Expanse series you may enjoy this but it is not essential to understand the series. Glad I listened to it.
Erik Davies is a good narrator and similar to Jefferson Mays
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