The Mercy of Gods (The Captive's War #1) (Hardcover)

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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.

★ “Masterful . . . . This is space opera at its best.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The start of something truly epic." 
 ― Fonda Lee, author of Jade City

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.

"Corey is always one of the most engaging voices in the genre."  ― Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of Children of Time

"A bang up read. I want more."  ― Paolo Bacigalupi, author of The Water Knife

"A powerful, provocative masterpiece that I will be thinking about for a very long time."
  ― Ryka Aoki, author of Light from Uncommon Stars

About the Author

James S. A. Corey is the pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. In addition to writing the novels and short stories of The Expanse, they wrote and produced the television series of the same name. Daniel lives with his family in the American southwest. Ty will tell you where he lives when and if he wants you to come over.

Praise For…

“James S. A. Corey serves up terrifying alien overlords and a vast intergalactic war with humankind on the brink of annihilation—all while never losing focus on its cast of vulnerable, courageous characters. The Mercy of Gods is the start of something truly epic.” —Fonda Lee, author of Jade City

“A fast-paced, intelligent book. Corey is always one of the most engaging voices in the genre.”—Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of Children of Time

“All the things you want in an alien invasion novel: overwhelming aliens, end-of-world terror, and plucky humans who never stop fighting. If that was all there was, The Mercy of Gods would be great, but amid the mayhem James S. A. Corey also manages to weave in a closely observed study of the small things that make us human: our loves and jealousies, our foibles and weaknesses, our empathy and our resilience. A bang-up read. I want more.”—Paolo Bacigalupi, author of The Windup Girl

"No one builds a universe like James S. A. Corey. The Mercy of Gods is wilder and weirder than you can imagine, and when it ends, all you'll want is... more."—John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling author

"While the character development is exceptional, the pacing breakneck, the emotional intensity off the charts, and the worldbuilding simply extraordinary, it’s the sheer scope of the narrative—the Carryx’s backstory, their “long” war, the countless sentient races they’ve conquered and/or destroyed, etc.—that will have science fiction fans befittingly blown away. The sense of wonder associated with the story’s magnitude is simply breathtaking... The beginning of what could be Corey’s most epic—and entertaining—series yet. Simply mind-blowing."
 —Kirkus (starred review)

“First contact, domestication experiments, and the knife-edge between appeasement and intel-gathering. Corey spins a gripping story where the twinned stakes are humanity's survival and the humanity of characters pushed to the brink by brutal intergalactic conquerors.”—Yoon Ha Lee, author of Ninefox Gambit

"Like The Expanse, The Mercy of Gods balances cosmic stakes with an astonishingly powerful human drama. Pitch-perfect storytelling."

M. R. Carey, author of The Girl with All The Gifts

“Masterful . . . . This is space opera at its best.” 
 —Publishers Weekly (starred)

"The Mercy of Gods is a wonderful mix of alien worldbuilding on a grand scale and deeply human characters, a portrait of reactions to adversity and disaster and the morality of collaboration. Lots of fun, and fans of Daniel Abraham’s The Dagger and the Coin will love it.”—Django Wexler, author of How to Become the Dark Lord and Die Trying

“James S.A. Corey’s The Mercy of Gods is a thrilling, furious adventure, but beneath its quicksilver plot and epic space battles lies a brilliant, unflinching exploration of how alien alien life might be. The Mercy of Gods is a powerful, provocative masterpiece that I will be thinking about for a very long time.”
 —Ryka Aoki, author of Light from Uncommon Stars

"This is an intelligent and innovative sci-fi epic with infinite scope that somehow never overshadows the small moments of human vulnerability and courage... Nail-biting suspense makes for an engaging and compulsively readable intro to yet another ambitious series from this writing team."

Library Journal (starred)

“Ever wonder what happens after the alien invasion? The Mercy of Gods radiates the dread and revelation of first contact, shaping new worlds and cultures that had me riveted. Characters to root for and disdain, Corey's novel delves into the human condition as that condition irrevocably changes. These guys are on their game, and I can't wait until the next book in the series!”—Bethany Jacobs, author of These Burning Stars

"The ending is equal parts heart-wrenching and hopeful, and it’s what Abraham and Franck have been building toward for more than a decade."—Polygon on Leviathan Falls

"Corey deftly weaves multiple points of view to create a dense and colorful tapestry of political intrigue, personal relationships, and sophisticated technology that bursts with action but also delivers an introspective view of the characters as they age and reflect on their purpose and the value of their lives."—Booklist (starred review) on Tiamat's Wrath

"A standout tale of violence, intrigue, ambition, and hope. ... Corey cranks up the tension relentlessly in this fast-paced story of heroes and rebels fighting for freedom. With enough thrills and intrigue for three Hollywood blockbusters, the novel stands alone nicely, making it easy for new readers as well as diehard series fans to dive right in."
Publishers Weekly on Nemesis Games

"The science fictional equivalent of A Song of Ice and Fire...only with fewer beheadings and way more spaceships."
NPR Books on Cibola Burn

"Combining an exploration of real human frailties with big SF ideas and exciting thriller action, Corey cements the series as must-read space opera."
Library Journal (starred review) on Cibola Burn

"The Expanse series is the best space opera series running at full tilt right now, and Cibola Burn continues that streak of excellence."
io9 on Cibola Burn

"Corey's splendid fourth Expanse novel blends adventure with uncommon decency."
Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Cibola Burn

"A politically complex and pulse-pounding page-turner.... Corey perfectly balances character development with action... series fans will find this installment the best yet."
Publishers Weekly on Abaddon's Gate

"It's been too long since we've had a really kickass space opera. Leviathan Wakes is interplanetary adventure the way it ought to be written, the kind of SF that made me fall in love with the genre way back when, seasoned with a dollop of horror and a dash of noir. Jimmy Corey writes with the energy of a brash newcomer and the polish of a seasoned pro. So where's the second book?"
George R. R. Martin on Leviathan Wakes

"An excellent space operatic debut in the grand tradition of Peter F. Hamilton."
Charles Stross on Leviathan Wakes

"High adventure equaling the best space opera has to offer, cutting-edge technology, and a group of unforgettable characters bring the third installment of Corey's epic space drama (after Caliban's War and Leviathan Wakes) to an action-filled close while leaving room for more stories to unfold. Perhaps one of the best tales the genre has yet to produce, this superb collaboration between fantasy authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck should reawaken an interest in old-fashioned storytelling and cinematic pacing. Highly recommended."
Library Journal (starred review) on Abaddon's Gate

"Literary space opera at its absolute best."
io9 on Abaddon's Gate

"[T]he authors are superb with the exciting bits: Shipboard coups and battles are a thrill to follow."
Washington Post on Abaddon's Gate

"Riveting interplanetary thriller."—Publishers Weekly on Leviathan Wakes
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316525572
ISBN-10: 031652557X
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: August 6th, 2024
Pages: 432
Language: English
Series: The Captive's War