Publication Date—Apr 29, 2014
From New York Times bestselling author James S.A. Corey…
Before his trip to the stars, before the Rocinante, Amos Burtons 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.
Burton was a small, thin, dark-skinned man. He wore immaculately tailored suits, and kept the thick black curls of his hair and the small beard on his chin neatly groomed. That he worked in criminal enterprises said more about the world than about his character. With more opportunities, a more prestigious education, and a few influential dorm mates at upper university, he could have joined the ranks of transplanetary corporate executives with offices at Luna and Mars, Ceres Station and Ganymede. Instead, a few neighborhoods at the drowned edges of Baltimore answered to him. An organization of a dozen lieutenants, a couple hundred street-level thugs and knee-breakers, a scattering of drug cooks, identity hackers, dirty cops, and arms dealers followed his dictates. And a class of perhaps a thousand professional victims—junkies, whores, vandals, unregistered children, and others in possession of disposable lives—looked up to him as he might look up at Luna: an icon of power and wealth glowing across an impassable void. A fact of nature.
Burton’s misfortune was to be born where and when he was, in a city of scars and vice, in an age when the division in the popular mind was between living on government-funded basic support or having an actual profession and money of your own. To go from an unregistered birth such as his to having any power and status at all was an achievement as profound as it was invisible. To the men and women he owned, the fact that he had risen up from among the lowest of the low was not an invitation but a statement of his strength and improbability, mythical as the seagull that flew to the moon. Burton himself never thought about it, but that he had managed what he did meant only that it was possible. Anyone who had not had his determination, ruthlessness, and luck deserved pretty much whatever shit he handed to them. It didn’t make him sympathetic when someone stepped out of line.