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This time, the authors decided to jump over about three decades from the previous book, giving time for Earth to heal thanks in part to Martian terraforming technology (now that terraforming Mars has been abandoned).
The Transport Union, run by belters, is in full swing and Jim Holden and the Rocinante are still doing errands for them; an aging crew and an aging ship.
One of the ring colony worlds, Freehold, seems to be run by (probably) how the authors interpret far-right extremists, all conservative attitudes and guns. Drummer, the current President of the Union running things from a “void city” in Sol’s system, orders their gate to be blockaded as a result of them sending a ship through the ring and nearly causing a disaster.
That would mean cutting Freehold off from vital supplies, killing the colony and everyone on the planet. Holden comes up with a different solution (of course) and Drummer is going to rub his nose in it.