Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire, #1)

317 pages

English language

Published Oct. 29, 2016

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4 stars (4 reviews)

Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris's career isn't the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next. Cheris's best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress. The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own. As the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao--because she might be his next victim.

3 editions

A good book in a great series

4 stars

I had no idea what to expect when I went into Ninefox Gambit, and it was extraordinarily confusing for the first... 100 pages or so. The book begins in media res during a big future/magic infantry battle except the magic might be high-level mathematics? In the first 20 pages alone are going to be puzzling your way through deliberately alien concepts like "calendrical rot" and "linearizable force multiplier formations" and "threshold winnowers". These aren't presented a friendly, "here's a new word, we will explain it now, or at least provide some context way." They are presented as things everyone takes for granted, and if you're lucky, in the next 20 or 50 pages you will gather enough contextual knowledge to piece together what they actually mean in the world of the book.

That could all be a really bad thing, but ultimately it ended up being kind of like a …

Review of 'Ninefox Gambit' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

It's hard for me to come up with words other than "OH MY GOD" and "THIS WAS AMAZING," but I'll give it a shot.

Cheris, an infantry soldier, finds herself entangled in a long and twisty plot involving a dead traitor whose consciousness is kept alive in a kind of suspended animation.

A lot of things in the book reminded me of CJ Cherryh - the programmed formation instinct in the Kel warrior class is like the azi in Cherryh's Alliance-Union universe and man'chi in the Foreigner universe. I don't know if Lee is also a fan of hers, but it wouldn't surprise me to find out.

Lee's blog profile lists the Vorkosigan series as a fannish interest, and I can see that influence, too.

If you like a lot of the books I like, you will probably like this book a lot.

Review of 'Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire, #1)' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Amazing military space opera

In Ninefox Gambit, Iain M. Banks' Culture meets Hannu Rajaniemi's Quantum Thief. Yoon Ha Lee weaves a futuristic story about a continuous war against heretics.

Ninefox Gambit combines technology with religion in imaginative ways. It's descriptions of violence aren't graphic, but Lee leaves plenty of room for imagination so that readers see gory battle fields in their eyes.

Ninefox Gambit makes no apologies and skips explanation: it's up to the reader to make sense of the story and technology. And what a wonderful story it is.

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rated it

3 stars