Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee

Ninefox gambit Book Cover Ninefox gambit
The Machineries of Empire #1
Yoon Ha Lee
Science fiction
14 June 2016

I loved Ninefox gambitSo much that it has to be the first thing I say about it. Okay!

Here's the blurb:

When Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for her unconventional tactics, Kel Command gives her a chance to redeem herself, by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles from the 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.

The novel starts by throwing you right into the deep end - which can be more than a bit overwhelming, because this world is dense with intriguing names for things and tech and concepts you don't know anything about yet.  I enjoy concept-candy myself, but I didn't really trust the book until Cheris very firmly took the stage.  Because, oh, yeah, while the book is dense with cool stuff, it still has room for excellent characters - much like Ann Leckie's Radchaai trilogy.

Of course, Cheris is not the sole protagonist - where she goes, General Jedao goes.  Jedao, who once went mad and massacred his own army. How could anyone calmly choose to preserve him as a weapon for future battles?  What did Cheris sign up for when she suggested he was the required weapon for the recapture of the Fortress of Scattered Needles?

If you're a fan of Ann Leckie, or Peter Watts-ian eeriness, you'll want to read this. And be so, so grateful that it says #1, indicating there will be more of this. I can't wait.

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