Salvation Gambit

A Novel

320 pages

English language

Published Nov. 4, 2023 by Random House Worlds.

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3 stars (3 reviews)

1 edition

pretty sure I liked the wrong ones

3 stars

Women-led jailbreak in space with swords in an unsettling but not deeply convincing AI-run prison ship. Ultimately I failed to like or believe enough of the dysfunction and misdirection in the character's relationships to enjoy what is mostly a fast-paced light fantasy.

Salvation Gambit

4 stars

A dysfunctional team of four conwomen (the boss, the hacker, the distraction, and the driver) get caught and imprisoned in Justice, an ancient spaceship whose AI goes around collecting tithes of prisoners to run it; despite their fraying relationships, the four of them have to find their footing in the cultures and towns that are flourishing on the ship, escape the eyes and hands of the AI, and run one more con to escape the ship together.

Genre-wise, there's a lot of "low tech" here, such that it almost felt like a fantasy book of towns, swords, and politics but on a space-ship. It reminded me a good bit of Elizabeth Bear's Jacob's Ladder books.

The character dynamics really drove the book. Murdock (the hacker) is the first person perspective here; her main goal is to prove herself to Hark (the boss), and she has an icy relationship with …