Ninefox Gambit

(The Machineries of Empire #1)

317 pages

English language

Published Oct. 29, 2016

ISBN:
9781781084496

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3 stars (15 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.

4 editions

My review of 'Ninefox Gambit'

No rating

What a book! It's the first one of the Machineries of Empire series. I'm not typically one for military stories but damn is this an enthralling story. The single most enrapturing aspect of the storytelling is just how intensely delicate all the imagery feels. The description of weapons and battles is consistently beautiful, and conveys a sense of it all being incredibly fragile. The characters all get to be real people as well, who have hobbies in their down time and their own individual reasons for being soldiers.

In addition I'm always a sucker for interesting world building, and this is my favorite one in quite some time. The physics bending magical powers that armies wield is all powered by mathematical calculations based around a shared universal calendar. The army that we follow in this novel is chiefly occupied by putting down heretics who would veer away from the imperial …

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'

No rating

This book is Marmite. Or Vegemite. You’ll love it or hate it. I wanted to love this book. I really did. I mean, I loved the idea of it. But it was just not for me.

I didn’t understand what was happening. I kept finding reasons to do something over than read … which is just not what I want in a book.

I checked the other reviews in the hopes of finding people saying it was hard-going in the first few chapters and then it suddenly clicked out something like that. If that has been the case, I’d have stuck with it. Alas, no.

Based on the reviews, this is it. It starts like this; it stays like this. A lot of people love it. I wish I were one of of them.

Review of 'Ninefox Gambit' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

In a universe where interstellar warfare is based on mathematical truths that are influenced by shifts in consensus reality, the vast colonial empire of the Hexarcate has great incentive to force assimilation of the cultures it absorbs. So one could question the logic of putting a mathematical genius from a nearly extinct minority in charge of the most brilliant and dangerous general of all time...

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