“The Caledonian Gambit”

Dan Moren

If memory serves, Moren has just released the sequel to this book, and I may have to pick it up. I wouldn’t say that “The Caledonian Gambit” was, like, earth-shatteringly good, but it fit my mood just right. It’s been a while since I read some light science fiction, it’s been a while since I read an espionage thriller, it’s been a while since I read something doing something really fun in that space.

I’ll sound the spoiler horn here – if you want no hints whatsoever about the plot, just go read it now.1

Alright, spoilers ahead!

I think my favorite thing in this book was the perfect payoff, how every aspect of the prologue went on to be massively important to the remainder of the book. It did a great job of seeming like a throwaway moment, but kept coming back in little bits of “oh, you thought that didn’t matter? Surprise, it did!”

And, having myself paused for the spoiler break (because apparently that’s how my brain works), I realized why I’m excited for the sequel: because I’ve actually read this exact plot before. It’s an early arc of Schlock Mercenary, although definitely played differently than it was there, and I’d love to see what someone else does with that idea. (Although, if you’re at all interested in comics and space opera, I highly recommend Schlock Mercenary, as well — it starts off very “lol it’s the 90s and I’m making a webcomic!” but by the end, it’s one of the best pieces of large-scale science fiction I have ever read.)

  1. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.