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The Kassa Gambit

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  339 ratings  ·  83 reviews
Centuries after the ecological collapse of Earth, humanity has spread among the stars. Under the governance of the League, our endless need for resources has driven us to colonize hundreds of planets, all of them devoid of other sentient life. Humanity is apparently alone in the universe.

Then comes the sudden, brutal decimation of Kassa, a small farming planet, by a myster
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Tor Books
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M.C. Planck Jack Vance's "The Demon Princes" series was a major inspiration.

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M.C Planck debut science fiction novel is a spot on space opera that hearkens back to the early days of science fiction, when story and characters were as important as the science. Its a real find.

Prudence Falling is the captain of a space freighter flying from world to world trading goods. Entering the Kassa system on a regular run, she comes upon a planet that has been attacked from space without warning. The cities are in ruins and the population is decimated. While ferrying help to survivor
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Unsolicited review copies are always a crap-shoot. When The Kassa Gambit arrived, I did what I always do with unfamiliar books that come to my door: looked it up on GR. The reviews I saw were not particularly encouraging, but, hey, it was here, so I figured I might as well read it. Besides, I've had great experiences with Tor books, so benefit of the doubt, right? Well, I'm glad I took the time to read The Kassa Gambit, because I really liked it and I've been meaning to read more traditional sci ...more
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
In the future human race has colonized a lot of planets scattered trough the universe. Earth is now just the stuff of legends and distant memory. The humanity enjoys a peaceful although a solitary existence, because it still did not encounter any other intelligent alien life forms. And then - BOOOM! When commercial trading vessel, The Ulysses, delivers goods to planet Kassa, it discovers that there is no radio signal. Whole infrastructure and most of the buildings on planet were destroyed.

Who di
Michael Hirsch
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Very nice space opera, comparable to the best of Elizabeth Moon's. Like many of my favorites it has a strong female captain. She is not military, but is very competent and has a strong suspicious streak. Unlike any other such novel I have read, there is a second main character, a male police lieutenant who is working for a fascist organization, but is secretly a double agent try to defeat them. The book alternates chapters between the two.

If you like space opera with a decent dose of politics, t
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
3-1/2 stars
Nice space opera. Occasionally there was this vague feeling of ambiguity that bothered me. I can't really put my finger on it. Something about how the characters seemed to know what was going on but it wasn't adequately explained to the reader. On the whole though I really enjoyed it. There were lots of words and phrases that were really fun and descriptive and I just loved the use of English. The characters were interesting and well motivated and there was a bit of a love story going
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written, "The Kassa Gambit" is something different: stripped-back space opera. You know those plays that only have two characters, but which somehow create an entire milieu of intrigue? This book is a little like that, except with a backdrop of aliens, wormholes and interstellar politics. Two likeable characters at the book's core and a great turn of phrase make this a satisfying and interesting read from beginning to end.
Dec 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Review of The Kassa Gambit by M C Planck 4*

This was an enjoyable romp in space with intrigue & action galore. I really liked the main characters & the way their relationship grew from mutual distrust to backing each other no questions asked.
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-owned-read
Technically speaking this is closer to a 3.5 because while the mystery of Kassa drew me in, the writing style left me feeling unenchanted. It was very...stark feeling. Especially in the beginning, it felt as if someone was just reading off the important information. Prudence talks about her crew, crew she will regret seeing go and will miss, very clinically. Kyle sort of behaves in the same manner about the crew he is forced to endure in the beginning, but he has no love for them (nor they for h ...more
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
A mystery sheathed in good sci-fi! Gets very dark just before the happy-ish ending.
I picked this book up expecting SF, which it was, but with a very strong undercurrent of romance. Which it signaled early, and stayed the course. It managed to be a reasonable SF novel without the romance being offputting to me. The love interest was a little overdrawn, but, well, I coped. (I'm okay if it's on the side of the plot. But if the relationship is the entire plot? Yeah no, not for me.)

I liked Prudence, there were clever bits at various points, and there are enough hints in the novel
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Original review by John posted at Layers of Thought.

We also have an author interview here.

John’s quick take: A couple of paranoid loners find themselves in a web of conspiracy in this science fiction thriller.

John’s description: It’s far into the future and humanity has spread itself wide across the universe, seeking out new worlds that can be colonized and exploited for natural resources. In all this time and space, there has been no sign that another sentient species exist. It seems that human
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf, favorites
This novel is fact paced, action-packed, and full of political questions that leave you thinking. The morality of the things it brings into question poses an interesting juxtaposition to the lives of its main characters and how their world falls into place around them.

I would have loved to get even more of Prudence’s back story. The glimpse of it in the novel is fascinating to me and I kept hoping for more. I do appreciate that there are parts of her past (or rather the entirety of her mother’s
Kurt Springs
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review was first published on Kurt's Frontier.


Prudence Falling is a young captain of a tramp freighter. She was an orphan from the dead world of Strattenburg. With a crew of misfits, she transports cargo (not always legal) and distributes the profits in shares. On a cargo run to the world of Kassa, the routine comes apart when she finds the planet has been attacked by mysterious aliens. Captain Falling’s routine is further disrupted when she meets Lt. Kyle Daspar who works as a dou
Jay Dubs
Jan 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The best thing I can say about this book is that I wanted it to be longer. Which is a complement this book deserves.

I think I came to The Kassa Gambit after seeing the cover at my local library. It stayed in my mind for years before I ever got around to reading it. But, finally, I have.

The highlight of this book for me was the two main characters Prudence Falling, captain of a rag tag transport vessel, and Kyle Daspar, best described as an agency man. Both these characters are filled with the k
Bob Lee
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The book starts out great, and has very much a feel of the old TV series, "Firefly." There's a tramp freighter starship that approaches a planet after coming out of a hyperspace node. The ship has unsanctioned weapons mods, and the crew is a rag-tag bunch of quirky characters.

The planet, Kassa, has been bombed by 'someone.' During the rescue mission, the ship discovers what looks like a crashed alien attack ship.

However, the plot then transforms into what seems a lot like the Star Wars movie, "A
Clay Kallam
Jun 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
“The Kassa Gambit” (Tor, $24.99, 288 pages) could have used a bit more plot to bolster its action sequences and familiar love story, but M. C. Planck (a pseudonym if I’ve ever seen one) kept the pages turning in a space opera involving tramp freighters, huge spider-like aliens with a taste for human flesh, and power-hungry humans.

When all was revealed, the pieces of the puzzle didn’t fit together as neatly as they might have, and the bow wrapping things up was a little too neatly tied, but still
Feb 02, 2013 rated it liked it
The Kassa Gambit has a lot to offer readers who are looking forward to something fun and fast that has the feel of a thriller about it. This book would make a great introduction to space operas or science fiction to those interested in looking into the genre. It’s easy to understand and digest and Planck does a great job presenting complex ides in a simple, easy to understand way. Those tried and true in the genre might miss the inventive, never-done-before feel that most SciFi books have. The c ...more
Fantasy Literature
Sep 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
The Kassa Gambit, by M.C. Planck, is a pretty run-of-the-mill space-action book, a debut book that feels like a debut book in many ways. Those issues mostly made the book fall flat for me, though the main character was intriguing enough that I might pick up a second book involving her, were one to come along.

The universe of The Kassa Gambit is one in which humans have long ago left Earth behind (it’s merely a legend now) and spread throughout the galaxies via “nodes,” gates in space that allow f
Mark Pitman
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
Prudence Falling captains the tramp freighter Ulysses to Kassa with a load of farm machinery only to discover Kassa has been attacked and devastated with few survivors. She enounters the wreckage of the attackers' alien spaceship. Fearing retribution from Altair Prime and the representative Kyle Daspar she disengages and flees fast as she can. Altair controls the purse strings so she must agree to another trip to Kassa with the dreaded double agent Kyle onboard. They piece together the truth abo ...more
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
A cross between Star Wars and Firefly... the characters are likeable, although the romance between the two main characters is somewhat tepid. I like the idea of Node travel through space, which is apparently like going through wormholes or something. There were a number of ambiguities in the author's explanations of the workings of the sci-fi galaxy, but I rather liked in the face of so many things which would be difficult to explain scientifically. I don't read many science fiction stories thes ...more
Amanda Richards
This was my first BookCase.Club book!

Overall I really liked this book. I liked the strong female lead, but wish she didn't have to be swooning over a man, but having him swoon more over her was a nice twist.

The world building and space travel science was super interesting and would have LOVED more on that as well as more on the alien species. They seemed rather flat and I would have liked to have learned more about them.

It was a quick fun read and I would recommend it to others. I would pick
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Be warned this book isn't your typical Scifi book, it's more a mystery or a thriller in a scifi setting. Which I think is why it has a lower rating than it really merits on goodreads. People pick it up and it isn't what they expected. There is basically one fight scene in the entire book and there are pretty much no space battles. So if you're expecting a traditional scifi book or military scifi then you'll be disappointed but if you go in with an open mind I think you'll find this book stands v ...more
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
This was a good start for Planck. The romance part of it was written rather obviously, but I've read plenty of books that have handled it worse. The major thing this book lacked (besides writer experience, which will come with time) is more women in positions of power. This is another main female character surrounded by an all-male cast. However, her role is big enough that I didn't really notice this until the book ended. Partly because I liked her relationships with all of the people around he ...more
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Overall I was well pleased with the book. The flow was good and I found myself looking forward to reading it. The switching between to two main characters was well done letting the reader see the world through the others eyes.
The plot line was well done. Started going down one path, and with just enough foreshadowing and surprises to keep you looking forward. I didn't LOVE the ending, but it was okay and didnt take away from the enjoyment of the book.
Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I liked the story. It was an entertaining space opera with interesting characters. I finished it in a couple of days because it is a bit short, but it was also an enjoyable read for me. There were some interesting concepts about the space ships and the planets as well as some of the science involved. The story kept me guessing until the end and though a bit abrupt the ending of the story was quite good also.
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Moves along at a great pace - quickly got to a point where I couldn't put it down. Loved the 'Node space' concept - hyperspace and normal space has been done to death in science fiction, but this book adds an interesting twist to possible faster than light travel. THe Kassa Gambit is a mix of a number of genres, with the romance aspect a bit overdone in my opinion. Overall, though an enjoyable read.
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lots of intrigue. nice to read a book nowadays that's a standalone rather than one of a series. The two main characters spent too much time dissecting the other's motives. Good action scenes. Interesting plot.
Matthew Sue Yek
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A really good and fascinating read. I loved Prudence Falling and Kyle Despar, two well developed and interesting characters. I liked the thriller-type-conspiracy narrative, i seriously struggled to put it down.

**I rate based on enjoyment
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was an enjoyable read, little Rocky at times but finished strong I think its worth a read
Michael Alan Grapin
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
An engaging, fast paced romp with surprisingly likable characters.
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