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This is the final episode in the Sol System Renegades series (formerly known as part of “The Solarian War Saga). It completes the various character stories that have been introduced in the previous books. The series has been about a war between a Super Artificial Intelligence (AI) that grew out of a computer program created by the Imperial Chinese Republic for their development of Mars into commercial success a number of years before the series started. There were no limits set on what the program could do and it grew and grew until it became an AI, and it called itself The Plan. For some reason it felt pure blooded humans were a threat and started killing them whenever it could. It started with taking over Mars, then attacked the colonies scattered across the solar system, and has been slowly working its way to Earth This book’s story starts six months before the fall of The Plan which happened in the previous book/s, then brings us up to date, and continues until the various story lines are brought to a conclusion. Most of “The Callisto Gambit” concerns what happens to Kiyoshi Yonezawa as he waits to see if his brother, Jun, succeeded in planting the virus Jun had written to destroy The Plan. He loses contact with Jun shortly before the final assault on Mars. Kiyoshi was supposed to take a group of the last survivors of his home colony’s destruction to a place of safety until they can reunite with Jun, if Jun survives. Everything Kiyoshi does is less than entirely successful. But he never gives up trying. He is driven to find Jun and will stop at nothing to do so as long as there is a possibility Jun might be alive somewhere. Jun and Kiyoshi have always been like two parts of the same whole. Jun was a dedicated Catholic Monk and Kiyoshi was the one who tried to be a good Catholic but never quite made it. Jun was holy, Kiyoshi was worldly; Jun was the brains who had become part of a computer program AI when his body was destroyed along with their home colony, Kiyoshi the one with the body who could interact with humans; Jun flew the ship, Kiyoshi did the repairs to keep it running. In other words, they needed each other. When Kiyoshi starts to give into the fear that Jun was destroyed along with his ship he goes into a self destructive slide. Only the need to revenge Jun’s probable destruction could bring Kiyoshi out of the emotional black hole he finds himself and gives him the strength he needs to keep going. The editing is good, no gratuitous sex but a little bit of sexual activity, a rather large amount of foul language, lots of drug use with plenty of consequences. If this were a movie it would get an R rating for language. There was a little hint of a new story line that was unfinished and I can’t wait for that story to be written and published because I have really enjoyed the books Mr. Savage has written..
With the defeat of the evil-AI PLAN on Mars almost in hand, Earth and its colonies begin squabbling over their newly-won freedom. Who will control the solar system now that the threat to humanity’s very existence has been removed? The colonists, Earth, the feared ISA? Whose gambit will prevail?
Ending a series is actually more difficult than kicking one off, but Savage manages a complex (although bloody) denouement that keeps the pages turning faster than an uncontrolled orbital re-entry.
Virtually all of the heroes from the previous novels make an appearance, which rather neatly ties up a few loose ends from this long and successful literary journey.
Obviously, I can’t tell you the ending, but I will say it is nothing like anyone would expect. The book is full of surprises, including some new tech just to keep things interesting.
I highly recommend the entire 7-book masterpiece. I can’t wait to see what Felix comes up with next.
It's a fun read which suffers from some "amazing" coincidences to move the plot along. If this book was being realistic it would have only been a few chapters long before the plot was ended. Instead, there are some convenient circumstances which happen just so to move things a long. For example, a malfunction at just the most inopportune time .... an underwater mountain at just the perfect location ... a civilian who knows more about the military arsenal than all of the officers. It's also fortunate that all the important people somehow survive. If you can look past stuff like this then it's a fun read with likable characters.
I believe I've already reviewed earlier volumes in this series, so here I will just say that the good writing and excitement continue throughout. Felix Savage and James Corey (nom de plume) are now my favorite sci-fi writers, with Peter Hamilton also on the list. Sadly, we won't be hearing any more from that other master, Iain M. Banks. Requiem æternam dona ei Domine...