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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 mysterious attacker. The few survivors send out a desperate plea for aid, which is answered by two unlikely rescuers. Prudence Falling is the young captain of a tramp freighter. She and her ragtag crew have been on the run and living job to job for years, eking out a living by making cargo runs that aren't always entirely legal. Lt. Kyle Daspar is a police officer from the wealthy planet of Altair Prime, working undercover as a double agent against the League. He's been undercover so long he can't be trusted by anyone-even himself.

While flying rescue missions to extract survivors from the surface of devastated Kassa, they discover what could be the most important artifact in the history of man: an alien spaceship, crashed and abandoned during the attack.

But in The Kassa Gambit by M.C. Planck, there is more to the story. Together, they discover the cruel truth about the destruction of Kassa, and that an imminent alien invasion is the least of humanity's concerns.

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    Enjoyable Space Opera

    This review was first published on Kurt's Frontier. Synopsis: 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 double agent against a mysterious organization called the League. Thrown together, neither quite trusts the other. Nonetheless, they are strangely attracted to each other. Flying rescue missions, they discover an abandoned alien fighter, crashed and abandoned during the attack. However, something about it doesn’t add up. As they move to unravel the mystery of the attack on Kassa, they find themselves in the sights of powerful people. Under the threat of alien invasion, is the real enemy far closer to home? Review: The Kassa Gambit is, what I would call, a classic space opera. It makes use of the tried and true formula of a free trader coming up against a powerful adversary. The co-protagonists are complex with reason to be highly suspicious of each other. They are also quite attracted to each other. The story unfolds like a mystery, with layers of intrigue as well as action in realistic life or death struggles. The only week point in the story is that when the antagonist is finally revealed, I didn’t find him entirely convincing. This left the ending feeling a little rushed. Taken together, it was a very enjoyable tale.

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