• The Caledonian Gambit

  • A Novel
  • By: Dan Moren
  • Narrated by: Rob Grgach
  • Length: 10 hrs and 54 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (136 ratings)

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The Caledonian Gambit  By  cover art

The Caledonian Gambit

By: Dan Moren
Narrated by: Rob Grgach
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Publisher's Summary

The galaxy is mired in a cold war between two superpowers, the Illyrican Empire and the Commonwealth. Thrust between this struggle are Simon Kovalic, the Commonwealth's preeminent spy, and Kyle Rankin, a lowly soldier happily scrubbing toilets on Sabaea, a remote and isolated planet. However, nothing is as it seems.

Kyle Rankin is a lie. His real name is Eli Brody, and he fled his home world of Caledonia years ago. Simon Kovalic knows Caledonia is a lit fuse hurtling towards detonation. The past Brody so desperately tried to abandon can grant him access to people and places that are off limits even to a professional spy like Kovalic. Kovalic needs Eli Brody to come home and face his past. With Brody suddenly cast in a play he never auditioned for, he and Kovalic will quickly realize it's everything they don't know that will tip the scales of galactic peace. Sounds like a desperate plan, sure, but what gambit isn't?

The Caledonian Gambit is a throwback to the classic sci-fi adventures of spies and off-world politics, but filled to the brim with modern sensibilities.

©2017 Dan Moren (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"The action scenes, both on the ground and in space, show a focus on thoughtful planning and careful pacing. The characterization delves just enough into emotionality to give the characters realism without moving the focus away from fights, intrigue, and spycraft." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Caledonian Gambit

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great world-building and plot!

Dan created a world (well, a universe!) and an intriguing plot that keeps _The Caledonian Gambit_ interesting from start to finish!

Great narration and pacing as well.

I would recommend this audiobook to fans of space adventures involving spy craft and intrigue. I am looking forward to more!

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

"Spare me the politics"

Barely qualifies as science fiction. Basically rewriting the Northern Ireland conflict. If you enjoy family drama then go ahead. But you won't get science fiction.

1 person found this helpful

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  • mb
  • 08-04-17

Loved Every Moment

Awesome book by Dan Moren and narration by Rob Grgach.

It had me sitting in my driveway trying to end a chapter, falling asleep in bed with my AirPods (and trying to find them in the morning), and taking way too many breaks at work. It had just the right mix of funny, serious, sad and exciting. I look forward to the next installment.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Decent novel ruined by terrible narrator

The story from a new author is okay. It’s an interesting political intrigue with some family drama intermixed. I somewhat agree with another reviewer who said it’s basically the Northern Ireland conflict with some space sci-fi merely as window dressing. I can’t imagine this being anyone’s favorite novel, but it’s not bad, and I’m interested to read more of his works.

The narrator, however, completely ruins the book and made me want to drop it altogether. He narrates like a high school English student literally reading the text in class. His cadence is monotonous, and every sentence ends with a down-turn, which feels like the most amateur of mistakes. The worst, however, are the terrible accents he uses for some characters. The Irish accents are okay. They aren’t always cringey, and they do help differentiate the characters audibly, but the accent for Simon Kovalic (ostensibly the main character) is a truly terrible English accent. It sounds as if someone told him the character is modeled after James Bond, and the narrator attempted to do a Bond accent. That doesn’t feel right for the character in the first place, but his attempt is terrible, again making me think of a high school theatre student who hasn’t had the benefit of a voice coach. The vaguely Texas accent for Tapper isn’t much better, and an even more confusing choice. But the Kovalic accent is the one that makes this book truly unlistenable. The narrator has a good voice overall, but he needs to learn how to actually narrate an audiobook. This is a prime example of how not to do it.

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I Liked It

I liked the book. 4 star review because its not the best I've ever heard, but I found it entertaining and well worth the credit.

Not sure where the poor review of the narrator is coming form. A couple of the accents were boarder line, but he was easy enough to listen to. I had no problem with him.

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Terrible reader

I honestly don't know how good the book is because I only lasted 2 chapters listening to the awful reader. He reads every narrative line with the exact same cadence and often drops his voic out at the end of sentences. It's easily the worst reading performance I have come across on audible. Wish I could get my credit back on this one. I may go find the book on Kindle and read it myself...

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Great Debut Novel

Loved the story, but struggled with the production and narration. Recommend reading instead of listening.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Didn’t finish

I read about half of this book based on a recommendation, but it never connected with me. I’m giving it up.
- Very little sci-fi in this sci-fi. It’s just fictional politics with a wormhole for a few pages at the beginning
- Snark, snark, snark. Every character talks like a sarcastic child - worst of all, the main protagonist
- Characters are hard to understand. I didn’t connect with any of them, except maybe an antagonist.
- I listened on Audible and the narrator didn’t do well for me either.

Disappointing but moving on.

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Excellent

Great story, great narration, can't recommend it enough. It grabs you from the beginning and holds on to you until the end. Can't wait for the sequel.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Hovering, exploring, and dissecting old Sci-fi tropes has never been so satisfying.

Moren's ability to take traditional Sci-fi tropes and tweak them in all the right places makes for the perfect story.

The performance by Grgach seemed to fit the story incredibly well. Heavy accents and inflections always managed to convey what Moren was trying to get across between cultures, planets, and backgrounds.

So many Sci-fi novels get too deep in the weeds with technicalities trying to prove the physics homework was done. Moren uses those precious moments to expand on characters, relationships, and nuances. This is a sci-fi novel rooted in humanity, and it couldn't be more refreshing.

The book is brisk. If you're looking for a 30 hour space opera, look elsewhere. The editing is top notch. It's clear Moren has an exceptional team helping him distill his vision into something concise and compelling from start to finish.

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  • 3rdDanWithKi
  • 08-13-17

Loved the premise

Great story that hit some high notes. Unfortunately I got pulled out of the story a little by some shaky English and Irish accents. Well read in all other aspects.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs laura Cracknell
  • 07-16-20

A good story lurking behind the narration

The story pulls you along, and the mixture of adventure, spycraft and family drama kept me intrigued. I wasn't in any serious doubt of the ending, and found some of the beats and turns of phrase predictable, but I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. Definitely recommend.

The narration, on the other hand, kept me going out of a sort of morbid fascination. The reader's normal voice was a bit flat, but perfectly listenable. The accents for the characters wandered all over the place, occasionally within the same sentence. It was off-putting at first, and there were some real clangers along the way, but after a few hours, my brain adjusted, and I stopped trying to think of them as real accents, and more like 'the accent the reader is doing for this character'. It was occasionally painful, but I really wanted to know what was going to happen, so I persevered. Just be prepared for it!

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  • Mike of Alsager
  • 03-14-19

Enjoyable Space Adventure

It is only with the arrival of the second book in this series, the Bayern Agenda, read by a different and better narrator, that I returned to this first book, having been driven away by the narration. I’m sorry but it isn’t well read. Weird and inconsistent accents, rather dull; even the name of the planet is pronounced inconsistently. Hopefully the audiobook will be reissued at some future date with a different narrator.

So, that’s got the bad stuff out of the way. This is a good old style space adventure. Opening with a scene of almost Star Wars proportions but leading to sleuthing and espionage. There is a good dollop of humour, maybe a little too much, some of it falls a little flat. But there is emotion too; family reunion and heartache.

It’s a pity about the current narration but perseverance will be rewarded.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary
  • 12-14-18

Great book

I brought this on a whim, and I'm very glad I did. On the whole, it's a strong debut novel with a great premise, as well as enough espionage and dry humour to keep it from becoming just another sci-fi novel.

Initially, the narrator really annoyed me, as I found him quite flat. As I got more into the characters and the story, I was able to put that irritation behind me and really enjoy the book, but (and I'll offer a little unsolicited advice here) I would love for him to practice his accents before the next book in the series, as they were a bit hit or miss. By the end of the book, though, I found the performance had improved.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Melanie
  • 10-15-18

It was fine

The story was fine, but not exceptional. The narration was odd - what the hell kind of accent were the Caledonian's supposed to have?