In The Kassa Gambit, the human race has expanded beyond the confines of Earth. So much so that Earth is a distant memory, a legend if you will, with the word “Earth” residing in the modern lexicon of the novel as something of a mythical expletive. After many planets have been deemed to have no intelligent life, those lifeless planets were mined for their resources. Consequently, humanity comes to realize they are alone. At the start of the novel, the space freighter Ulysses, captained by Prudence Falling, is en route to the farming planet Kassa, from which it hears no signal or signs of life. The planet Kassa has been devastated with no life remaining. The cause of this destruction will be at the heart of the novel’s mystery, for it seems non-human aliens are responsible. This, per my earlier statement, should not be possible because no traces of intelligent life were found prior to the novel’s events.
Prudence’s ship is the typical motley crew found in such stories: the simple brute Jorgun; Melvin, the snarky engineer; Garcia the cargo-man. Much like Malcolm Reynolds and the crew of Serenity, the cargo they carry isn’t always above-board or within regulations of the League, humanity’s governing body. So when the Ulysses tries to get a better handle on the situation on Kassa, Prudence and her crew come into contact with space cop Lt. Kyle Daspar. Kyle isn’t exactly what he seems either, nor do many of the things characters have taken for granted seem to be.