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The Necromancer's Gambit (The Gambit Book 1) by [Wilson, Nicolas]
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The Necromancer's Gambit (The Gambit Book 1) Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Length: 388 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"Wilson has done an excellent job creating a believable and witty magical noir underworld."
Lita Burke, Amazon review for The Necromancer's Gambit

"Film Noir meets the printed page. Wilson's novel starts with a bang and builds."
Walter Danley, Amazon review for The Necromancer's Gambit

"If a paranormal film noir was turned into a Dungeons and Dragons style RPG, it would read something like this... Wickedly awesome!"
Melody, for, reviewing The Necromancer's Gambit

About the Author

Nicolas Wilson is a published journalist, graphic novelist, and novelist. He lives in the rainy wastes of Portland, Oregon with his wife, four cats and a dog.

Nic's work spans a variety of genres, from political thriller to science fiction and urban fantasy. He has several novels currently available, and many more due for release in the next year. Nic's stories are characterized by his eye for the absurd, the off-color, and the bombastic.

For information on Nic's books, and behind-the-scenes looks at his writing, visit

Sign up for his mailing list to receive a free short story, Octopied, featuring characters from Nexus.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3421 KB
  • Print Length: 388 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: January 2, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #515,211 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Disclosure: I received an ARC on Goodreads.

I liked the concept of the story. The Gambit uses chess piece names to define their jobs, with the main narrator being the Knight, who is the sheriff of the group. There is the King, the Queen, who is a brilliant character, the Bishop, who is the smartest and nicest of the lot, and so on. The Pawn is also fascinating, because he is so unabashedly messed up. I liked the funny repartee between the characters, and the plot and denouement was gripping enough to keep me reading.

In urban fantasy the sense of place, the vibe of the city where it plays out, is important. It should figure almost as a character. I got almost nothing of that in this book, unfortunately.

What threw me out of the story every now and then was that new characters were introduced without much info, you sort of have to figure it out after a few paragraphs, but by then I'd already stuttered in my reading, paging back to figure out who the heck is this now. As if they were introduced in an earlier installment, but as I understand it this is the first of the Gambit stories.

Also the POV changes to Rook or Pawn sometimes but with no indication, so you read for three paragraphs before you realize who is speaking. This isn't a problem per se, it's just when Knight is the POV for six chapters in a row and then suddenly it's Rook, it throws the reader out of the story.

The pace was also not perfect, it dragged in some places, slowed because the characters engage in long sessions of repartee (admittedly funny), but they do this while they are in the midst of a dangerous situation. Then the action sequences would be described too superficially--maybe I just prefer more action and atmosphere and less mouthing off to each other.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The opening episode in “The Gambit” series introduces an entire world of magic residing side by side and deep within the “real” world. “The Gambit” is a government, loosely organized as chess pieces; i.e., there’s a King and a Queen, Castles (Rooks), Bishops and Pawns. There are also Knights who are the sheriffs, the detectives within the Gambit. This is detective fiction, slash noir slash fantasy slash horror whereby the character Knight discovers the charred body of a Gambit member (Castle). Along with Pawn, Rook (a Castle from a friendly Gambit) and Bishop, he begins his investigation amongst a deadly environment in search of the killer(s).

This was my first read of a Nicolas Wilson novel and I will tell you that he is one helluva good writer; albeit his target audience is at least one generation later than mine. While I loved the character naming conventions, I was unable to “get close” to any of the characters themselves. Mr. Wilson uses extensive, sometimes long and didactic dialogues to build his actors and to tell the bulk of the story. To be completely honest, these were often monologues that went right over my head. I sometimes complain about too much narrative detail that drags the pace of the story down. For me, this story had too much dialogue. It was too – too; too witty, too long, too much innuendo and too much information that was familiar to the individual characters, but left me…the reader, in the cold.

As mentioned at the beginning of the review, Mr. Wilson is obviously a very talented writer. His imagination knows no bounds. His word-smith abilities, scene setting and transitions, story plotting and consistency in developing this fantasy world are truly admirable. I would highly recommend this novel to all fantasy/magic/detective/noir readers, over the age of eighteen and younger than say…forty or so.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The governing bodies of the Gambit are referred to by chess pieces, King, Queen, Castle, Bishop, Knight, Rook and Pawn. They each bring different aspects of magic to the game. Now they are being challenged by a shadow gambit and one of their own is viciously murdered. It’s Knights duty to find the murderer and stop the takeover of their gambit.
There are several plot twists at the end. One involves Bishop’s father. Who is he? And who actually betrays the gambit? I liked the theme of the story and the intricate use of magic. Wilson does a decent job at outlining some of the different characters in the story. I liked Knights’ character, but sometimes I couldn’t tell from the dialogue how he was supposed to be feeling until it gets explained later when he’s thinking to himself. I definitely knew Pawn’s personality, riding around in a teenage boy smelling red jeep, not sure if he’s gay or not. And there’s Queen. Definitely one of a kind.
Wilson jumps the POV from Knight, to Pawn and Rook several times throughout the book. The change only happens at the beginning of a chapter, but you really have to read who the POV is talking to or referring to in that chapter to follow who is really the POV character. Their dialogue all sounds the same. Rook is female, but she still sounds like the men. So that part was pretty confusing. Hate having to go back a few pages to figure out who is actually talking as that does change the context of the storyline.
Wilson uses a different writing voice with hyphens everywhere. It took awhile to get into the story because of them. And the plot gets somewhat swallowed up with all the male genitalia references and jokes. I don’t know any men who would talk that way to other men or women.
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