Witches’ Gambit: Book One of the Seven Worlds

 Witches’ Gambit showcases Charles Freedom Long’s trademark ability to meld life after death, alien life, and extra-sensory perception into a gripping science-fiction story.

The United States is living though a Christian fundamentalist crisis, and Aidan Ray, a successful attorney, has to keep the fact that she’s also a practicing medium under careful wraps. However, when an alien shows up in her living room one evening to tell her that Earth is about to be destroyed  unless humanity can overcome its innate tendencies towards violence and religious absolutism, that secrecy has to be imperilled to save her world.

I’m a sucker for original ideas, and the underlying concepts for Charles Freedom Long’s Seven Worlds series certainly qualify. These books combine communication with the dead, a form of astral projection as a means to travel between worlds, and a variety of alien species. While some of the alien societies in this book, and the foods of the homeworlds, have extremely close parallels with Earth, the species themselves make for very interesting reads, as do the human characters. In Witches’ Gambit, we have what is essentially a trifecta of High Priestess, Rogue, and Warrior Monk teamed up to save the world, which creates a fascinating mix of worldviews and tensions between the characters. The three protagonists are well-developed and very easy to get absorbed in, and their goal is nothing less than the preservation of Earth. Definitely a recommended read.

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