Revenant Gun

Front Cover
Solaris, Jun 12, 2018 - Fiction - 400 pages
1 Review


Shuos Jedao is awake.

…and nothing is as he remembers. In his mind he’s a teenager, a cadet—a nobody. But he finds himself in the body of an old man, a general controlling the elite forces of the hexarchate, and the most feared—and reviled—man in the galaxy.

Jedao carries orders from Hexarch Nirai Kujen to re-conquer the fractured pieces of the hexarchate on his behalf. But he has no memory of ever being a soldier, let alone a general, and the Kel soldiers under his command hate him for a massacre he can’t remember committing.

Kujen’s friendliness can’t hide the fact that he’s a tyrant. And what’s worse, Jedao and Kujen are being hunted by an enemy who knows more about Jedao and his crimes than he does himself...


What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

SEQUEL AS REVENANT: REVENANT GUN is the third volume in Yoon Ha Lee's THE MACHINERIES OF EMPIRE sf trilogy. It is a fitting final episode in the military space opera that began so impressively with NINEFOX GAMBIT, and continued in the less impressive but still engrossing second volume RAVEN STRATAGEM.
The story arc comes to a strong end, and the reading experience is full of the poetry, the sense of wonder, the humour, the sexual attraction, the political and strategic complexity that we have come to expect from the series. This signature stylistic formula is back once again for the third episode, so it is the true "revenant".
We learn more about our heroes and about the difficulties they must face and overcome to succeed in their plans. However, the universe and its inhabitants beyond the confines of the empire are not explored.
The key word to describe this volume is "more". We learn more about the world that was set up in the first volume, and that was filled in and expanded in the second volume. We learn more about the calendar and its remembrances, more about Hexarch Nirai Kujen's plans for immortality, more about the robot servitors, more about the "moth" spaceships.
The new novel is more pedagogical, and more descriptive. Perhaps this is in response to complaints about the difficulty of the opening scenes, the unvisualisability, and the lack of essential explanations that characterised the first book.
Indeed, some of the things we learn here would have been better placed in the first book, such as the nature of the mothships and the torture and human sacrifices that alimented the High Calendar. It is possible that the author had no idea of the explanations behind some of his verbal fireworks, and only came to give determinate content to the evocative neologisms much later.
The pedagogical approach to filling in the missing information is mirrored in the plot by the familiar trope of bringing up to speed an ignorant character. At the beginning of the novel Jedao is amnesiac, having regressed to the mental age of a seventeen year old first year cadet in Shuos Academy. He has no memories or knowledge of his own life or of political developments since that time, over four hundred years ago.
A second character, Hemiola, is a robot servitor serving on an isolated planet at the edge of the Empire It has no idea of the downfall of the Hexarchate nor of the current political situation. Both Jedao and Hemiola are brought up to date on the fly, in the course of a fragmented series of conversations, as are we.
This volume was slow-going during the first half, because of the different threads of the intrigue playing out in different times and places. The pay-off was a convergent plot-line that became quite gripping in the second half. The narrative culminated in a satisfying, but predictable climax, and then went downhill into a less predictable, unsatisfying, anti-climax.
Resolution and provisional stability is achieved by the end of the book, but there are enough loose threads to allow a fourth volume, or a further set of short stories, if ever Yoon Ha Lee wants to return to this universe.


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 22
Section 23
Section 24
Section 25
Section 26
Section 27
Section 28
Section 29

Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16
Section 17
Section 18
Section 19
Section 20
Section 21
Section 30
Section 31
Section 32
Section 33
Section 34
Section 35
Section 36
Section 37
Section 38
Section 39
Section 40
Section 41

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2018)

Yoon Ha Lee is a writer and mathematician from Houston, Texas, whose work has appeared in Clarkesworld, Lightspeed and The Magazine Of Fantasy and Science Fiction. He has published over forty short stories, and his critically acclaimed collection Conservation of Shadows was released in 2013. He lives in Louisiana with his family and an extremely lazy cat, and has not yet been eaten by gators.

Bibliographic information