When the Northwind Highlanders abandoned the Capellan Confederation, some members resigned from the unit and remained loyal to the Confederation. Death Commando Loren Jaffray is the grandson of one of these former Highlander officers. Chancellor Sun-Tzu Liao sends Loren to neutralize the Northwind Highlanders through intrigue and lies.
The characters lack any depth, ensuring that the book will end predictably.
Loren agonizes over his mission. Due to his relation to a former officer, he is treated as part of the Highlander extended family. He must betray and destroy the people who have taken him in. Pardoe repeatedly tells the reader about Loren's dilemma. He is not subtle about it; do not bother to pay close attention in order to delve into Loren's mind. Pardoe just states outright that Loren feels guilty, that he feels a familial connection, and that he must complete his duty anyway. He does this so often that it quickly proves boring. There is never any real doubt about what Loren will do in the end.
Colonel Macleod immediately and irrationally trusts Loren. He knows that Loren is a Death Commando, trained in espionage and sabotage, sworn to serve Chancellor Liao, arch-rival of the Highlanders. Yet Macleod quickly invites Loren into the War Room, makes him an officer, and entrusts him with dangerous secrets. It makes no sense.
The villain, unsurprisingly, is utterly evil and dishonorable.
This book features ample `Mech combat. The battles are adequately described and the tactics are interesting, but with such boring characters and predictable plot developments, the battles lack suspense or drama.
I saw nothing original or inspirational in Highlander Gambit. It is a forgettable book.