Gallowglass is a good book that suffers from one major editing failure, and one minor editing or plot failure.
Quibbles aside, the story here is, in truth, a very fun and interesting one. A classic page-turner. It involves a very desperate crew's attempt to find and recover large asteroid which contains almost unimaginable mineral wealth. It is immediately apparent that this crew is as rag-tag and as flawed as they are desperate, and that their "leadership" has major issues of its own -- so it'll spoil nothing to say that things go wrong. But things don't go wrong in obvious ways, and they're not fixed in obvious ways, either. And to say that "things go wrong" really isn't the half of it.
In a sentence: This is good, old-fashioned Space SF.
So what are the editing failures?
First, every chapter begins with some sort of quote or news snippet on the effects of climate change. Another reviewer rightly called this "hectoring." If it were relevant, that would be one thing -- but this story is entirely set in space, and climate change has basically nothing to do with the plot. (It's tacked-on, to some very minor extent. All mention of climate change could be removed and the book would be better for it, and the core plot and story wouldn't change one iota.) The incessant whiny quotes and snippets seem as though they're leading to something, but it turns out that they're absolutely, completely, 100% irrelevant.
So here's a valuable tip: Read the book, but don't bother reading the quotes that start each chapter.
I have absolutely no idea how this got past an editor. If nothing else, it's an egregious waste of ink, and a waste of the reader's time.
The second error is actually something of a legal error. Questions of law are some of the obstacles that our protagonists must overcome:
- Who owns mining rights in space?
- Are those rights absolute?
- How are those rights attained?
- What if crimes were committed to obtain those rights?
This is mostly very interesting. But, at the end of the book, a lot of ink is wasted on a legal question that couldn't have been more obvious. That it was debated at all felt very silly -- it detracted from the story, to put it mildly. Needless to say, the author eventually came to the right conclusion. But there was no other possible conclusion, and you don't need to be a lawyer to figure it out.
Ultimately, this was a very good book with two flaws. I enjoyed it, and would have liked to give it five stars -- but, because it could have used a better editor, I'll have to give it four stars instead of five.