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  • In Paradise Rot Jackson Farriday's plan to run St. Agrippina's as the Zombie Land Grab and Buffet is put off track by the Woman's and the Dog's continual assassinations of his higher ranking employees. Then Kyle and Cate Join in on it and eventually run into Dory, who has been fermenting a rebellion with the more stupid zombies. Things get worse from there.
  • The Radix: Everybody (including the Borgias, USA intelligence agencies, Knights of Malta and Corrupt Corporate Executives) is searching for the Radix, an ancient relic of Panacea power, for different reasons, messing up each other's (and sometimes their own) plans badly.
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  • The Culture novel Excession involves this between the ITG, the Affront, the Culture, Contact, the Peace Makes Plenty, and of course the eponymous Excession.
  • Many of the stories in the Night Watch series go like this; Gesar and Zabulon both want something and use their own Batman Gambit to get it, generally while another villain is also trying to get what he wants, and while Anton is trying to figure out what the fuck is going on and is sometimes trying to use yet another gambit to achieve his goals, which may or may not just be helping Gesar achieve his, while researching or explaining all of the schemes that the Watches have used in the past, and the the Inquisition comes along and thing get even more confusing.
  • In Animorphs book 53: The Answer has Jake's plan involve three separate levels of Out Gambitting, despite only going up against two villains.
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  • The entire oeuvre of Fyodor Dostoevsky. Dostoevsky is likely the most famous pioneer of the Gambit Pileup. The stupendously complex mindgames played by nearly every character in The Brothers Karamazov require several readings and maybe a college course to comprehend at the basic level. Crime and Punishment plays similar games starring Porifiry Petrovich, whose mindbending "Ah, but if you knew that I knew that one of us was to know" arguments drive Raskolnikov to confession and the reader "seven versts" (4½ miles) from St. Petersburg, to a mental institution referenced in the book.
  • The original Dune novels have this. Who is manipulating whom? Everyone and everyone, respectively.
  • The philosophical themes of War and Peace suggest that history is not so clean, not specific causes and effects, because everyone is in on the massive Gambit Pileup that is the clusterfuck of history.
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  • Second Apocalypse has master manipulator Kellhus trying to outwit master manipulator Moenghus, while various lesser schemers and an Ancient Conspiracy make things even more complicated. More discreet schemers may turn up in later revelations.
  • Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's Illuminatus! trilogy, whose whole point is a Twenty-Three Thousand Gambit Pileup in the Conspiracy Kitchen Sink. "Be prepared to make a flow diagram to keep up with everyone's scheme."
  • James Clavell's Shogun. Nearly every character is scheming something. Toranga is scheming to defeat Ishido and vice versa, Blackthorne is scheming to defeat Jesuit influence in Japan (and survive), the Jesuits are scheming to convert all of Japan (and kill Blackthorne), and then countless more plots from the supporting cast.
  • Every Illuminatus in Duumvirate has his own agenda. There are six thousand Illuminati, some more devious than others. The title characters have no choice but to not care about what everyone may or may not be plotting, so long as it doesn't affect them directly.
  • The Chronicles of Amber, to the point where after any given ten pages of the book, the reader ends up realizing, "Wow! Everything I knew was wrong! Again!" (It doesn't help that they're all immortal demigods and most of them play by their own rules.)
  • Vorkosigan Saga:
    • The entire plot of A Civil Campaign is basically one of these, as the back cover quote suggests.
      Miles has a cunning plan... Unfortunately his clone-brother Mark and his cousin Ivan also have cunning plans.
    • The entirety of The Warrior's Apprentice is built out of the Gambit Index. Miles, through sheer insane, lying chutzpah and a lot of luck, manages to take over the entire fleet, all 3,000 people of them, reverse the war, and get out alive with a slight profit. And keep in mind, he's seventeen.
    • The Vor Game features a several-gambit pileup consisting solely of a single person's successive plans. (And for once it's not Miles.)
  • If you thought Dune was complicated, you really need to read The Dosadi Experiment. You more or less have 800 million people, all of which are currently involved in some form of Gambit Roulette against everyone else.
  • The Ender's Shadow series by Orson Scott Card. Everyone is plotting for power or position or familial recognition or SOMETHING. Some plotters don't even seem to know what they're plotting for but they do know they're good at it!
  • If you thought the movie adaptation of L.A. Confidential was complicated, it has nothing on James Ellroy's novel. All kinds of different schemes involving pornography, heroin, murder, and the mob all collide together, and meanwhile three cops are unknowingly all investigating the entire thing. White Jazz is pretty much the same, but squeezed into half the space by the removal of every single word Ellroy considered the slightest bit extraneous at the request of his publisher.
  • Isaac Asimov's ''Foundation:
    • "Search By The Mule": The Mule has been hunting the Second Foundation for five years, since the end of "The Mule". As several of his mentally dominated servants have lost their usefulness, the Mule chooses Bail Channis, someone he knows is a Second Foundation spy, to help him find them. He claims not to dominate Channis to preserve his usefulness, and Channis is tricked into leading the Mule to the Second Foundation, where everything falls apart. This is one of the most complicated memory gambits ever. Indeed - the climactic scene consists of repeated "but I planned that" banter between Channis and Pritcher, then Channis and the Mule, and finally between the Mule and the First Speaker of the Second Foundation.
    • Foundation's Edge: Golan Trevize is the bait/trap of three factions who wish to control the entire galaxy. At the climax, Gaia has won the complicated gambit and counter-gambit, but their immediate goal is to put the First Foundation, Second Foundation, and themselves into a Mexican Standoff with Golan Trevize as tie-breaker. He gets to listen to each argument and then use his Cool Starship to boost the psychic signal of whichever group he prefers. His choice determines the future of the galaxy.
  • In the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, It would be simpler to list those major characters and groups that don't have some sort of master plan working.
    • As it is, the following plans crash headlong into each other at the series' final in The Crippled God:
      • The Forkrul Assail, allied with the Tiste Liosan and K'Chain Nah'ruk, who are obsessed with their own brand f justice, are planning The End of the World as We Know It by opening their Warren of Ahkrast Korvalain and wiping humanity from existence.
      • The gang of Elder Gods centered on the Errant plan their own version of The End of the World as We Know It by ridding the world of magic and creating a planet on which only they have power in order to restore the old pecking order among the gods.
      • The Tiste Liosan on their own plan to use the hubbub to conquer the realm of Kurald Galain.
      • Olar Ethil, the First Bonecaster, intends to spite the Elder Gods' plans in order for her own to prevail, which is to win the heart of Onos T'oolan, finally, after all those millennia.
      • On the "good" side, Adjunct Tavore Paran has assembled an army and gained allies to march on the Forkrul Assail in Kolanse, fully knowing that failure may well be the only option.
      • Her brother Ganoes Paran also marches on Kolanse with his own army, not knowing if or what his sister is doing.
      • Shadowthrone and Cotillion also have their own plans to send the Crippled God back to his home realm, spite the Elder Gods and gain a dominant position in the pantheon.
    • Toll the Hounds, as an early grand final before the final one in the last book, has its own giant gambit pileup:
      • Anomander Rake, Hood, Shadowthrone and Edgewalker hedge an elaborate plan that will not only relieve Hood of his duties as the God of Death, but free the Gate of Darkness from the wagon within Dragnipur and allow Mother Dark to return to her children again, all while making it impossible for her to ignore Anomander Rake's apology. To make this plan work, both Hood and Anomander Rake stage their own plans. Hood enlists Gaz, a Serial Killer, and his wife Thordy to cause enough bloodshed to enable him to physically materialise in Darujhistan. He's also been collecting the dead and rallying them into an army for quite some time. Anomander Rake, meanwhile, has not been killing people for a very long while, thus weakening the souls within Dragnipur. Conveniently, Shadowthrone and Cotillion are able to use Traveller's — aka Dassem Ultor's aka Dessembrae's (the Lord of Tragedy) — own plan to take revenge on Hood to railroad him (with some help from Tulas Shorn) towards Darujhistan just at the right time to trick him into killing Anomander Rake.
      • Shadowthrone's own Magus, Iskaral Pust, also has his own schemes regarding getting his hands on Dragnipur.
      • And so do the newly arrived Hounds of Light, working for an unknown master.
      • High King Kallor, ever on a quest to gain a throne, is also on his way to seize what he thinks should be his.
      • Within Dragnipur itself, a gambit pileup of it's own is brewing. Draconus is trying to enlist the strongest captives within the sword in an attempt of a last stand against the Legions of Chaos, while the mad artist Kadaspala is trying to bring a Child God to life via a millennia old, intricate tattoo on all the carriages' inhabitants. Meanwhile, the Goddess of Thieves Apsal'ara is doing her best to find a way out of her captivity.
      • And within the city of Darujhistan, the Cabal of Mages is getting ready for the long-prophesized return of the Tyrant, while the mysterious man named Humble Measure is working towards facilitating said return. And a few noble men are busy trying to get in the way of everyone by taking over the City Council.
      • To the south, in Black Coral, the Dying God wants to assimilate the Redeemer, and Clip, self-proclaimed Herald of Mother Dark, to bring down Anomander Rake. Their plans intercept, only to slam headfirst into those of Anomander Rake himself, as well as Mother Dark's own.
  • Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora and especially its sequels, Red Seas Under Red Skies and The Republic of Thieves. Perhaps justified given that the main characters are highly-skilled con men, their antagonists are meticulous planners, and that the series has been described as a 'fantasy Ocean's Eleven'.
  • A Practical Guide To Evil: the ending of each book resolves the current arc with one of these. In Book 1, each of the cadet company commanders has a plan to win the wargame; Book 2 ends with a three-way game of Xanatos Speed Chess between the Squire, Heiress and the Lone Swordsman.
    • Two of the Extra Chapters shows that the end of Procer's Civil War was one of these between the Dread Empress of Praes and Cordelia Hasenbach of Procer with the latter coming out on top, narrowly. Also serves to drive home the woman's competence since Malicia is an incredibly competent plotter and generally shown to be two steps ahead of everyone else.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • This trope is in full effect with the Star Empire of Manticore, the Andermani Empire, minor allied partners, the Republic of Haven, the Solarian League, a dozen or so random neutralish planets and especially Mesa and each of them being subdivided into different factions. Mesa's plans really went off the rails when the Winton family was able to build up a large enough navy to fight off the People's Republic of Haven preventing their original plan of Haven forming a pocket empire. Along the way the military technology of the Haven Sector combined with their economic clout mean the Solarian League can't expand too far in that direction without butting heads. Various OFS Governors have different plans, some of them in line with Mesa, some of them desperately trying to cut off Mesa, and don't even get started on the Core Worlds of the SL like Beowulf.
    • On top of that the entirety of Crown of Slaves is one massive pileup: There's at least six major plots running into each other over the course of the book, and by the time the smoke clears one planet has changed owners, another switches sides, at least three major assassinations have taken place and absolutely nobody (aside from the reader) knows the full story.
  • Also done to the extreme in A Conspiracy of Paper. It's starting to get hard to figure out who isn't manipulating the main character...
  • A Song of Ice and Fire is nothing but one very long Gambit Pileup, combining all of the main and minor characters' various plans, playing styles and Gambit Roulettes within an Anyone Can Die setting that likes to throw curve-balls at even the wary. To put it almost too simply, we have three broad-brush plots going on simultaneously (and each has side-branches, as well as multiple layers):
    • In Westeros, you have a five way civil war going on with the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, Tyrells, and Greyjoys, as well as dozens of sub-factions such as the Boltons and the Freys all fighting and betraying each other whenever it is convenient for them to do so. You also have several individual Chessmaster characters such as Varys The Spider and Littlefinger pulling the strings from above.
    • To the north of Westeros you have The Night's Watch, a monk-like/ French-legion-alike group of warriors who defend Westeros from monsters and raiders, but who are also unfortunately very undermanned and incapable of holding off said raiders, since they have united together (for the first time in ages) under the leadership of a former Night's Watchman named Mance Raydner. Why this sudden attack of effective unity north of the Wall? Well, that would be because the Others, the mysterious Fair Folk creatures who most people believe are a myth (but who are very, very real and genocidal) are back. And forcefully recruiting. You'd push south to escape, too.
    • And finally in the neighboring continent of Essos you have (among other players) Daenerys Targaryen, whose father was the king of Westeros before the Baratheons took over, as she forms an alliance made of barbarians, mercenaries, and true believers so she can retake her father's kingdom. But not before stomping through the various city-states and factions of Essos first, marshaling her forces and undertaking an ideological quest to upend a millennia-old social order built on slavery.
  • Used deliberately in the Mickey Spillane novel The Twisted Thing. The killer knows that the murder of a wealthy scientist (done for simple revenge) will lead to everyone else plotting against each other to get their hands on his money, thus obscuring the original crime.
  • If there are actually fewer than 30 different Batman Gambits going by the various factions in the Wheel of Time series, it would be surprising. A partial list:
    • Each of the 13 Forsaken is a Chessmaster with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder (but varying personal styles and levels of power and competence). In theory they're all on the same side, but for most of the series it was undecided who would be in charge of the rest, and some of the losers still hope to take over.
    • Rand is prophesied to be a Destructive Saviour, so everyone knows that he's important to winning The Last Battle but he's proof that the end is nigh and no one is actually happy about being in the same city as him.
    • The Aes Sedai, the Mutant Draft Board and the Big Good before Rand himself came along, are Heroes with Bad Publicity and because of this they have deeply ingrained traditions of strongarm tactics and Exact Words (or maybe the causation is reversed).
    • Elayne, in addition to ties to both Rand and the Aes Sedai, is a queen who wants to keep her kingdom independent from both those forces and has to get through a civil war before she can claim her mother's throne.
    • The Seanchan are The Empire and Fantastic Racists. They want to conquer the continent all the action is taking place on and enslave the Witch Species, and insist on doing this before The End of the World as We Know It.
    • Also notable in The Wheel of Time is Daes Dae'mar, which is typically translated to "The Great Game" or "The Game of Houses", and is most widely known to be played in the city of Cairhien, although the Aes Sedai are the true masters of the game. Quite literally, it's a Gambit Pileup, yet simultaneously an inversion, where everyone knows (albeit unofficially) that everyone else is plotting. This makes for hilarious behaviour as the main character of the series, Rand, refuses to play the game, and thus manages to play it better than any of them, as they form plots on the expectation that Rand is playing.
  • Larry Niven has written about entire alien species who do nothing but plot:
    • In The Mote in God's Eye, the Motie species has evolved into a social order of hive-like clans, where just running a city involves multitudes of contracts, non-aggression pacts and alliances to provide basic services like trash removal and road repair. Unfortunately, Moties have a biological mandate to breed - if they don't reproduce regularly, they die. Eventually, when the population increases to a critical mass, each clan betrays the others to grab the remaining resources, and war breaks out across the entire planet. The war typically smashes Motie civilization entirely (sometimes resulting in the eradication of most life on the planet)... after which the survivors slowly rebuild and start doing the same things again. This cycle has been occurring for over a million years so far.
    • The Pak protectors are the smartest organic life in Known Space. But they are biologically compelled to protect their own bloodline at all cost. So again, any alliance between protectors will last only as long as it benefits all parties. Then they start throwing tailored viruses at each other to remove the competition. The Pak planet is also ravaged with war. Protectors make plans that can span over thousands of years, and no 'breeder' minds can hope to follow the layers of plots and counter-plots of a protector's scheme.
    • The 'Puppeteers' are a very well named race of self-interested cowards. Each Puppeteer is very intelligent, and commonly uses plots and blackmail as legitimate business tools. Internally, their culture has two political parties constantly vying for dominance. Externally, the Puppeteer attempt to influence all other races found in known space; the Man-Kzin Wars were created to cull out all the more aggressive Kzin to produce a more 'meeker', reasonable population. Puppeteers influenced the human Birth Lotteries to produce a race of 'luckier' humans, so the Puppeteers can 'borrow' human luck for their own purposes. And then there is the case where the core of the galaxy May or May Not be blowing up; it all might be a massive plot to make all the other known space species run away. Then the Puppeteers could double back and claim all the life-sustaining worlds for themselves; they have a population of a trillion to think of.
    • All three of these examples show off a trait that Niven considers essential for writing a super-human intelligence: they're all tremendously limited in their goals. This tends to make it harder for the aliens in question to Take a Third Option, so a plodding merely-human intellect can conceive the plan, since the author doesn't have to scheme in realtime.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The first third of Survivor's Quest has more than a few of these. Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker find that the Empire of the Hand sent a message to them, but the message was stolen and the thief, a mechanic, has disappeared. They track down the source, get it told to them, and fly out to a Chiss ship to be taken to Outbound Flight. There are factions among the Chiss. The "New Republic ambassador" is the mechanic who stole the message. Four stormtroopers and an officer from the Empire of the Hand are there, claiming they were sent as the Skywalkers' escort. A group of aliens show up, claiming to want to pay their respects to Outbound Flight. Then things start happening.
    • In The Corellian Trilogy, the Sacorrian Triad wants to take over the Corellian Sector, Thrackan Sal-Solo wants to do the same as well as make things unpleasant for Cousin Han, New Republic Intelligence has its own schemes, the Hunchuzuc Den and the Overden are trying to take advantage of the situation to out-play each other, and Leia Solo simply wants to keep the New Republic together, for kriff's sake. And keep Bovo Yagen's sun from going supernova.
    • There's one in The Krytos Trap; a convoy of ships carrying bacta is going to show up, and the New Republic's famed Rogue Squadron is going to meet it and escort it, since both the Empire and Warlord Zsinj are the New Republic's enemies. An Imperial who is just crossing the line from The Dragon to The Starscream hears of this, doesn't tell his boss, and sends a squadron of Imperial X-wings painted like the Rogues to hijack the bacta for himself, sending the report to his boss only when it's too late for her to say yes or no. His boss, though, heard of this from the same source and leaks it to Warlord Zsinj. The Rogues are slightly delayed.
    • A minor example in The Last Command. The New Republic goes through a bunch of fuss and bother attempting to convince the Imperials of an impending attack on their Ubiqtorate base at Tangrene, while they plan for their real attack at the shipyards of Bilbringi. Unfortunately, the opposing military leader, Thrawn, isn't fooled at all, and is waiting for them when they arrive. However, the independent (though anti-Imperial at this point) Smugglers' Alliance is fooled, and plans their own strike to obtain what the New Republic is after (on the premise that they can simultaneously hurt the Empire and get paid a fortune by the New Republic for the MacGuffin). Their strike is timed to take place during the Tangrene attack. Their target? Bilbringi. The net effect is that they end up inside the defenses of the shipyard before the attack, in a perfect position to be a Spanner in the Works later on. Which is the major factor in the New Republic's eventual victory. Even then Thrawn might have pulled off a win if the completely unrelated Noghri rebellion hadn't gone official with his assassination at the same time.
    • New Jedi Order is chock full of these—there are billions of plans in motion. Every planet is full of these gambits. Justified as this is the greatest, most devastating war in tens of thousands of years.
    • There are multiple gambits going on in Tales from Jabba's Palace, all with the same goal; the Bloated One's death. Some are out for revenge, some are just hired assassins, while others are trying to take control of Jabba's gang. A few, like Bib Fortuna, are aware of the other gambits but do nothing. It all leads to the same thing, so why bother? In the end, the ones that come out on top are the B'Omarr Monks. The palace used to be the order's temple until the criminals started squatting in it, so once Jabba's gone they swoop in and take over, turning some into Brain-Spiders.
    • In Star Wars: Scoundrels, Han Solo leads a group that is supposed to steal something back from a crime lord, Avrak Villachor. Unbeknownst to him, Villachor is a member of Black Sun, the galaxy's greatest crime syndicate, and one of his superiors is visiting him. An Imperial agent is around for the latter; he eventually allies himself with the protagonists, but has already set a plan of his own in motion by that time, and Villachor becomes slightly paranoid by everything that's going on. And a few of the Scoundrels happen to have ties to the Rebel Alliance, which may or may not affect the plot as well. And of course, Han and co. get through all that just to discover that the guy who hired them is actually Boba Fett, angling to capture Han and steal from Black Sun.
  • Codex Alera owes a lot of its plot to about 8 duelling chessmasters of varying levels of competence. The second book has one four-gambit pileup where the plans sort of blunder into each other without anyone precisely getting Out-Gambitted. Before the first book even starts, we have at least three Magnificent Bastards maneuvering around each other, two different provinces plotting rebellion, an aging First Lord with no heir who only remains in power by being one of the aforementioned Magnificent Bastards, a very complicated sociopolitical/economic situation surrounding the issues of women's rights and slavery, the constant threat of three separate hostile nations, and more Chessmasters than you can shake a stick at. Once the series gets going, one of the provinces moves beyond plotting, a Horde of Alien Locusts shows up, one of the hostile nations invades, and Tavi comes out of nowhere as an incredibly brilliant tactician loyal only to the First Lord, who later turns out to be his grandson, Gaius Octavian. And this doesn't even get into Invidia Aquitaine and her Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, Wild Card Fidelias, or Bernard and Amara's fondness for acting as a Spanner in the Works. It's amazing it's still possible to follow what's going on.
  • John Grisham's novel Runaway Jury is an excellent example. In a trial where the widow of a dead smoker is suing the tobacco company, the defence is doing everything it can to bribe/threaten/blackmail the jurors and the plaintiff attempts this on a smaller extent. Enter our protagonists Nicholas and Marlee, who have a cunning plan to infiltrate the jury and sell the verdict to the defence for ten million dollars. The defence pay up. However, it turns out Marlee's parents both died of lung cancer and they're doing it to get revenge. Nicholas persuades the jury to sent a plaintiff's verdict and they use the money to short-sell tobacco stocks.
  • Charles Palliser's The Quincunx is a post-modern Darker and Edgier Dickensian story of a young man trying to gain his inheritance (sort of a cross between Bleak House and Nicholas Nickleby), as plotted by David Mamet. The various possible inheritors are plotting one against another, and figuring out what's actually happening is nearly impossible, especially given the first-person Unreliable Narrators.
  • 1634: The Bavarian Crisis is one of these. The author wanted to remind us that history isn't a few great men and a backdrop of grey masses, so every single person has an agenda, and all but a handful of them are hidden. They vary in scope from overthrow feudalism to get married before the pregnancy shows, but if a shadowy figure is following you, you have no way of knowing which scope is relevant. Once they start interacting, the result is pure chaos.
  • K. J. Parker loves this one and is good at making it logical which seems challenging. In The Scavenger Trilogy half the fun is the giddy sense of all those grand plans colliding in the dark.
  • In A Snowball in Hell by Christopher Brookmyre, everyone is running a gambit on everyone else. The Black Spirit alone is running at least three that are nested into one another.
  • In Black Dogs, The Big Bad's Evil Plan to manipulate his son's personality into becoming crueler and more evil (by repressing all his good and gentle qualities) backfires on him when the newer, eviller son plots his own Evil Plan to usurp his father and to cause him to be killed by his own demon.
  • The second and third books in Stieg Larsson's The Millennium Trilogy probably qualify. The number of government agencies alone that are working against each other is pretty shockingly massive, and then there are all the private investigators and journalists involved in the plot, not to mention Lisbeth herself.
  • Brandon Sanderson is also really fond of these. His fans call it the Sanderson Avalanche. The Mistborn trilogy is probably the most notable example to date, if only because the plot had the longest to develop. The end of Warbreaker definitely qualifies, as does the end of Elantris, and it's no wonder he got picked to ghostwrite the last three books in The Wheel of Time series (see above entry).
  • The Way of the World. Mirabell wants to marry Millament, but needs the consent of Millament's aunt, Lady Wishfort, who hates Mirabell's guts and wants Millament to marry Sir Wilful. Milament herself isn't sold on the idea of marrying ANYONE until halfway through the play, because she wanted to get married without losing any independence, so she draws up a contract with Mirabell to ensure this. He has to agree because he needs her large inheritance that she wouldn't even get until she's married. Lady Wishfort wants to be swept off her feet by a dashing gentleman, which is exploited by Mirabell and later by Fainall (who has been in a pissing contest with Mirabell since his introduction) because both of them want her money. Lady Wishfort becomes Mirabel's Unwitting Pawn because she thought it would screw him over, and later willingly becomes it again once Fainall tries to use Mirabell's previois gambit to screw her over. All this without mentioning Mrs. Fainall and Mrs. Marwood, both married and both claiming to hate men, when in fact they're both in love with Mirabell. Congreve lampshades this with Witwould at the end.
    "I understand nothing of the matter. I'm in a maze yet, like a dog in a dancing school."
  • The climax of Lonely Werewolf Girl is one huge (and well executed) pileup. See the work's page for details. The sequel, Curse of the Wolfgirl goes for a more straightforward Batman Gambit though.
  • The Black Company. Through The Books of the South and The Books of Glittering Stone, you've got interweaving plots by Croaker, Lady, Murgen, the Nyeung Bao, the Radisha, the Pradishah Drah, Smoke, the Shadowmasters, Howler, Soulcatcher, the priests, Mogaba, Blade, Willow Swan, Sleepy, Kina, the Daughter of Night, Narayan Singh, One-Eye, Shivetya, and Goblin. Half the series is figuring out who's trying to do what to whom.
  • The Chathrand Voyages is right up there with Dune and Legend of Galactic Heroes. Loads and Loads of Characters, almost all of whom have some scheme going, and all stuck together on the same ship. It gets to the point where the heroes have to constantly reevaluate who they can work with depending on whose plan they're trying to stop.
  • Murder at the President's Lodging is a detective story where the murderer kills the unpopular President of the college and frames one of his colleagues. However, another colleague sees part of what happened, and assumes that a fourth colleague is the murderer, and that he is being framed. So he attempts to frame his suspect. Unfortunately, while doing this, his suspect is alerted, and leaps to the conclusion that the actual murderer is the guilty party and is responsible for this frame-up, and thus he attempts to frame the murderer. Except that the murderer's intended patsy has now become aware of some of the goings on and deduced that the initial witness is the murderer and attempting to frame the murderer, so of course the only thing to do is to frame his suspect. And that's not to mention the entirely unconnected plot to steal some academic papers the President had unethically got hold of...
  • There is a Whoniverse spinoff, Faction Paradox. Time travel tech is easy to come by. Think you can alter the universe? You're welcome to try, gentlemen.
  • In the Doctor Who New Series Adventures, "The Dalek Generation" turns into this. The Daleks are trying to activate some alien planet-changing technology, the Doctor tries to enact a Timey-Wimey Ball against them, then it turns out he has been manipulated for most of the book by the Dalek Time Controller who has got him to the right places.
  • The plot of an average Secret City book includes: three Great Houses trying to out-gambit each other and achieve domination, the resident Big Bad adding more controlled chaos for some personal gain, Cortes & Co going for a big score, Trade Guild making money on all it, Santiaga thinking to get the max net gain for his House and exploit a new unexpected facet of humankind, some traitors in one or two fractions joining, as they think, a stronger side, some stupid human thugs considering that they are not being used and Red Hats just bumbling around from one trouble into another. At the end of the book, however, it (usually) collapses into the two sides though the outcomes still are different.
  • Most of the major characters in Megan Whalen Turner's beautifully convoluted Queens Thief series are involved in one of these.
  • In the historical novel Wings of Dawn: Not as often as you'd expect, but once our protagonist leaves Britain, they really get going...
  • In Courtship Rite, the Kaiel clan have basically been breeding for a better chessmaster. When Aesoe, the clan's Prime Predictor, orders the maran-Kaiel brothers to marry Oelita the Gentle Heretic, he knows they'll try to outgambit him, and he's betting he's still better than they are. What none of them know is that the Mnankrei clan have their own plans for Oelita and her followers. The Mnankrei may not be quite the chessmasters that the Kaiel are, but they have surprise on their side. Unfortunately, it seems that the innocent courtesans of the Leithe clan may not be so innocent after all, and for once, they may feel the need to interfere with the plans of the great clans. Who would expect that a tiny, beautiful dancer would also be a trained assassin? But—that assassin may have plans of her own...
  • At one point in Mairelon the Magician, five different parties break into Henry Bramingham's library to steal a magical platter on display there for four different reasons. The sheer absurdity of this nearly causes the second party to break out laughing at the arrival of the fifth and get caught. Who actually stole the platter? None of them. A sixth party had stolen the real platter and replaced it with a forgery at least a week before it had entered Bramingham's possession.
  • Rayojini and her actions become the focus of a few characters' plots in Burying the Shadow. She is unaware of the different factions pulling the strings in her life until the end, or the fact that some of them think killing her might be the best course of action. And of course, Rayo has her own schemes which end up unknowingly going against all of them.
  • By the third book of Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness, there are two warring human factions, each with a Magnificent Bastard at the head trying to win over the other faction, the native species of the planet the humans have colonized that wants to destroy both human factions in revenge for a horrible massacre, a ship of new settlers that will be landing within weeks with powerful weapons that both human factions want to win over, and several wild cards including the main characters Todd and Viola and a scouting ship that arrived early with several nuclear missiles.
  • At any given time in The Nexus Series, there are at least three different factions with three different plans heading right for a head-on collision.
  • Causal Angel, the epic conclusion of The Quantum Thief-trilogy features an enormous pileup of gambits of Joséphine Pellegrini, Jean le Flambeur, the Great Game-zoku, the Kaminari-zoku and the All-Defector hitting each other at light speed, with a few Spanners In The Works for a good measure. But what can you expect when collectives of posthumans plot to break the barriers of time and space?
  • In No Good Deed... Father Garnerius, Lord Cuncz, and the Prince-Bishop of Bremen all have their own agendas, with Cuncz playing both sides off the other, while Elsabeth and Hieronymus get caught up in the middle.
  • Book three of The Sinister Six Trilogy has a few members of the six, their benefactor, Spider-man and SAFE all running plans that get shot to pieces when they collide.
  • Comedic Upper-Class Twit versions of this often appear in P. G. Wodehouse's novels.
  • Gambits pile up in the Village Tales novels like a road smash on the the M4. Church politics – even the saintly Rector's perfectly open plans to bring the Word: but subtly, getting past modern cultural defenses and prejudices – and other clerics' ambitions, County council skulduggery, His Highness the Nawab of Hubli's Succession Crisis, Edmond Huskisson's causes.... Everyone wishes to – and many think they have – got the Duke of Taunton co-opted to their plans. As the Duke is a retired Intelligence Corps major, they are mistaken: he is running them. Them; and the archaeological survey (to put the quietus on any development plans of the Council's); and the vestry; and … well. He's a Grand Master of Xanatos Speed Chess. And gets tetchy when a less advanced schemer's schemes interfere with his, although he'll plug it in anyway.
  • In The City of a Thousand Dolls, the protagonist is trying to catch a murderer who, unbeknownst to the Empire's government, is engaged to its prince. The Empire obviously don't approve of this, although they don't find out the murderer's identity until the book's finale. The City's sentient werecats are trying to stop the protagonist from doing this because they want to protect her. The City's leader is initially in favour of the murderer getting caught, but then changes her mind because she needs to protect the City's reputation. The protagonist initially works for her, but betrays her in the finale so the murderer's identity can be revealed.
  • In Deep Six by Clive Cussler, three separate villains from three separate countries with three separate agendasnote  all end up attempting to gain control of the White House. Four if you count the President himself. And that's not even getting into Pitt and Casio's attempts to get revenge on the Bougainville family or the loose cabal of high ranking government officials just trying to stop the country from falling apart.
  • The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign:
    • Volumne 6 features four different groups clashing over the same set of Macguffins. Kyousuke's group wants it to access information that will help them defeat the White Queen, the most powerful being in the setting. Bridesmaid, a cult dedicated to the White Queen, wants it in order to protect the Queen. Claude's group wants it to destroy all means of summoning the White Queen. Finally, Elvast's group wants someone not directly related to the matter, and he doesn't care for said information at all. To make things even more complex, the White Queen herself is directly involved, working with Elvast, with her ultimate goal being getting her hands on Kyousuke.
    • Volume 7 takes this Up to Eleven. Kyousuke's side and Bridesmaid reappear, with the same goals as before. However, two of Bridesmaid's members, Olivia and Doctor S, have their own plans. Olivia wants Kyousuke and the Queen to get together again, while Doctor S is in it for the thrills, and doesn't care who wins in the end. The White Queen (still with her previous goal) disguises herself as the Girl of the Week to sabotage Kyousuke's efforts... except then it turns out that she wanted him to succeed at beating her. By losing to the new weapon Kyousuke created, said weapon would become an even greater threat to the world than she was, forcing Kyousuke to ally with her.
  • In The Irregular at Magic High School, Maya Yotsuba conspires against the clan she leads to get Miyuki and Tatsuya engaged. Another clan, the Ichijous, try to break up the arrangement because they want Miyuki to marry their son instead. The patriarch of yet another clan, Koichi Saegusa, also tries to break up the arrangement, but his daughter stops him. Unbeknowst to anybody, that daughter's friend is trying to get her into an adulterous relationship with Tatsuya.
  • In The Dresden Files novel Small Favor, you have Nicodemus Archleone and the Fallen, working to kidnap Marcone and turn him. Then both Queens of Faerie get involved, leading to the Gruffs trying to kill Harry while Mab recruits him to recover Marcone. Then Harry calls in Ivy, who promptly also gets captured by the Fallen (who, it's speculated, knew he would do this, or at the very least took advantage of it), leading to Harry pulling a Batman Gambit on the Denarians in return. And then it all turns out to have been a Batman Gambit by Uriel, Heaven's spymaster, who is only allowed to get involved when mortal free will is on the line.
    • The following novel only takes it Up to Eleven, being essentially a series of interlocking gambits from (deep breath) Harry, Lara Raith, Madeline Raith, Peabody, the Senior Council, and the skinwalker. Harry manages to Out Gambit everyone and catch the traitor in the White Council, though it's YMMV on whether or not The Bad Guy Wins in the end.
  • Halo: The Cole Protocol can be summed up as about half a dozen different agendas smashing into each other at the climax of the book and everyone trying to crawl out of the ensuring chaos with at least some of their objectives intact. There are three major sides with two major players in each (UNSC: Commander Jacob Keyes and SPARTAN Gray Team, the Insurrection: Delgado and Bonifacio, and the Covenant: the Elite Thel 'Vadamee and the Jackal Reth) and all either are enemies or reluctantly trust the other.
  • In The Well of Moments, multiple parties want the Well so a lot of schemes crash into one another. Maxwell's recklessness makes him the perfect pawn for a MacGuffin Delivery Service. Toshiro repeatedly steals the Well from Jasmine by banking on her competence and keeping close tabs on her. Meanwhile both of the Big Bads are separately playing Xanatos Speed Chess to obtain the Well via multiple paths; a lot of trouble is caused by one trying to steal the Well from the other.


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