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Live Free or Die (Troy Rising, Book 1) Hardcover – February 2, 2010

226 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Prolific military SF author Ringo (the Posleen War series) imbues this near-future epic with a somewhat self-indulgent air, mixing lengthy and sometimes interminable discussions of science and economics with do-or-die action. Three years after the alien Grtul drop a transport gate in our solar system and welcome Earth to the galactic community, a Horvath warship shows up and destroys several major cities before extorting protection payments. Fast-thinking entrepreneur Tyler Vernon exploits the literally universal appeal of maple syrup to make a fortune, defies the Horvath, and reveals his ideas for keeping Earth safe, but intergalactic war threatens to derail his plan. This extended thought exercise is infused with plenty of old-fashioned two-fisted can-do attitude, a heavy dose of science, and occasional bursts of dry humor, but shallow characterization and an ambling plot detract from the overall experience. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

This irresistible action-sf tale launches another series, deriving partly from a webcomic (Schlock Mercenary) and partly from Ringo’s amazingly fertile imagination. In the near future, humanity enjoys (or suffers from) first contact with an entire galactic federation, one of whose unfriendly races goes to war with Earth for our heavy metals. A more benign race works through crusty Vermonter Tyler Vernon to exploit nonhuman technology in developing a space program and defenses. Eventually, Earth lives up to the title (New Hampshire’s state motto), with Vernon taking his mobile asteroid, in essence a Death Star in good-guy hands, on humanity’s first interstellar war cruise to settle some alien hash. --Roland Green

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Product Details

  • Series: Troy Rising
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; First Edition edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439133328
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439133323
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #882,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm a professional author of... Well, I used to say "science fiction." Then came There Will Be Dragons, which is sf with a distinct fantasy twist. Then came Ghost which is techno-thriller crossed with porn. Then came Princess of Wands, a Christian soccer mom battling demons through the power of God. Who knows what's next? Children's books? (I've actually got that one mapped out. You see, there's this girl who is raised by dolphins... You think I'm joking, don't you?)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 97 people found the following review helpful By P. Gibbs on January 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Live Free or Die starts as a First Contact story. An alien race visits our solar system and "builds" a Gate for interstellar travel to and from our system to other Gates in the galaxy. The captain of the ship informs us that alien races, both friendly and hostile, can now travel to and from Earth using the Gate. The action starts during the subsequent five years when first a "friendly" race (the Glatun), engaged in interstellar commerce, arrives using the Gate. They are followed a few years later by a more predatory race, the Horvath, who use trade the same way the Mafia uses a protection racket. They destroy three cities, Mexico City, Shanghai and Cairo, to demonstrate how mean they are and then demand all of the stocks of Earth's heavy precious metals, mainly gold and platinum, as payment for the Horvath "protecting" Earth from hostile aliens.

Enter our hero, Tyler Vernon, who is struggling to survive in New Hampshire amidst the worldwide depression caused by the Horvath stealing Earth's precious metals. Tyler is an entrepreneur and seizes the opportunity when he meets a Glatun free trader at an SF convention. Just asking the question, "What could he sell the Glatun that would be valuable to an advanced alien race?" starts something big for him. How big was determined by a second question, "How could he become the indispensable source for that export item?"

As anyone who has traveled to New Hampshire knows, the motto for the State is "Live Free or Die." It's on every license plate. Tyler and a bunch of his neighbors take that philosophy seriously. What starts out as a commercial venture eventually turns into the war for Terran independence from the Horvath and Tyler Vernon leads the fight as the richest man on Earth from trade with the Glatun.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful By LT on January 6, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was a very enjoyable book to read. The book flowed well and the author is back to one of his strengths - developing characters.
The premise of the book comes from aliens putting a 'gate' in the earth system. The first set of aliens are good aliens interested only in trade. The second set take over and demand tribute. Earth is helpless.
Enter the hero, Tyler, who discovers an item that the good aliens are crazy about - maple syrup. He parleys this into a fortune which he uses to build an infrastructure to enable earth to resist the bad aliens.
One item I liked about this book comes from the author resisting the trap of having 'everything easy' once the hero gets some money and starts out on his quest. This is probaly a personal nit pick of mine but I hate the books where the hero discovers something - usually a technology - and then all things just fall into place, no problems are hard, the technology solves all ills, etc. In this book, without dwelling on them, the author has our hero facing bureaucracy problems from earth governments, politics from alien factions, resource issues, and just realistic issues in general.
Another good part of the book comes once the author finally gets a space ship - admittedly very old, bit run down, and only has tugs to use for transport. Then very well educated professionals show up willing to do anything just to get into space. The author did this well and in a humerous fashion without giving away details that may spoil the reading.
Instead of going on on this vein, I will summarize. This was an enjoyable book to read. There is good flow, character development, plot, etc that go into a good reading science fiction book. This is not a big battle action/adventure book. It is a good story to read.
And, it appears to be the first of a series.
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Gaines on May 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
LFD is a straightforward shoot-em-up, with all the subtlety and nuance of a rock through your window.

I enjoyed the first half, with our hero Tyler Vernon the only person *both* smart enough to figure out what the aliens want *and* ballsy enough to claw his way to a standoff with the bad guys. Exhilarating.

The second half degenerated into a snarled-up knot of engineering acryonyms and perfunctory space battles. No suspense to speak of; the outcome is never in doubt, except for engineering details like how fast to spin molten space rocks to get the effect you want.

Still not a bad yarn as long as you remember another reviewer's advice that Ringo's "doing it all with mirrors" and just let it carry you along. A good airport read.

I'm giving it three stars rather than four because Ringo makes no effort to make the aliens, well, alien in any meaningful sense. They come across to me as humans wearing funny-looking foam headgear. The good aliens are Americans in space and the bad aliens are Soviets in space. (No kidding - he describes the Horvath as "communalist" at least twice). There's at least one first contact between an alien and a human that to my ear reads like a Happy Days scene with Fonzie and Ritchie horsing around in the garage ("toss me that wrench, wouldya?").

The most interesting character in the whole book, humans and aliens included, is an old New England farmer who believes everyone who lives in a city is a "Revenuer" and everybody from south of New Hampshire is a "Reb." I'd like to read more about him!

I don't mind the "culturally insensitive" stuff except that it sticks out like a sore thumb.
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