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Better to Beg Forgiveness... (Freehold Series) Mass Market Paperback – February 24, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Z. Williamson was born in Birkenhead, England and raised in Liverpool, and Toronto, Canada, before moving to Columbus, Ohio. An 18-year veteran of the US Army and US Air Force, he is a state-ranked competitive shooter in combat rifle and combat pistol. His other books include Freehold (Baen), the Target Terror series for Harper-Collins, so far including Targets of Opportunity and The Scope of Justice, and Hero, a collaboration with New York Times best-selling author John Ringo for Baen. He currently lives in Indianapolis with his wife Gail, their two children, and various cats that are not to be trusted.
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Product Details

  • Series: Freehold Series
  • Mass Market Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (February 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416591516
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416591511
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #364,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Oakree Kuchenbacker on April 10, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Better to Beg Forgiveness" isn't a bad book, but with a few minor changes it could have been released as a conventional action-adventure story back in the 60's.

Tell me if this sounds familiar: a small team of crack mercenaries is hired to protect the UN-backed puppet president of a poor African nation wracked by tribal warfare. Every level of the government, from township mayors right up to the UN representatives, is filled with corrupt, opportunistic politicians more concerned with their own agendas than creating a functioning nation. The tight-knit, upright members of the mercenary team do their best to protect their assigned subject, but they're experts in tactical warfare, not the political kind. So they're forced to rely on their wits and their guns when things fall apart and their very much alive client is declared dead by the powers that be.

That's pretty much the set-up for "Better to Beg Forgiveness", but with a poor, African-settled colony world standing in for the generic African nation that would have been used in the 60's. Oh, and instead of having to spirit the President across the Atlantic to New York City the mercs have to spirit him across the galaxy. On a tramp freighter. With a plucky crew that grudgingly comes to respect the heavily armed professional killers that have hijacked their ship.

Yeah, I'm being snarky, but the overall plot of the book really is that generic.

On the other hand, Mr. Williamson is obviously well acquainted with the ins and outs of executive protection and has embraced the adage to write what you know. His depictions of small scale fights and running gun battles are extremely entertaining and well-written.
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Have read several other books by Williamson, and have enjoyed them. When I ordered this new book, I expected more of the same. Well - there is a difference between grilled porterhouse steak and grilled sirloin tip steak, and all that one has to do is to experience it - that is, in this case, read them. It had a lot of the elements that I enjoy about science fiction - but it seemed to lack that illuminating spark that sets really good books apart from the crowd. In my life - retired and over 65 - I have read thousands of books - and a lot of them science fiction. This is a good book, and as such it deserves to be read - but the situation Michael postulated here could have had some very more interesting and intriguingly thought provoking ideas. I gave it 4 stars, since I could not rate it 3 stars in deference to many other books that I've read - or started to read, anyway. Michael, lets hope your forthcoming books regain their former piquancy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Lots of action, very moving depiction of a warrior trying to save his people and the toll the saving takes on his soul. War is never easy or simple and surely not for the people who fight it. The action scenes are quite well done. The moral aspects remind me of General U.S. Grant in the American civil war. People called him a butcher but he saved the nation and ended the war.
Williamson is a competent writer and a man who digs deep into the human condition.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is first-rate military-ish science fiction. (I say "military-ish" because the story revolves around a small mercenary team who don't have the advantages or disadvantages that come with being part of a regular military structure.)

This is also a novel about peacekeeping and nation-building. It gives a much better picture than news media reports of the astonishing range and depth of problems faced by people trying to build civil societies in poor countries.

First and foremost, though, this novel is a fun read: strong characters, fast-paced action, flashes of humor. Strongly recommended.
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This was a great story, good mix of action, adventure, humor, and even some suspense. The military aspects were well done and some of it really gave me a chuckle as it reminded my of things from my own service. I've read a couple of his other books and enjoyed them, I will definitely be checking out the entire series.
And yes, it even has 'that' mall cop from internet yore of old.
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Very good and authentic Military Science Fiction. Great characters going through all the problems of dealing with bureaucracy that has gone insane while trying to protect a head of state on a planet gone mad. Williamson knows the military and he knows the people in it, and how they react in stressful situations, and he does a great job of putting this on the page.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I would like to offer that if you know MZW books you know that his characters are well developed to bring about the experience of a the Total Universe. If you think in these terms you will get the look and feel for Action, Science Fiction, and some amazing and interesting plot characters.

I believe he does write in the realms of what he knows. I know that he is an active writer so if you look at the books as continuous work you will come to appreciate the work.

Even though this book is great alone, to enhance the aspects of this book I would read The Weapon and Freehold first.

Great Work Mike!!!!
Keep it up!!!!
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