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Live Free or Die: Troy Rising I Mass Market Paperback – October 26, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 264 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Troy Rising Series

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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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Troy Rising
  • Mass Market Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (October 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439133972
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439133972
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (264 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover
Live Free or Die (2010) is the first SF novel in the Troy Rising series. It is loosely based on the Schlock Mercenary webcomics by Howard Tayler, but is a prequel to that series.

Like the webcomics, it all started with aliens bringing a gate to other worlds. Earth doesn't even have a way to reach the Gudram Ring, much less use it to explore the galaxy (and beyond). And then the rapacious aliens arrive and extort tribute under the threat of kinetic weapons.

In this novel, Tyler Alexander Vernon is a short man who has a hobby of creating SF webcomics. He worked as an IT manager until his comics started making more money. Then the Gudram Ring appeared and science fiction seemed outdated by current events. His wife got a divorce and he is reduced to dwelling in a cabin in the woods of New Hampshire and working four part-time jobs.

In this story, Tyler is cutting wood when Mrs. Cranshaw calls again to harass him about her firewood. He promised it by next Sunday, but the old woman wants it earlier. They settle on four in the afternoon on Sunday and then Tyler gets back to work.

While working at Mac's Market, Tyler is asked to work an extra shift on Saturday. He has a convention gig on that day, so he begs off. He meets an Glatun at the convention and discusses trade. They make an appointment for the alien to test some samples and then try the nonpoisonous items.

The Glatun go crazy over maple syrup. It is a strong intoxicant for them and they offer a pickup load of superelectronics for six barrels of the syrup. After the trade, the freighter crew go home and become rich off those six barrels.
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