Rating: Buy, Hardcover, New
What's a John Ringo Book without millions dead and humanity striving to survive? That would be Ghost! Fortunately, Live Free or Die isn't from that series. Live Free or Die is the first book in a new series by John Ringo. Mrs. Bugbear will be shaking her head as my overloaded bookshelves collapse from the weight of Ringo Books as it seems he is revving up his production again.
From what I understand from the book's Acknowledgments, Live Free or Die is a bit of a takeoff of Schlock Mercenary. The book looks at humanity's first contact with interstellar polities and Live Free or Die is interesting in that the aliens in some cases aren't far different from us and in other cases are pretty alien. The story begins with Earth being dominated by the Horvath one of the alien races to appear through a gate that was emplaced by a race called the Grtul who only purpose it seems is to create the gates.
The main character Tyler Vernon through intelligence and a bit of luck stumbles on a trade item that interests the Glatun. By monopolizing the market Vernon manages to build a mercantile empire that is focused on shrugging off the Horvath domination of Earth.
Ringo has been characterized as a military science fiction author, but I feel that his foremost skill is in the buildup to confrontation. There is a military adage "Good generals study tactics. Great generals study logistics". Ringo in Live Free or Die tells the story of the build-up, creating the infrastructure to free earth from alien domination. As an engineer I really appreciate looking at big construction projects and this book delivers that in spades. If you're looking for epic space opera with guns blazing and millions dying this book will disappoint, if you like stories that tell you about what we might be able to build in space, then this story is excellent.
Now I'm off to find more shelf space for Live Free or Die, which comes out in hardcover in Feb 2010 and the sequel which is projected for release sometime in the 2nd or third quarter of 2010.