Live Free or Die

John Ringo, Author . Baen $26 (404p) ISBN 978-1-4391-3332-3

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.)

Reviewed on: 12/07/2009
Release date: 02/01/2010
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