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Better to Beg Forgiveness (Freehold: Ripple Creek #1)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  723 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Celadon, a poor nation on a poor planet, engaged in civil war and a haven for every type of villainy in space, is ripe for cleanup. The military could pacify it handily, but it would take a statesman to fix it. But some statesmen have ethics, which politicians and megacorps find inconvenient. President Bishwanath compounded the sin by being astute, ambitious and capable. S ...more
Paperback, 640 pages
Published February 24th 2009 by Baen (first published November 1st 2007)
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Lianne Burwell
I'd enjoyed the writer's previous two books, although I find his Liberatarian utopia to be laughable in terms of workability (it would collapse. Sorry, but it would). Still, they were enjoyable military SF.

However, in this book the author unloads so much vitriol that I barely finished it. He hates reporters, bureaucrats, the UN, military chain of command, most politicians, anyone on television, and so on. He also insults Candians, and the only gay character is a disgusting, overweight asshole wh
Mar 19, 2014 Shawn rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
If FOX News wrote SF military fiction, it would read like this. Having read Mr. Williamson's first two books, I expected discussion of a Heinlein-esque individualistic society and it's superiority to the welfare society that would be the other possiblity. However, it was far more "conservative-toned" than that.
The story itself was interesting, if a bit formulaic: a small band of well trained soldiers fighting against impossible odds with only their honor and lots of weapons. The events in the st
What a chore to finish this book. I enjoyed Williamson's Freehold and Weapon; and this book takes place in the same universe although at an earlier time (before Grainne gains independence). The universe is still interesting, but the characters and plodding manner of story telling are most certainly not.

I almost quit the book twice in the almost 100 pages covering the evacuation of the palace from seven different perspectives! Really a three km trip even through a raging mob takes THAT long to de
Wow, what a piece of crap. I didn't even finish this book.

For starters, it's Somalia in space. Literally. The faceless bad guys are called "skinnies" (OMFG). I'm all for mining history for ideas, but I don't know if 1993 is history yet, and you've got ADAPT the ideas you steal in any event.

I abandoned this book when I read the dialogue "property stealing communists". This book was written in 2007, someone doesn't realize we won the cold war, so the Reagan era propaganda is really stupid.

But Baen
I found this more readable than "Freehold" (by the same author), mainly because it's not 200 pages of Libertarian manifesto with some novel thrown in. However, it still isn't up to the standard of "On Basilisk Station", "The Heart of Valor", or other excellent works of military sci-fi; I read "Better To Beg Forgiveness" quickly enough, but probably won't re-read it the way I do with Weber's and Huff's works.

The main problems I had with it were the female characters (of the entire bodyguard team,
Set in the same universe as Freehold but preceding it chronologically, this novel follows a group of bodyguards tasked with protecting the president of a nation wracked by civil war. The setting is very much inspired by present day Afghanistan and Iraq. Clan warfare and a lacking sense of national identity make the task of unification and pacification very difficult. To make it worse, the bureaucrats and military organizations of the UN (now a world and multiplanetary government) don’t care one ...more
Only after reaching the half-way point did the thought occur to me that the title - "Better to Beg Forgiveness" - was not actually about the story.

Rather, it's the author's attempt to "beg forgiveness" for inflicting such a horrid piece of writing on readers.

Mr. Williamson continues to demonstrate his complete lack of regard for anything remotely recognizable or useful as "transition" when moving from one time period to the next - even within the same paragraph!

I gave the book one star because,
I read this while deployed to Iraq in 2009. What immediately struck me about was the authenticity of the characters - of course there's archetypes and exaggerations built into any fiction, but good military fiction should show you characters and situations that immediately strike you with the "holy smoke, I know that guy!" "I was deployed with her, yup." Mad Mike strikes that note perfectly with his "Blackwater in space" series.
Lynnda Ell
The first line of the book, "Basically, I'm in it for the money." provided the basis for the story of how professional bodyguards do their job. The difference between soldiers and bodyguards was one I had not considered, so I enjoyed learning what being a bodyguard entails.

The book has a cynical tone that belies the loyality displayed by the bodyguards as the story progresses. It contains plenty of action and plot twists. I would have given it more stars - and have kept it for my library except
Clay Rylee
I really enjoyed the first book following the Ripple Creek crew but I am not suprised about this, I enjoyed the second novel, which was the one that I read first. I look forward to reading the third novel (which I have in my mount TBR) and can't wait to see what the RC contractors get into in that book. With this book... I enjoyed the whole thing but I did find the part with Elke (one of my favorite characters aside from Marlow) in her room alone to be a bit awkward and not really adding anythin ...more
Not Williamson's best. He's got characters running all over the place to no end whatsoever. Most of the book is a seemingly endless stream of scenarios in which the heroes yet again save their protected principal from a mindless attack.

This had the potential to become a novel of political intrigue, but several potential story lines were unceremoniously dropped, never to be heard from again. One of the big mysteries -- who was behind all the attacks -- is never answered. Instead, we get a mindle
I'm only 70 pages in, but I really don't know that I'll finish. Doesn't help that I'm reading it simultaneously w/ Stephen King's "11/22/63"...
On the plus side: free, ebook, mostly readable sci-fi.
On the minus side: only Mostly readable. All tell and no show. Characters difficult to distinguish from one another, difficult to care. Stilted dialog and story telling: written more like a report than a novel. I was far more impressed by "Freehold," 'though even there Williamson's limitations as a w
R. Michael Litchfield
Ok, I like milsf, even milsf that is more milfic than milsf like this. But because of the territory it tends to attract a lot of annoyingly right wing jingoistic fans, let alone authors. Williams bumps into that area few times but not so much it annoyed me. The book is over all a secret service procedural, how to go about protecting a head of state of a brink tottering state from the point of view of the private contractor (mercenary) bodyguard team. Found that in all I didn't give a damn about ...more
A decent, hard-line story about a group of mercenaries who believe the spirit of the job is more important than the money or politics involved. The characters are a little flat, and the action slap-dash, but all in all it's a fun, light read. While the end-goal is stated early and often, I still found it sudden and complete a little too quickly. This is somewhat, but not quite, balanced by the fact that the whole story is by and large a little too long. This mix works well at first - the story j ...more
very close to decent
Contractors (a.k.a Mercenaries) Disputing with regular armed forces (UN in this case, which is supposed to be the corrupt government ruling the confederation of human worlds spanned from earth, which will later be seen in Freehold by the same author) in a backwater planet having a Civil war). The Planet is so much like contemporary african nations in which different tribes are battling over total control.
This is another very good read in the "Freehold" series. Others have pointed out that these books aren't up to David Weber's level in Military Science Fiction. David Weber is my favorite all round author and I must agree. That being said, these books are quite enjoyable to read. Even though they are Military Science Fiction they are written in a different style than Weber and that is fine with me. As much as I like Weber I don't want everything to be a clone of his books!
Chuck Springer
I was expecting another sci-fi novel that would further explore the Libertarian society found in his other 2 books. Sadly, I was disappointed. This book focused on a group of bodyguards, and a tale of extreme government (U.N.) corruption on a small backwater planet. At times you are on the edge of your seat, other times the situations are just too convenient. The book seemed to take some current world events and just place them on another planet...
Shuvom Ghose
Meh. Nothing of the premise really pans out. The President doesn't matter, the political situation doesn't matter, it's just all excuses to let the heroic soldiers we're supposed to love do their future soldier thing. And even the action scenes were just okay.

Loved his other work, Freehold, but this one isn't in the same league.
I really enjoyed this book. It's action-packed, the good guys aren't perfect, but they also aren't cringe inducing with their faults. The story arc is complete and satisfying, but there are enough tangential issues left unresolved that I'm going to go check for a sequel.
I could not get past page 12 of this book before I threw it away. It was not engaging in the slightest. The author filled the pages will irrelevant details and started the book with nothing of interest. I just couldn't keep reading it anymore.
Plenty of cynical slaps at military and political bureaucrats as a security team for a supposedly caretaker president of a third rate nation on a third rate planet fight for the president's physical and political survival.
Al Cormier
This was an excellent military adventure that was relatively light on the science and heavy on tactics, strategy, and bureaucratic politics! Two RPGs up :o)
Light, entertaining mercenary science fiction.
Pretty fun. A light rollicking read.
Aug 12, 2007 Leigh marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
[reserved for november release]
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