Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Fire with Fire (Tales of the Terran Republic, #1)” as Want to Read:
Fire with Fire (Tales of the Terran Republic, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Fire with Fire

(Tales of the Terran Republic #1)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  1,947 ratings  ·  225 reviews
An agent for a spy organization  uncovers an alien alliance in nearby interstellar space—an alliance that will soon involve humanity in politics and war on a galactic scale. 2105, September: Intelligence Analyst Caine Riordan uncovers a conspiracy on Earth’s Moon—a history-changing clandestine project—and ends up involuntarily cryocelled for his troubles. Twelve years late ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Baen (first published March 15th 2013)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Fire with Fire, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Leo Walsh Actually, far from Libertarian. It reads leftish. I'd class the feel as a liberal-leaning centrist. The protagonist has no respect for corporations, w…moreActually, far from Libertarian. It reads leftish. I'd class the feel as a liberal-leaning centrist. The protagonist has no respect for corporations, who deforest and show reckless disregard for sentient beings like workers, most of whom hail from teh Tird World. Nor does he respect the main authorities who recruited him for "special duty" because of the lies the leaders told him... and live daily.

Then there is a conference (no details... Removed due to spoilers)...

To me, this reads more like Asimov and golden-age space opera than Right-Wing military SF. Good read (but not great).(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,947 ratings  ·  225 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Fire with Fire (Tales of the Terran Republic, #1)
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those novels that you absolutely need to be in the mood for.

I've been through cycles in my reading where I might have violently rejected this kind of glorious space opera and other times where I might think it was a fairly cool, light, and transparent adventure.

This time, however, it hits me in precisely the right spot. I wanted a true and one-dimensional hero that plows excellently through all the hardships thrown at his polymath mind, overcoming moral quandaries with steadfast h
May 17, 2014 rated it liked it
The best way to describe Charles E. Gannon's Fire With Fire is "old-fashioned", in both the best and worst senses of that term. On one hand, Gannon's novel offers a meticulously detailed and broadly examined future history - the kind of thing old school SF nerds gush over - while adding a few new twists and wrinkles to the classic first contact narrative. By that I mean there are lots of tried and true genre tropes recycled in this novel, but rendered skillfully enough to maximize their entertai ...more
Stig Edvartsen
A very uneven book.

The good:

The second half of the book managed to create a bit of interesting intrigue and set-up for subsequent books.

Some of the dialogue is quite good, and a few of Riordans deductions quite well done.

The bad:

Some of the language is a bit *ahem* rough. Undulating torsos and sinous women. Tsk tsk.

The women are tough as nails as long as there's not a man around to save them. Then they simper, refuse to go through doors or have irrational breakdowns. *ALL* the women with s
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
I find it mind boggling that this book was nominated for a 2014 Nebula Award.

The book is not very well-written. An important new plot line is not introduced until 65% of the way through the story. Dialog is often not credible. The plot line diverges unexpectedly, with little or no preparation for the reader. Some aspects of the story appear to be included solely in order to increase the page count. The scenes shift without warning, as does the primary plot line. New concepts and characters are i
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I can't stop smiling. It's been far too long since I've read a good science fiction novel. Once my go-to genre, science fiction has taken a back seat to fantasy of late. Charles E. Gannon's FIRE WITH FIRE absolutely falls under the definition of good science fiction. It is a novel that has reminded me just what it is that I love about the genre and it has ensured that I will be following Gannon's work closely in the years to come. FIRE WITH FIRE sets a great many things in motion, signaling the ...more
BG Josh
Jun 02, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So you have to understand that a book written in the 1960's is going to be laden with misogyny because that was the prevailing attitude of the time, and...

Wait, what? this book came out last year? In that case the author is a horrible misogynist.

I actually did have to check the publishing date, this future world has to be the least technologically advanced future I have ever seen. It's almost a hundred years in the future and the self driving cars are worse than the self driving cars that exist
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Jun 19, 2016 marked it as did-not-finish
Stopped at about 70 pages in. Wow, SUPER stereotypes, clunky infodump dialog, and it promises to be a sausage fest peppered with cliche females. I had to stop when the first woman to appear was *immediately* a sexy seductive vixen and introduced with her "curves". Blargh. I'm sure there's fun in this, but it just seems like really, really, REALLY typical old style mil SF. ...more
Tim Hicks
Feb 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This book takes a mighty swing at being a Great Space Opera - and hits a long foul ball. Exciting to watch, but in the end disappointing. Which is another way of saying it's a pretty good read but not a great book.

The names mentioned around this book - Weber, Flint, Pournelle - give you a hint. This isn't Arthur C. Clarke, this isn't Bujold's Vorkosigan series, this isn't Dickson's Dorsai.

The hero is essentially Keith Laumer's Retief. No, really: here A diplomatic Mary Sue. We meet alien race
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
A super-competent writer is put on ice for decades by a secret government agency, and, when he's revived, sent on a mission to investigate rumors of extraterrestrial contact on an alien world, an then a bunch of other stuff happens.

There is a style of book affectionately referred to as competency porn, which often involves a particularly intelligent and skilled main character doing some difficult tasks better than anyone else. It can be enjoyable, if done well and with a certain amount of restra
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, reviewed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
very entertaining old-style sf with modern sensibilities and the start of a series with great promise

Fire with Fire was a book I really did not expect to even open as based on the Starfire novel co-written with S White (Extremis) which for some reasons did not work in the least for me while its first installment (Exodus to which Extremis is the conclusion) co-written by S. White with someone else once D. Weber left the series due to his many commitments, was quite good, I kind of put Charles Gan
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: free, kindle
I’m not sure which is more boring in a book: a plot that doesn’t go anywhere, or a main character who is perfect. Unfortunately, Fire with Fire has both. I’ll first start with my qualms about the plot. This story started way too late, as it didn’t get interesting until halfway through. Even when it did finally get interesting, it suddenly became bogged down in committee. Seriously? Didn’t we learn anything from the Star Wars prequels? Adding politics to a story about traveling across space merel ...more
Bryan Brown
Aug 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci_fi

Frankly I desperately wanted to like this book. The setup was really interesting and I was in the mood for something more light hearted after all the Malazan Empire stories I had read.

Sadly, in spite of all my attempts to get into reading this I was ultimately unable to and quit reading at page 207, maybe a third of the way through the book.

The characters were uniformly flat, and the leftist workers rights agenda was too ham-fisted, and the character arcs were clumsy and predictable, and the
Aug 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I wanted to like this book more than I did. It has most of everything I like in a good space opera - intrigue, action, mysterious aliens, conspiracies, spies and soldiers (not enough space ships though).

Like many reviewers, I will agree that it reminded of an old fashioned classic of the genre. Where I can't agree is that it deserves 5 stars. My complaints are, in no particular order:

1. The Hero - he makes Wesley Crusher look like an incompetent idiot. There is nothing this guy can't do, which m
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Action, adventure, mystery, romance, surprises followed by surprises. The prose is crisp, the story deftly executed, and the plot is wheels within wheels, the right hand not only not knowing what the left hand is doing, but often unaware there is a left hand.

Caine is a polymath, his sharp mind and competence not always from training, but often from intuition, yet he also shares the most common needs and weaknesses of the rest of us, as well as uncommon ones which make this such a philosophically
Tudor Ciocarlie
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-my-best-of
Great fun! Sometimes the child in me needs these kind of science-fiction adventures, even if they are spend in the company of one dimensional characters and anthropomorphic aliens.
Peter Tillman
I wanted to like this book, but failed. When it's done well, I love this sort of thing. But.... see the other negative reviews here: crude, poorly written, etc. etc. 1.5 stars. Bah. Not for me! ...more
An old-school space opera which for some reason vaguely reminded me of Andersen's Dominic Flandry as he dashed around the galaxy solving problems.

Our hero begins already a hero, having flown a mission to deflect a "doomsday rock" from collision with Earth. He's awakened after a dozen years in cryo sleep, recruited into a secret organization, discover someone's trying to kill him, and has his boss pimp him with a sexy bodyguard. When Earth is contacted by a compact of alien races and offered a ch
Markus Kirschner
May 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
In the 60ies the biggest James Bond fan of all was abducted by Aliens, put into cryo-sleep, re-awakened in 2012 and forced to write a Science Fiction novel.
That was my take when I had to stop in the first half of the book since it is so unimaginative as you can guess. Although humanity discovered FTL travel in about 100 years, right after that they invent self-driving, speaking (sic!) cars and still use paper cash when traveling to Mars where they solve crimes by comparing blood-types instead o
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
I originally started to read this because I had gotten it for free at some point, and then one of its sequels was nominated for a Nebula award. Those turned out not to be very good reasons.

It's the kind of book that keeps me from reading other books, because I subconsciously avoid reading when this is what faces me.

This was going to be the third series of books where I read Wikipedia articles to spoil the rest of the series so I don't accidentally start reading it again. But it appears that nobo
Kieran McAndrew
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Caine Riordan is an Intelligence Officer who uncovers a conspiracy on the moon and is cryogenically frozen to delay the truth. Awoken thirteen years later, Riordan has lost a hundred hours of memory leading up to his tanking, but finds himself the target of assassination attempts to keep the truth hidden from humanity.

Gannon's novel is comfortably set in it's near future and the novel owes at least as much to Fleming as to Asimov.
Mia R.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional world building. Fantastic hard sci-fi story.
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Caine Riordan is a writer, not a soldier, but when he chases a story to the Moon, he apparently steps too close to a secret held by an organisation that does not officially exist, or so he is led to believe when they pull him from cryogenic sleep thirteen years later. He was put on ice for his own protection, apparently, and the process robbed him not only of more than a decade but of the last hundred hours before he went down.

What happened in those hours?

That question, in part, initially drives
Jun 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angie Boyter
Jun 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-group
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
In the classic movie, "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead," the opening scene shows a coin being tossed repeatedly. And always coming up heads. "Heads."
It goes on long enough for the viewer to realize that the laws of probability have been suspended here, and will remain suspended hereafter. If you haven't seen it, go watch the movie and come back to this review later. This isn't important, and it will keep.

I read a lot of sci-fi, and I get a head start on a lot of it by loo
Kitvaria Sarene
May 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
First off - if you don't count Orson Scott Card, this is only my second SciFi novel, so I don't have a lot of comparison.

I bought this, because I decided to read the Nebula Award nominees.

I got into the story quite fast, and it was a good and fun read.
It was not exactly what I was expecting - especially in the beginning it felt more like a spy/action novel with cold storage units, than SciFi.
It's only in the second half. that we get to see a bit of a spaceship, and meet more then the one singl
H. P.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-sf
I’m not going to say much about the plot of Fire with Fire. One, because the backcover copy. Two, because it’s difficult to say much about the plot without spoilers. And the twists—there are several—are what Fire With Fire does best.

Fire with Fire is a funny book. As a science fiction book, there are a lot of cool ideas. As a thriller, Gannon has a nice grasp on tension and the twist. But, again, as a science fiction book, it fails at worldbuilding. There is too much telling, and not enough show
David Traver Adolphus
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: actual-sci-fi
There's a core of interesting material in the book, but it's almost completely obscured by a hugely bloated storyline. I mean, almost 500 pages? At least half of those are entirely unrelated to the plot, rambling divergences that contribute nothing to the story and should have been cut by the editor. Additionally, there are numerous problems with the science part of science fiction in it, very basic omissions that just yank you out of the story.

It's an interesting take on first contact, but trem
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent space opera with very strong SF elements. This is a novel of many dimensions including interstellar exploration, first contact and human entry into galactic society presented in a tautly-plotted, well-paced narrative. The mysteries surrounding the main character, Caine Riordan, at the outset evolve into even deeper mysteries in a presentation style that recalls classic pulp SF books. However, the author delivers secrets and revelations with the savvy of a modern spy novel.

Thoroughly en
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
JordanCon Book Club: Caine Riordan Series 1 6 Feb 09, 2017 12:59PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Song for a New Day
  • A Hymn Before Battle (Posleen War, #1)
  • Perilous Shield (The Lost Stars, #2)
  • A Call to Duty (Honorverse: Manticore Ascendant, #1)
  • Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show
  • The Light Brigade
  • Gods and Men (Ruins of the Earth #2)
  • Under a Graveyard Sky (Black Tide Rising, #1)
  • Seeker (Alex Benedict #3)
  • Grand Central Arena  (Grand Central Arena, #1)
  • The City in the Middle of the Night
  • Falls the Shadow (Warmer collection)
  • Earth Unaware (The First Formic War, #1)
  • Paperboy Days: Adventures of the Last Great American Paperboy
  • The Valley of Shadows (Black Tide Rising Book 6)
  • Forbidden Planet (Rise of the Gladiator, #1)
  • The Best of Bova: Volume 1
  • The Salvage Crew
See similar books…
Dr. Charles E. Gannon is a Distinguished Professor of English (St. Bonaventure U.) & Fulbright Senior Specialist (American Lit & Culture). He has had novellas in Analog and the War World series. His nonfiction book "Rumors of War and Infernal Machines" won the 2006 ALA Outstanding Text Award. He also worked as author and editor for GDW, and was a routine contributor to both the scientific/technica ...more

Other books in the series

Tales of the Terran Republic (5 books)
  • Trial by Fire (Tales of the Terran Republic, #2)
  • Raising Caine (Tales of the Terran Republic, #3)
  • Caine's Mutiny (Tales of the Terran Republic, #4)
  • Marque of Caine (Tales of the Terran Republic, #5)

News & Interviews

Some interesting news for book nerds: According to recent industry research, book sales spiked dramatically in 2020–otherwise a rather...
25 likes · 11 comments
“Because in the Renaissance, broadly integrative thought was at a premium; empirical method was in its infancy. Now, with the tools of measurement so highly refined, we produce lots of narrow specialists but fewer expansive thinkers.” “Well,” 0 likes
“Doctor, if something goes wrong, there is probably squat-all we can do about it, anyway. I’m sure you folks have been chatting about the ship that just came in so you’re probably guessing the same thing I am: that if these Dornaani wanted to put their foot up our ass and wriggle their toes out our nostrils, I doubt there’s a thing in creation we could do about it.” 0 likes
More quotes…