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Better to Beg Forgiveness (Freehold #3)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,228 Ratings  ·  32 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
Feb 07, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
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 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
An excellent branch of the "Freehold" world, good plot and the book flows nicely, the protagonists are well-developed and both multicultural, but also a mix of male and female. The antagonists appropriately detestable and generally French, which makes them easy to dislike. Some definite allusions to the Black Water Security company and U.N. country building, but very well done.

I would certainly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys military sci-fi.
Scott Holstad
Feb 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Better To Beg Forgiveness is a mess because the author is a loser. Not only a bad writer with suspect military credentials, but a hate-filled agenda where everyone is to be mistrusted, from the UN to the military chain of command to the regular army to the police to civilians in general and so on. In fact, this book is something like Somalia in space. The featureless bad guys are called "skinnies." I thought I was watching Black Hawk Down. Hey, this book was published in 2007. Somalia was long o ...more
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,
Mar 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, sci-fi
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
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
Jul 21, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 02, 2013 rated it did not like it
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,
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-scifi
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
Lynnda Ell
Jan 16, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 10, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 25, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Distant future, many non-earth worlds, same old problems of civil war and corrupt governments. The story is a 5, but the actual telling is just a solid 4. Workmanlike, steady, good detail with good characters, but just a little flat. Lots of action and danger, and lots of weapons and tactics, but you're not totally caught up in it. Still, a solid book, as are all his books, and I would recommend it, and him.
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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...
I.F. Adams
Mar 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Definitely not my favorite of the Freehold universe, but that said, still a fun read. Follows around a group of hyper-competent contract security workers protecting a 3rd-world-ish president who *actually* is competent and cares. Predictable overall plot (people don't like competent leader, try to get him out of the picture, plucky team says screw the contract and keeps protecting him out of a sense of duty), but keeps you reading well enough.

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.
Phil Roberts
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read , with action from beginning to end!

Better To Beg Forgiveness ,I have read three times in six years. I ordered book two: "Do Unto Others". Harrah for the Ripple Creek Gang . Great reading!
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
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.
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Al Cormier
Feb 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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)
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
very close to decent
Dec 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Over the top action. Kept getting confused as to which bodyguard was which. Great action scenes. Too many POV.
Good read - plenty of action
Jeffrey Schmieder
Apr 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this one, good us against the universe and although off-planet it was very much like 1960's Africa.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: "Better to Beg Forgiveness" by Michael Z. Williamson 1 1 Oct 03, 2013 04:52PM  
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