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A Few Good Men (Darkship, #3)
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General Book Discussions > Buddy/Group Read: A Few Good Men by Sarah A. Hoyt

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Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
And it's on! Please post your thoughts (please specify the chapter you're in so people can avoid the spoilers).


Greyweather | 308 comments I actually just started Darkship Renegades so I'll be playing catch-up with you all later.


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
OK. I am actually thinking this book would read more effectively if you don't know the backstory and find everything out as the narrator does. I'd be curious to hear from someone who hasn't read Darkship Thieves/Renegades and just started with this one.

Still have to read Renegades myself. My library is very Baen-deficient.


message 4: by Les (new) - rated it 3 stars

Les | 11 comments I haven't read either book and so far the reading is going smoothly. I'm not feeling lost at all. I just finished the chapter titled Out of Hell.


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
My first thought at the start of the book was that a man who repeatedly calls himself a monster will turn out to be anything but. Evil people don't see themselves that way.


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
I found it so odd at the end of Out of Hell when John Jefferson tells Luce his name, as if it were some kind of gift. (I was even thinking, it's not fantasy where you get a power over someone by just knowing their name.) Well… names do come into play much later on, and it was- kind of- a special thing to do.

Also our hero is clearly afraid of disobeying the voice in his head more than anything else. Marginally insane heroes are always the best :)


message 7: by Diane (new)

Diane Baker | 75 comments Funny how good folks see their own evil and want to be rid of it; evil folk think they're just fine. I haven't read the Hoyt. Will have to look it up on Amazon and see what it's about.


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
OK, but I recommend staying away from the reviews. Too many spoilers, although in fairness it's almost impossible to review this particular book or write about the main character without spoilers.

One this I will say, and it came from the author herself, is that she expected to get all kinds of grief from her conservative friends for this book, but it never materialized. If anything, whatever grief she did get was from the libs (about a different issue). All appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, this should be a very appealing book to conservatives.


message 9: by Diane (new)

Diane Baker | 75 comments Tivs generally are more tolerant than libs. (Don't like to call what we are "cons," do you?)


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
I've seen some folks use an abbreviation ConLib to designate our "movement" as Conservative + Libertarian, but there are obvious problems with that :)

The reason conservatives- as a rule- are more tolerant is because they disagree with ideas and/or behaviors, while liberals tend to focus on attacking the person espousing the idea or engaged in the behavior.


message 11: by Les (new) - rated it 3 stars

Les | 11 comments I assumed Luce wasn't a monster so when he called himself one, I became very interested in reading how that came about. Mention of the Good Men also had me wondering what the relationship was between them and the Good Men in the title of the book. Some irony perhaps?


message 12: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol Kean | 8 comments I love this novel! Opening page is fantastic. Luce is a bad boy with a conscience - intriguing! Lots of cool plot twists. See my review in May 2014 Perihelion Science Fiction ezine. I'll ask Sam for a permalink. This one may expire soon: www.perihelionsf.com/1405/reviews.htm


message 13: by Marina (last edited Aug 05, 2014 08:24AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
That's a spoiler review that was great for me to read after I finished.

Carol, you need your own thread here in Self-Promo section. Lots of scifi fans here who'd love to connect to Periheion, I'm sure.


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
On a different note, when Luce says he now has a will to live because he just got new READING MATERIAL, I immediately thought of all my book geek friends :)


message 15: by Diane (new)

Diane Baker | 75 comments I sampled chapters on Amazon, and instantly fell in with Luce's love of reading, admired his competence, his psychological strength even after fourteen years in a prison truly more imprisoning than any we have. Clearly above the average man! (Darn. Now I have to get the book.)


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
I bought the book even after already making my library buy it for me first because I can totally see re-reading it at some point (and because the paperback was like $5- what's there to think about?)


message 17: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol Kean | 8 comments Masha, if my review contained spoilers, I still can't see how. Luce is a monster in more than one sense. He's in prison for murdering his own best friend...but what were the extenuating circumstances? He breaks out on page one (no spoiler there) and goes home again (again, that's right on the cover blurb, right?). His family has some deep, dark secrets. He comes from a mysterious blood line. Have I already said too much?


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
In fairness, Sarah A. Hoyt has given some stuff out on her own blog, so I guess it's inevitable. Between that and reading Thieves first, I found some of the emotional impact could have been greater coming into the book completely cold. Mind you, not that I needed more emotional impact. I was literally reaching for tissues one second and laughing uncontrollably the next.

Which reminds me: probably not the best book to read in public :)


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
So where's everyone in the book at this point? Any favorite moments/quotes so far?

"Ghosts have absolutely no sense of reality. Probably comes from not existing."

I love the way the humor in this book pops up in the strangest places.


message 20: by Les (new) - rated it 3 stars

Les | 11 comments I just finished the Like A Thief In The Night chapter. A nice development in the plot there.


message 21: by Les (new) - rated it 3 stars

Les | 11 comments Correction to that. I took too quick a look at my Kindle. I just finished Running Away.


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Ah. Now you're coming up on some Big Reveals that are so much more effective without knowing the backstory. (Although I found it pretty amusing that Luce at first glance thought Nat Remy to be just a terrified clerk.)


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Sometimes the author just has SUCH a way with words:

(From Clothe Him in Silk… chapter)

"If it were possible for a man to stare in bewilderment at his own mouth, he'd have done so."

Actually that whole scene is marvelous. So many conflicting emotions in both characters at their first encounter.


message 24: by Les (new) - rated it 3 stars

Les | 11 comments This quote from the chapter Familiar Strangers

“You couldn’t have known. How could you have imagined? And he made a bad job of explaining. Would you have done the same if you knew? No. Then you’re not a monster. You made a mistake. We all make mistakes. Sometimes big ones.” He made a face. “The fallibility of human beings is part of my religion, so please stop beating your chest. You’re only human."

Reminds me Ayn Rand writing about errors of knowledge.

Learn to distinguish the difference between errors of knowledge and breaches of morality. An error of knowledge is not a moral flaw, provided you are willing to correct it; only a mystic would judge human beings by the standard of an impossible, automatic omniscience. But a breach of morality is the conscious choice of an action you know to be evil, or a willful evasion of knowledge, a suspension of sight and of thought. That which you do not know, is not a moral charge against you; but that which you refuse to know, is an account of infamy growing in your soul. Make every allowance for errors of knowledge; do not forgive or accept any breach of morality.

(From For The New Intellectual)


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Ha! Excellent connection, although Rand hated the expression "You're only human" and the idea of human fallibility with a passion. In this case, though, the point is very similar.


message 26: by Les (new) - rated it 3 stars

Les | 11 comments Not that she hated human fallibility. She recognized humans are fallible. What I think she hated was using that and "You're only human" as the excuse for not having done what one was supposed to have when one had the knowledge necessary to make the right decision. In fact, I think Atlas Shrugged can be said to be based on the fallibility of its main characters.

Luce is being forced to act when he doesn't know what's going on and knows he doesn't know. Yet, it would be worse if he did nothing so he chooses the best course he can. He doesn't act for the sake of acting either, but acts with a goal in mind. And he learns. And he adapts.


Kirsten Mortensen (kirsten_mortensen) | 30 comments Hey guys, found the thread! Amazing what happens when you look past the main page of the group site O_o

Looks like I'm pretty much at the same point as everyone here -- next chapter up is Thief in the Night, so I just got through the "reveal" chapter.

I'm enjoying it VERY much. The pacing is fantastic.

Masha, I hadn't read any other books in the series and it was a blast experiencing Luce's bafflement as he tried to piece together what's happening.

I love the use of a 14-year imprisonment as a way to force a rather spoiled "princeling" to mature. Yeah, that would do it :)


message 28: by Marina (last edited Aug 13, 2014 05:37PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
YAY, thanks for joining the discussion! 14-year imprisonment is also a great way to give the author a reason to explain everything from prior books without it feeling like an infodump. (Hey, Microsoft, infodump is totally a word!)

Of course with me KNOWING the backstory, I spent a chunk of the beginning yelling at the character, "NO, you moron! DON'T do that!" and then remembering he doesn't know.

I didn't get the vibe that he was ever a spoiled princeling. He is however very self-critical, including in this.


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
My 16 YO son just started reading it :)


Kirsten Mortensen (kirsten_mortensen) | 30 comments Yeah, the spoiled princeling thing is maybe a little stretch? But he calls himself a princeling, and I have this image of him, young, running around with the broomer gang but not being a "real" renegade, maybe being more protected by his family's status than he even realized at the time....


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Interesting. I never thought of it that way. I got more of how lonely he was as a youngster- aloof parents, a servant as a surrogate father, having to seek thrills on the outside, very few real friends… On the surface, I suppose, he lived in comfort and wealth, but never seemed to enjoy it.


message 32: by Les (new) - rated it 3 stars

Les | 11 comments It may be two different stages of his life. HIs loneliness and isolation from other children was before he met Ben. Then after, he seems to have gotten broken out of that isolation to some degree. This was a discordant note to me since when they met, both he and Ben were avoiding other children so I thought each was isolated in his own way and not willing to make friends. Yet, they changed and became friendly with enough people to form a groomer gang. The problem is we didn't see that change so it's like two separate parts.


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Yes, there is a big period missing in there. Good and bad part about first person narration- you only get to know what's relevant to the MC at the time.

One thing I was wondering, at some point Luce mentions "lovers". Plural. What lovers? When? Was that an error that slipped by the editor? That's SO out of sync with pretty much everything else in the story.


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
So, where's everyone now? Anybody has needed tissues yet (it's OK, we won't tell!) The first time I seriously teared up was at the "4 ft giraffe" moment.

Also, any thoughts on the religion idea? Apparently that turned out to be the most controversial aspect of the book rather than the… other thing.


Kirsten Mortensen (kirsten_mortensen) | 30 comments I'm here! Went out of town so was distracted for a few days :)

Posting tonight because this totally cracked me up. It's the scene where Nat is working to bring Luce into the Sons of Liberty, and he lists some of the other organizations the SoL might be able to count on for support:

"There's the Sans Culottes, Guy Fawkes' Legion, Monster Hunter International, the Boys from Ipirange, the Incarnate Legion and, oh, another dozen or so."

Monster Hunter International? LOL

Sans Culottes??? LOLOL


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Can you say "Crossover"?

What's PUFF on an evil Good Man?

Sans Culottes is a great gag, being that Luce only has a vague idea of the historical meaning, but he does know the literal translation :)


Kirsten Mortensen (kirsten_mortensen) | 30 comments LOL


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
From When the Strum Breaks-

"…we are not, as humans, only what we do, but also what we dream ourselves. A free society can't exist without humans imagining themselves as ideal creatures better than they are."

One of the reasons I think this is a profoundly conservative book in spite of all the quirkiness.


message 39: by Les (new) - rated it 3 stars

Les | 11 comments I've finished. A nice read. I'm still thinking over Luce and Nat. It was built up nicely, but may have been muted because my personal inclinations aren't the same.


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
I thought the relationship had just the right tone for the characters. I wanted more, but in the end it felt very satisfying.


Kirsten Mortensen (kirsten_mortensen) | 30 comments Finished last night!

I agree with Masha's comment. The relationship was framed as sweet and emotional, rather than sexual, which was nice -- a romance-y element but not laid on too thick so that readers of any inclination can relate. IMO.

It was a very enjoyable read. Sarah's a terrific plotter.

The political philosophy aspects of it made me think of Ayn Rand. Sarah's a better novelist by far of course. But you can't escape the fact that she has a very strong point of view as a political thinker, and the lines she draws to demarcate the good and bad guys are about as black and white as they could be.


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Luce definitely makes an awesome "big R" Romantic hero, if not precisely of the Randian type.

One huge thing that separates Sarah from Rand and many other politically inclined writers is the humor. Especially humor at the most inappropriate times. It's very true to life, actually.


Kirsten Mortensen (kirsten_mortensen) | 30 comments Agreed! And the heart, for that matter.


Greyweather | 308 comments I just got started yesterday, having finally wrapped up Darkship Renegades. I liked Renegades better than Thieves but I'm already liking A Few Good Men better than either.

The first thing I notice is that having read Renegades first hasn't really impacted my experience. A Few Good Men starts with events that pre-date Renegades so I feel comfortable saying that nobody will really miss out if they go straight from Darkship Thieves to this book.

Luce might be Hoyt's most straight-up likable character yet.


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
YAY, another participant :)

I liked Thieves, but by the time Thena came to Earth, I wanted her to stay there because I fell in love with the broomers.

My theory is that coming into this particular book cold may actually be better, but of course there's no way to experience both and compare.

Can't wait to see what you think!


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Since Rand was brought up, and considering the way the book starts off, this came to mind.

"To illustrate this on the altruists’ favorite example: the issue of saving a drowning person. If the person to be saved is a stranger, it is morally proper to save him only when the danger to one’s own life is minimal; when the danger is great, it would be immoral to attempt it: only a lack of self-esteem could permit one to value one’s life no higher than that of any random stranger."

Definitely not a proper Randian hero, then. Yes, he's got motivations to save people, but I don't think Rand would approve :).


Kirsten Mortensen (kirsten_mortensen) | 30 comments Sadly, I'm not well-versed enough in Rand to carry on much of a conversation in that direction...I read all of her novels when I was a teenager, and was intoxicated by them, but haven't re-read them as an adult, nor have I been able to approach her work as a fully realized political/social philosophy.

From reading scraps and bits about her here and there as an adult, I have come to the tentative conclusion that she was a bit of an oddball, and not a very nice person :)

And I saw the movie Atlas Shrugged Part 1 and was so sorry that it came across as so blatantly didactic ... I wish I could have written the script!


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Nathaniel Branden's memoir is very cool to read, if you are curious about Rand as a person. (Obviously, he was way too close- literally- to be objective, but it's still interesting).

Anyway, that was just a stray thought. I do that sometimes. Some books kind of keep rolling around in your head and make weird connections. This is very definitely one of them.


message 49: by Marina (last edited Aug 31, 2014 11:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
Apparently Damien Walter, the perpetual fiskee of Larry Correia and an all-around tool, had a demented rant against Baen in his column. Then he went on Twitter and used a cover of A Few Good Men as an example of Baen's shameless right-wingery appeal.

Of all the books to pick on...


Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 1445 comments Mod
So is anyone still reading? Any comments to share? Just curious to see more impressions from the folks here. Everyone seems to pick up on different stuff, esp. in a book this packed with ideas.


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