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Better to Beg Forgiveness (Freehold Series) [Mass Market Paperback]

Michael Z Williamson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 6.50
Price: 5.68 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

24 Feb 2009 Freehold Series
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. Something had to be done, because a working nation isn't much use for pork and graft. When the word comes down that he is dead, the politicians move on with a new plan, re-allocating resources, and finding a new, more pliable president to put in place. There are three problems with this solution. Bishwanath is not dead. His mercenary bodyguards are more loyal than the politicians. And if they're not on contract, there are no rules.

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Better to Beg Forgiveness (Freehold Series) + The Weapon (Freehold Series) + Do Unto Others (Freehold Series)
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Baen Books (24 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416591516
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416591511
  • Product Dimensions: 3.5 x 10.5 x 16.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 543,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Michael Z. Williamson was born in Birkenhead, England and raised in Liverpool, and Toronto, Canada, before moving to Columbus, Ohio. An 18-year veteran of the US Army and US Air Force, he is a state-ranked competitive shooter in combat rifle and combat pistol. His other books include "Freehold" (Baen), the Target Terror series for Harper-Collins, so far including "Targets of Opportunity" and "The Scope of Justice," and "Hero," a collaboration with "New York Times" best-selling author John Ringo for Baen. He currently lives in Indianapolis with his wife Gail, their two children, and various cats that are not to be trusted.

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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better to read 19 Nov 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The 3nd of Mr Willamsons Sci Fi books to share the same universe is more of the same excellent charahters and plot and well relised and describe action. The struggles of a decent man to build country out of chaos aidded by his loyal close protection team and the intersteller chase is excellent. This fleshes out the universe described in freehold and the wepeon.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  29 reviews
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars biff-bam-boom, without the duh..... 23 Oct 2007
By Mackey Chandler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Mad Mike tells a fast paced good story that entertains without using the cardboard cut-out characters so common in action stories. No firm jawed jocks, the team members here have issues, scratch when they itch and even worry each other from time to time. The projection of what we see in the UN as a swill pit of special interests is dead on sad to say. The fact the good guys are mercenaries says a lot about how bad the bad guys can be. I mean mercenary usually has such a negative connotation, right? Don't be scared to buy it. A good vacation book, but if you read it midweek you may be yawning a lot at work one day. You won't want to lay it aside to finish.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Forsyth's "The Dogs of War", with spaceships. 11 April 2009
By Oakree Kuchenbacker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Better to Beg Forgiveness" isn't a bad book, but with a few minor changes it could have been released as a conventional action-adventure story back in the 60's.

Tell me if this sounds familiar: a small team of crack mercenaries is hired to protect the UN-backed puppet president of a poor African nation wracked by tribal warfare. Every level of the government, from township mayors right up to the UN representatives, is filled with corrupt, opportunistic politicians more concerned with their own agendas than creating a functioning nation. The tight-knit, upright members of the mercenary team do their best to protect their assigned subject, but they're experts in tactical warfare, not the political kind. So they're forced to rely on their wits and their guns when things fall apart and their very much alive client is declared dead by the powers that be.

That's pretty much the set-up for "Better to Beg Forgiveness", but with a poor, African-settled colony world standing in for the generic African nation that would have been used in the 60's. Oh, and instead of having to spirit the President across the Atlantic to New York City the mercs have to spirit him across the galaxy. On a tramp freighter. With a plucky crew that grudgingly comes to respect the heavily armed professional killers that have hijacked their ship.

Yeah, I'm being snarky, but the overall plot of the book really is that generic.

On the other hand, Mr. Williamson is obviously well acquainted with the ins and outs of executive protection and has embraced the adage to write what you know. His depictions of small scale fights and running gun battles are extremely entertaining and well-written. That's a good thing, since about half the book consists of fight scenes, but after a while the small unit actions started to blur together. Things zip along so quickly that it's impossible for even the most ADD afflicted reader to get bored, but I was left wishing the author had given both the characters and me a bit more downtime.

If you like military fiction with an emphasis on non-stop action you're going to love this book, but if you're looking for a fix of sci-fi I think you're going to be disappointed. The science-fictional concepts and worldbuilding are just a thin veneer over a story that concentrates on delivering a "non-stop thrill ride". In that respect it delivers in spades.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better To Beg Forgiveness 26 Oct 2007
By Steel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A well written, fast paced book. Extrapolates what happens when the UN gets involved in space. If it can be screwed up, get the UN involved with lots of money confiscated from people who don't have a choice. Mix in the greed and corruption the UN is famous for now, and you have something Mr. Williamson describes in this book.

Excellent detail on the problems encountered by protection details that care about their principal and doing the job well. It also does a good job describing the friction involved when operating with the military. Good soldiers are not always good bodyguards. They can do the job, but never as good as people who do it for a living. They're also subject to mutiple task masters. When one of the task masters is the UN, it can tear a military unit up with conflicting priorities/orders.

Mr. Williamson also takes into account the fatigue factor that many characters don't seem to have in other books. Food and rest have a large impact on performance. Mr. Williamson gets it.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Halfway between now and Freehold..., 23 Oct 2007
By Dexter aka 3FgBurner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
... New Caledon is a mess. This book is set around 250 years from now. The setting for MadMike's first couple of books, Grainne, is still Grainne Colony, and not yet the Freehold. The UN is out among the stars, in all its festering putridity. The diplomats and bureaucrats are worthy of Keith Laumer's (Retief!) bitterest mockery. The military forces guarding the mission are encumbered by political correctness, stifling rules of engagement, and "smart" guns. So, who can handle the job of keeping the incoming president alive? Contractors, of course.

When reading MadMike's material, I have a checklist. I expect any of his books to contain certain items, and here I've found them. Food for thought? Check. Humor? Check. A gorgeous lady or two? Check. Explosions? Check. Satire? Check. In-jokes? Tons. Suspense? You got it.

Favorite quote? "Oh -- there's no friendlies left in the palace, then..."

Persons who have had the dubious pleasure of spending part of their lives in various hell-holes around the world, will thoroughly enjoy parts of this book. Specifically, there's lots of noxious people getting shot, and lots of nasty real estate getting blown up. If you liked Freehold and The Weapon, You'll like this one.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Future of Peacekeeping 23 Oct 2007
By Viet Huy Ngo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a pretty awesome action/adventure story and I think Elke in particular is a wicked cool character. No doubt some people are going to draw parallels to the War on Iraq and either love or hate it based on those, but I enjoy the story for itself.
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