"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.