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Fire with Fire (Caine Riordan Book 1)

Fire with Fire (Caine Riordan Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Charles Gannon
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

2105, September: Intelligence Analyst Caine Riordan uncovers a conspiracy on Earth's Moon—a history-making clandestine project—and ends up involuntarily cryocelled for his troubles. Twelve years later, Riordan awakens to a changed world. Humanity has achieved faster-than-light travel and is pioneering nearby star systems. And now, Riordan is compelled to become an inadvertent agent of conspiracy himself. Riordan's mission: travel to a newly settled world and investigate whether a primitive local species was once sentient—enough so to have built a lost civilization.

However, arriving on site in the Delta Pavonis system, Caine discovers that the job he's been given is anything but secret or safe. With assassins and saboteurs dogging his every step, it's clear that someone doesn't want his mission to succeed. In the end, it takes the keen insights of an intelligence analyst and a matching instinct for intrigue to ferret out the truth: that humanity is neither alone in the cosmos nor safe. Earth is revealed to be the lynchpin planet in an impending struggle for interstellar dominance, a struggle into which it is being irresistibly dragged. Discovering new dangers at every turn, Riordan must now convince the powers-that-be that the only way for humanity to survive as a free species is to face the perils directly—and to fight fire with fire.

At the publisher's request, this title is sold without DRM (DRM Rights Management).

About the Author

Charles E. Gannon is a breakthrough rising star in science fiction with a multiple short story and novella publications in Baen anthologies, "Man-Kzin Wars XIII," "Analog," and elsewhere. Gannon is coauthor with Steve White of "Extremis," the latest entry in the legendary Starfire series created by David Weber. His most recent novel is "1635: The Papal Stakes" cowritten with alternate history master, Eric Flint. A multiple Fulbright scholar, Gannon is Distinguished Professor of American Literature at St. Bonaventure University. ""

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 731 KB
  • Print Length: 490 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Baen Books (15 Mar 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #252,137 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I originally picked up this book because it was nominated for a Nebula award, not having previously read anything by the author - or so I thought. I really enjoyed this book (so much so, that I read and finished it in one sitting into the wee hours), and I wrote a brief, positive review of it afterward.

Then I checked out the author's information - and discovered, to my pleasure, that I actually *had* previously read something by him: the short story "By The Book", in the anthology Beginnings: Worlds of Honor 6 from the Honor Harrington universe (the story also happens to be available in the Baen Free Library; link easily found on This discovery really delighted me, because "By The Book" had made such a huge impression on me when I read it that it was probably the single Honorverse short story that stood out in my mind above all ~26 others.

So... I've just done a re-read of "Fire With Fire" - this time, taking a little more time to pay attention to the setup and structure of the plot, rather than just zooming through it due to sheer enjoyment, as I had the first time.

"Fire With Fire" is a really interesting hybrid of space opera and political intrigue (as is "By The Book"). If I were to write a cover blurb for FWF, it would be "Intellectual 007 in Space". There is plenty of substance here for both fans of SF action-adventure and those who enjoy thoughtful examinations of cultural and political events and their implications.

One of the things I liked best about this novel was its lack of predictability (I am one of those annoying people who always has the twist and the ending figured out 20 minutes into a movie or 100 pages into a book).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Action, Intrigue and Suspense 3 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Set in the near future, (the existing nations are now members of competing blocs), and just as Humanity reaches out to the stars - where we find that we are not alone and that we are surrounded by competing alien species. Life is about to become dangerous.

The book reads easily and at a good pace and is clearly setting the scene for the volume(s) to follow. I'm looking forward to the sequel(s) which I will buy when they become available.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  76 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heck of a start 24 Mar 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I got Fire with Fire via Kindle, started today and finished today. Wow. Heck of a start Chuck, I'm very pleased with it. Never lets up, never even really slows down. Full throttle thriller and, here's a bit of a shock. The characters are good, complex, devious, real. I learned from Piper, Heinlein, Campbell, the good guy is supposed to be good. I loath the whinny, self doubting anti-hero that so many authors dish up. You won't find that here, the Hero is a good guy and competent, the major players are good at their job, even when they hate their job. The bad guys are realistic. This opens up a vast area for sequels and additional stories in this universe. I look forward to the next installment. Very much worth the purchase price.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! 16 April 2013
By Cralis - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is not often that an author can write a science fiction book without pages upon pages of futuristic combat and keep the story interesting. Charles Gannon does it with style. Several times through-out the book he has diplomatic events that are intense and end with a revelation that feels like the author dropped a bomb on what you THOUGHT you knew. It was very nice to read a story that I couldn't predict how it would end.

Peppered with the occasional attempt at assassination and a shadowy opponent... the more you read, the more you want to read. At each major intersection in the story the unexpected happens... right up to the last pages. The story is clearly open for sequels and I will be eagerly waiting for the next book in the series.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Diplomatic Skulduggery 27 May 2013
By H. Ray Spitz - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I enjoyed the book. The theme was a first contact between star-faring humans and an even more advanced amalgamation of aliens, er, exosapients. There was also a bit of ancient astronaut tossed in.
The main character, Caine Riordan, seems to be some remarkable sort of diplomat crossed with Sherlock Holmes; he is able to draw amazing conclusions with limited data and has remarkable self-defense skills (he beat a power-armored assassin with knife...) and yet able to deal correctly with just about anybody, no matter the circumstances. It is a good thing Riordan never went into sales; he'd own the entire Earth.
I though the use of "cold sleep" as a way to keep inconvenient, but innocent, or potentially useful, individuals silent without actually killing them was pretty inventive.
It also seemed to end in a bit of a rush; a catastrophic diplomatic outcome, Riordan discovering his long-lost true love, while sleeping with his bodyguard (a Warrior Princess) type, and the necessity of preparing the Earth and her colonies for the consequences of that diplomatic cataclysm. It is pretty obvious that the Fire will be back around. I will pick it up.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deceptively Simple, Yet Insidiously Deep 25 Feb 2014
By Walt Boyes - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Chuck Gannon's Nebula Award nominated Fire with Fire is, as Churchill famously said of the Soviet Union, "is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma..."

It starts conventionally enough, with a reporter, Caine Riordan, finding out something he shouldna oughta. The problem is, he can't remember what it is...and he wakes up years later out of cold sleep.

Riordan is a canny man, like the character of Odysseus in Homer. As he moves through the story, he begins to see things other people can't, and puts facts together like a mentat.

The deeper you get into the novel, the less it resembles a typical space opera pot boiler, and it becomes a look at humans as they relate to themselves and others.

I really like this book, and I will like the sequel.

This is a kind of science fiction that I thought we had abandoned. There are serious themes here, but the tone is upbeat, the writing is entertaining, and the sociology and science are never used as bludgeons to make Gannon's points.

This book may change the way other science fiction writers write.
39 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two Words 21 April 2013
By Kate Coombs - Published on
Marty Stu.* That's main character Caine Riordan, who knows more than just about anyone else in the book about everything, anticipates most events before they happen, turns into a leader even to people he's not remotely qualified to lead, and can evade assassination by well-trained experts with his MacGyvering abilities. When anything goes wrong in FIRE WITH FIRE, everyone turns and looks hopefully at Riordan. Here are just a couple of examples of the admiration he elicits from people he has just met:

"Mr. Riordan, you have much skill at the diplomatic table for one so young and so unaccustomed to it. But I saw your eyes when I offered my closing comments. You understand. You know." [President of the Asian bloc]

"You ask direct questions and are not afraid of direct answers: you are good to have with us, Major...." [Ambassador Vissser]

"My entire delegation notes your deductive--inventiveness--with interest, Caine Riordan." [Alien ambassador]

And then there are the women. Most notably, this author gives us a tough female military officer in the form of Captain Opal Patrone and then proceeds to have her blush, giggle girlishly, and primp in the presence of men like, well, Caine Riordan. Later she falls apart when faced with a new kind of space travel and must be comforted by Riordan. And we get the female ambassador who hesitates when required to go through a doorway to meet some unknown beings, so Caine helps her out by going first. This "little lady" trope seems out of place in a contemporary sci-fi offering.

On the plus side, the plot is excellent. But I hope Gannon makes his next hero a little more flawed and his next heroine a little more real. If he leaves the tropes behind, his storytelling will shine the way it deserves to.

*A Marty Stu is the male version of a Mary Sue, a main character (usually in sci-fi/fantasy) who has more power than anyone else, can solve any problem, and is personally if not sexually attractive to most of the other characters.
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