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19 Reviews
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A study in pure capitalism vs big government ... with sex!
This certainly is an interesting book.
I won't talk about the plot but this is someways the usual colonial space opera style novel common to many Baen books. As such it's quite an exciting planetside war story. However this story revolves around the lead character's clash between her old UN, corrupt Earth culture and her virtually stateless, capitalist but almost...
Published on 9 July 2004 by neo-tenko

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the £0 cost
Ignore the deceptively dramatic cover; Freehold is just yet another tiresome wordy libertarian zero-tax armed-society sociological treatise, with the necessary suspension of disbelief and pretence about human nature that always entails.

This book should be pitched as fantasy, not science fiction, as there's no rational explanation for the clumsy magical economy...
Published 6 months ago by Colin MacDonald


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A study in pure capitalism vs big government ... with sex!, 9 July 2004
This certainly is an interesting book.
I won't talk about the plot but this is someways the usual colonial space opera style novel common to many Baen books. As such it's quite an exciting planetside war story. However this story revolves around the lead character's clash between her old UN, corrupt Earth culture and her virtually stateless, capitalist but almost utopian new culture.
The study on how a culture based almost entirely on mutual respect and financial compensation could in fact be a good thing is certainly thought provoking as is how big government can lead to a terrifyingly amoral, cynical and none-caring society.
I dont know whether this would work in real life but I did discuss the feasibility of it all over a few pints with my mates (all left-wingers, we were actually quite interested in the politics!).
A worthwhile read.
Ps: Oh and the book spices things up with quite a little bit of sex too, never a bad thing ;)
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stranger in a strange land, 17 Aug. 2004
By A Customer
As I get older, the things I enjoy most in any fiction have altered a little. Yes I still like action, but increasingly I have started to enjoy considering the motivation, the mentality of the characters - rather than simply what they do.
This is a good action story, but what makes this worthy of 5 stars is the way the author places his main Character into semi-unfamiliar territory. So she moves from earth to another planet where the people speak english, but the language isn't used quite the same way (sort of like US v UK English) and the cultural (and sexual!) mores are not the same. Similarly she joins the army of her new planet and experience of this professional body differs from the far more amaturistic military of earth. We keep experiencing with her culture shock, shock made all the greater because it isn't quite unfamiliar territory she finds herself in.
The main character is very well developed and some of the subsiduary characters well put together too (I'd really like to read a story based upon the life of 'Rob' for instance; before during and after the events told in this current story).
To be fair you have to have some interest in 'military SF' to enjoy this book - but the miltary aspects aren't the key to its readability.
Well worth getting!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book, 16 April 2008
By 
Ken Fowler (Leeds uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is one of the best sci-fi books I have bought recently. A planet settled from earth has abandoned all the restrictions of government, (Imagine no income tax, no health and safety laws, no nanny state, no unemployment or health benefits etc), and has developed into a near ideal place to live. This threatens earth with its complete control of its citizens and which cannot allow the example of the new society to succeed as it may forment revolution at home, leading to the inevitable war. Indeed earth cannot understand why the planet will not follow the rules it expects of its own citizens.
The heroine is initially in the earth armed forces and has to emigrate when accused of a crime she did not commit and this story is how she integrates into the new society with its freedoms, and helps fight off the suppression of earth.
I have already read it twice and will no doubt do so again in the future
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the £0 cost, 27 Oct. 2014
By 
Colin MacDonald (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Freehold (Freehold Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Ignore the deceptively dramatic cover; Freehold is just yet another tiresome wordy libertarian zero-tax armed-society sociological treatise, with the necessary suspension of disbelief and pretence about human nature that always entails.

This book should be pitched as fantasy, not science fiction, as there's no rational explanation for the clumsy magical economy that Williamson has dreamed up. Who builds the roads and schools, who pays our spunky heroine's public works salary, what prevents the vibrant free market from being devoured by ruthless Weyland-Yutani megacorps?

I ploughed a fifth of the way in before realising that this wasn't some subtle pastiche, but a straight faced paean to the concept that you just need to add guns to create a crimeless society where the strong cannot prey on the weak. A fine conceit, until the strong bring two guns to your one, and there's no State to fight your corner.

The point where I gave up was where Williamson expounds on the merits of zero-duty, zero-restriction imports. This, his Gary Stu assures us, removes the incentive to smuggle. Yet in the very next paragraph he claims that smuggling still occurs, is actively policed (why? And funded by whom?) and is punished by instant bloody slaughter. Well, which is it?

In its favour, the book is competently written, in that it contains mostly English words arranged in an order that makes sense when read left-to-right and top-to-bottom. It earns a 2 for that, even though I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Even obtained free and gratis, the cost of reading it was too much.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd give this 10 stars if I could!, 23 Jun. 2004
I absolutely loved this book. Our heroine, Kendra, coasts along as a soldier in the United Nations Peace Force when she is falsely accused of embezzlement. With help from a friend, she manages to escape and make her way to the colony world of Grainne where she struggles to adapt to her new life. She works her way up from indentured resident to joining the Freehold's army and I'm not giving anything away by saying there's a war involved. The things I liked about this book were far too numerous to mention but I especially liked Kendra's struggle with a completely different set of values and morals from the ones she's grown up with. I did think she hopped into bed a bit quick considering that background but who cares really. I also enjoyed her first days in army and her culture shock regarding the different training methods. The war was excellently written and the battles were enthralling and yet still gritty. I also liked the fact that she struggled with the differences in her normal earth-type upbringing and the person she changed into because of the war even at the end of the book. The thing that worries me is that I see our world heading the way of the UN and I don't like the view at all! All in all, a gripping book and I already have his others on my wish list and look forward to many more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars it's too good for me to want to do that to you, 31 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Freehold (Freehold Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I'm astounded. An e-book that warrants 5 stars. I haven't read any of the other reviews, so my take on this book isn't clouded by the thoughts of others.

I'm not going to go through the story, it's too good for me to want to do that to you. It's gripping, has excellent narrative, great storyline and depth of character. They aren't two-dimensional characters.

Read it. You won't be sorry.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars sociology and not much action, 28 May 2012
By 
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
So, let us start with the cover. "Earth's most wanted woman" is the splash while the picture is of a female running from burning buildings and being strafed by a couple of jets. Pretty exciting huh? Well, somebody needs to be done under the Trades Description Act.

We start off on Earth, a rather fascist future vision. An female NCO is framed as part of a corruption conspiracy and, fearful of a flawed and oppressive justice system, goes on the run. She ends up in the embassy of Freehold of Grainne, an independent system up outside Earth controlled space. For no particular reason they like her and part sponsor her secretly escaping to Freehold. "Earth's most wanted woman" bit lasts about 30 pages and is more than a bit underwhelming. So she arrives on Freehold and the action really doesn't hot up. She gets a job as a gardener and through her eyes we learn far too much about the utopia that is Freehold. In fact it takes 300 more pages to learn about the society, their views on sex, relationships and `perfect' blend of capitalism and communism. I would try to explain it, but it is so superficial and unrealistic that it is not worth my time or yours. Anyway our "most wanted woman", Kendra, ends up joining the military and we are forced to live through her training programme with her. Astonishingly, about page 350 something happens. Yes I was shocked too, but it dragged me out of the coma I was slipping into. Anyway, fascist Earth (the UN) decide that a perfect utopia like Freehold can't be allowed to exist so they engineer disruption and then actually attack.

This is a very strange book where a naive utopia is forced down our throats like a badly thought out sociology lesson. What felt like it should be a pulp SF actioner, ends up being a completely different animal indeed. And padded to twice the size it needed to be to make badly considered points on society, sociological behaviours and the life story of "Earth's most wanted woman". Actually the writing is okay and par for this kind of thing, but the content is a real mess, Goodness knows what Freud would make of the author's obsession with his obsession on free sexual attitudes. Overall a tedious load of old twaddle, so simplistic at times it is almost laughable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 6 July 2014
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This review is from: Freehold (Freehold Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Good book. Enjoyed it and liked the portrayal of an alternate society. Yes - well worth reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced and fun but wears the authors politics on its sleeve, 2 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Freehold (Freehold Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
The plotting can appear a bit thin but if you stick with it you will be rewarded with a page-turning finale. However, along the way the description of Freedom's society can come across as a rather strange amalgam of right wing politics and libertarianism. As a result whilst I enjoyed the book overall there were substantial chunks of it that left me wondering just what they had to do with the plot.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, 30 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Freehold (Freehold Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Sometimes when you find a nice long book it drags . . . not this one. Just when you are starting to get restless the plot shoots off in a slightly different way making a good read.

A freehold series? will be interesting to see as this is very complete in itself.

Grumbles? Well some might find the political and social commentry a bit too much, but at the end of the day it does give a bit more to ponder about . . . but it is a bit extreme and very much it seems based on the US political system and financial idealology, but it doesn't detract from the story

Would I read more . . . mmm that'll be a yes then
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Freehold (Freehold Series Book 1)
Freehold (Freehold Series Book 1) by Michael Z. Williamson
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