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3.8 out of 5 stars
14
3.8 out of 5 stars
Fire With Fire
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Change


on 23 January 2017
A hundred years in the future, Caine Riordan is snooping around, thinking he has discovered a conspiracy on the Moon. Secret governmental forces stick him in suspended animation for twelve years. When he is awoken, he has lost a hundred hours of his memory, and doesn't know who to trust, and who not to trust. But he signs up to work for the very people who put him into deep freeze, and before you can say - Really? - Caine is actively engaged in a mission to, er, expose a conspiracy...

This is a science fiction story with a lot of challenges, most of which it fails. The central character - think a combination of James Bond, G.I. Joe, and Henry Kissinger (!) - is just about credible, even if his motivations often seem suspect. The rest of the characters are paper thin, not even rising to the level of cardboard cutouts.

There is a decent amount of action, and these scenes are the best.

There is a lot of description of aliens and technology, most of which is pretty damn good.

However, there is also a lot of diplomacy. Or, to put it another way, talking. But this dialogue is often overlong, and boring. It may well be vital to the future of humanity, but it sure didn't sound like it.

There is also a serpentine plot, reasonably well constructed, but struggling to maintain reader interest because of the turgid dialogue.

This book needed an editor with a big red pen (and lots of red ink) to mark up what seemed like a first draft, and pass it back to the author for another attempt.

Apart from the action scenes, it was dull as dull gets, and then some. Avoid at all costs.
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on 29 June 2017
This book is gripping, breathtaking, and I couldn't put it down. In fact, the reason I didn't give it five stars is because there is so much packed into this book that I felt it would be better split into two or even three books. The adventures, though concerning the same people, seemed to be quite separate. Maybe this would have been better as a serial, which is becoming popular. But the story telling is excellent, the characters well drawn, and the situations believable. Recommended.
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on 30 April 2017
I got a real 'Star Wars prequels' feeling reading this book. I'm not just talking about the seemingly endless, dull diplomacy scenes and awful, stilted dialogue; but the way that some really good stuff is smothered by a ton of dull, boring, and often downright stupid stuff. It's like the (usually top-notch) Baen editorial staff suddenly completely lost the ability to say the words 'Chuck, this just isn't working'. Because it really, really doesn't work.
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on 11 March 2017
Great Stuff
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on 19 June 2017
A very good read. Not an easy book to put down. A book to appeal to both genders and all age groups. Thanks.
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on 3 April 2013
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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on 6 May 2014
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 freesfonline.de). 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). As the story progresses, the author continues to add new characters and dimensions to the plot - which keeps going off in unexpected directions.

The main character has been revived after being forcibly put into cold sleep 13 years before. His memory is missing from the 4 days immediately prior to being put "on ice", and he knows only that he was taken out of circulation because he stumbled upon some dangerous secret information.

In the first section of the book, he is reluctantly conscripted into an exploratory mission to investigate rumours of the first sapient alien species humankind has encountered - on a distant world which has been settled by humans, many of whom are employees of an unscrupulous corporation which will do anything to eliminate obstacles to its planetary expansion and its profit.

In the next part of the book, he is again convinced against his better judgment to assist the shadowy organisation which cryofroze and revived him. After escaping repeated assassination attempts, he journeys to Mars - where he is once again drafted, this time into serving as ambassador to an association of sentient alien races who have finally deemed humans sufficiently advanced technologically to be approached for membership. But the conclave to consider humans' entry into this interstellar league is fraught with its own political machinations and physical dangers.

The author is beautifully-adept at describing detail, and he has created a multi-dimensional world with a lot of possibility for plot exploration. The main detraction I can make about this book is that I would like to see it delve a little deeper into the characters' thoughts and motivations - especially those of the females, who mainly play supporting roles in this first volume of the series.

There are a number of questions left unanswered in this novel, as a setup for the next - but I still thought it made a great adventure as a standalone book. I am eagerly looking forward to the next installment, Trial by Fire, and a further exploration of the rich characters and universe introduced in this one.
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on 6 May 2014
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 freesfonline.de). 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). As the story progresses, the author continues to add new characters and dimensions to the plot - which keeps going off in unexpected directions.

The main character has been revived after being forcibly put into cold sleep 13 years before. His memory is missing from the 4 days immediately prior to being put "on ice", and he knows only that he was taken out of circulation because he stumbled upon some dangerous secret information.

In the first section of the book, he is reluctantly conscripted into an exploratory mission to investigate rumours of the first sapient alien species humankind has encountered - on a distant world which has been settled by humans, many of whom are employees of an unscrupulous corporation which will do anything to eliminate obstacles to its planetary expansion and its profit.

In the next part of the book, he is again convinced against his better judgment to assist the shadowy organisation which cryofroze and revived him. After escaping repeated assassination attempts, he journeys to Mars - where he is once again drafted, this time into serving as ambassador to an association of sentient alien races who have finally deemed humans sufficiently advanced technologically to be approached for membership. But the conclave to consider humans' entry into this interstellar league is fraught with its own political machinations and physical dangers.

The author is beautifully-adept at describing detail, and he has created a multi-dimensional world with a lot of possibility for plot exploration. The main detraction I can make about this book is that I would like to see it delve a little deeper into the characters' thoughts and motivations - especially those of the females, who mainly play supporting roles in this first volume of the series.

There are a number of questions left unanswered in this novel, as a setup for the next - but I still thought it made a great adventure as a standalone book. I am eagerly looking forward to the next installment, Trial by Fire, and a further exploration of the rich characters and universe introduced in this one.
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on 2 March 2016
I found this passionless and unemotional. The sentences were boring and felt poorly constructed. There was no het-up-and-go. On top of that there were some inconsistencies which came close enough together to jar. For example a named character picks up a folder, and then a few paragraphs later the protagonist has not yet been introduced the character just named.
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on 16 July 2015
Good storyline set on a huge interstellar stage. Characters are believable and there are enough loose ends to want to read the next instalment.
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