Fire with Fire
by Charles E. Gannon
Publisher: Baen Books
series: yes? First book?
I recommend this book. This story makes extensive use of the hero’s acute perception to successfully step through mine fields. It reminds me of Ender’s Game, which I read so long ago that I don’t remember much about it except that I enjoyed it immensely and its on my list of important SF books. It is not quite up to that level, but is an enjoyable read nevertheless.
This is a “First Contact” story. After a successful first contact with a less developed race, Earth is invited to join an interplanetary federation. But first, Earth must be accepted by the various factions of the alliance.
The intriguing technology of the story is “cryosleep”. It is used to kidnap the hero into the future, about 13 years, where he is shanghaied into the initial first contact mission.
The hero in the story is Caine Riordan. He is a writer, investigator, analyst. He is very observant and talented at integrating disparate pieces of information. The story begins with him being apprehended and put out of the way for 13 years. He loses 100 hrs of memory leading up to this event, so when he is reanimated he has no idea what led to his apprehension. On reanimation, he is under the control of an intelligence service and is recruited for a clandestine mission. That mission is to find out what a mega-corporation is up to, that appears to be taking over control of a planetary colony from the governing authorities. It is this mission that leads to the discovery of a sapient life form.
Instead of being released, Riordan’s presence is requested by an interplanetary civilization that is now inviting Earth’s participation, having now crossed a technical and social threshold. The rest of the story describes the negotiations over Earth’s membership in this league of civilizations.
This book appears to be the beginning of a series. While many loose ends are tied up by the end of the book, a new line of conflict is also set up. I look forward to the next volume.
© David B Snyder 2013