Live Free or Die by John Ringo (Troy Rising 1) Review

This is the first book in a new series called Troy Rising. It is an alien invasion Space Opera with an unlikely hero.

First Contact Was Friendly

When aliens trundled a gate to other worlds into the solar system, the world reacted with awe, hope and fear. But the first aliens to come through, the Glatun, were peaceful traders and the world breathed a sigh of relief.

Who Controls the Orbitals, Controls the World

When the Horvath came through, they announced their ownership by dropping rocks on three cities and gutting them. Since then, they’ve held Terra as their own personal fiefdom. With their control of the orbitals, there’s no way to win and earth’s governments have accepted the status quo.

Live Free or Die.

To free the world from the grip of the Horvath is going to take an unlikely hero. A hero unwilling to back down to alien or human governments, unwilling to live in slavery and with enough hubris, if not stature, to think he can win. Fortunately, there’s Tyler Vernon. And he has bigger plans than just getting rid of the Horvath.

Troy Rising is a book in three parts—Live Free of Die being the first part—detailing the freeing of earth from alien conquerors, the first steps into space using off-world technologies and the creation of Troy, a thousand trillion ton battlestation designed to secure the solar system.

I had great expectation when I unwrapped the parcel from Amazon as I have enjoyed the Posleen/Aldenata universe series by John as well as the Prince Roger series he wrote together with David Weber. The Prince Roger series have been re-read many times. So I went in expecting a new great series to look forwards to. And I wasn’t disappointed.

The hardback has an appropriate  cover art by Kurt Miller. The printed cover is significantly darker than the original picture which unfortunately hides details.


Troy Rising takes place in Howard Tayler’s Schlock Mercenary’s Universe (please check it out)  a couple of thousand years before the comic. It’s all done with consent, but the author calls it a rip-off.

The cartoons are quite funny and they portrays aliens and humans quite alike with the same kind of motivations and life, for good and bad. But it works for me, both there and in the book.


The book is divided into three parts The Marple Syrup War, SAPL and Troy Rising.

The Marple Surup War is about how a cunning man – our protagonist Tyler Vernon who I am sure have no semblance to Howard Tayler (being a cartoonist who likes sf), in the best tradition of country folks everywhere, figure out what to trade with the Glatun and get them invested in Earth, at least for the Marple Syrup.

It starts out with first contact, which is done by phone in an amusing sort of way.

Alien trade and technology disrupt the global economy and many it professionals become redundant. Tyler Vernon has an it background but he has to make do with small jobs, cutting wood, working extra in shops and selling a few illustrations from his time as a cartoonist at scifi conventions. It is at a convention he meets his first alien.

SAPL is when the Horvath strike back at Earth and the story takes a few wierds twists. The Blond twist is a bit over the top in my opinion so is the heat thing. Tyler Vernon’s visit to an alien world as the first human and get a brain implant in an interesting episode.

Troy Rising kicks off the human’s first magnificant steps of self defence. Tyler thinks big, a thousand trillion ton big battlestation big. It’s Big. I think you get it, it’s Big.


I find myself thinking a lot of cunning country folks when reading this book. It tries to stay down to earth and as matter of fact even when heading out into Space Opera. I like it.


The most real person in this book is the main character Tyler Vernon. The characters are all a bit sketchy without much depth. Character growth is there to some extent, but Tyler Vernon is bigger than life, a renaissance man who handles alien cultures, governments and science with the same easy flair. This is to be expected in Space Opera.

World building

The world building is still a bit sketchy, but we get to know more and more of the world as the story unravels. As I said before, aliens and humans are quite alike and have more or less the same kind of motivations in this universe.

The world view is a bit politically slanted as often in John’s books, but it doesn’t make the book less enjoyable.

My view

Live Free or Die is an amusing Space Opera with a bit sketchy characters and world building but quite enjoyable. I would recommend it  to readers of military science fiction with a sense of humor. I will definitely buy the rest of the series as soon as it is available.