Fires of Freedom Author:Jerry Pournelle The struggle for independence on two colony worldsMars in the not-so-distant future, and a distant world circling another star in the far future, both threatened by powerful forces and faceless bureaucrats. Birth of Fire: A teenage delinquent on a crowded, corrupt Earth, Garrett was given a choice: rot in prison on Eart... more »h, or be deported to Mars to work in the colony there. But on Mars he would find an inner strength that he had never known before, and when Mars revolted against the multinational corporations that controlled the colonist's lives, Garrett was on the front lines in the battle for planetary freedom. King David's Spaceship: Set in the same universe as the New York Times best seller, The Mote in God's Eye. A new Empire has arisen and is annexing Earth's surviving colony worlds. Haven had fallen back to a nineteenth century level of technology, and the basic requirement for a colony world to be admitted to the Empire as a full-fledged member with the right of self-government is that the colony have space travel. Unless Haven can somehow develop a spaceship, and quickly, the planet will be ruled by Imperial agents and the inhabitants will be little more than medieval serfs. Two complete novels in one volume by New York Times best-selling author Jerry Pournelle, telling of the eternal struggle of freedom against tyranny throughout the galaxy.« less
This book is a compilation of two of Pournelle's novels, both around the idea of the struggle for freedom against the seemingly overwhelming power of a much larger opponent. The first, shorter story is about the fight between the independent settlers of Mars against the stranglehold of the corporations. The second is set much further in the future when the human empire is re-exerting its power over lost colonies. One colony is determined not to be classified as primitive to avoid colonization and undertakes a secret mission to acquire spaceflight.
While the concepts are familiar, the solutions that Pournelle's characters come up with are unique and interesting. The first story was written in the mid-1970s when the first human missions were landing on Mars so some of the science is a little outdated concerning the environment on Mars but nothing so major as to be a huge distraction. Both stories have a brisk plot with little extra fluff or long blocks of exposition, preaching or moralizing, even though the second touches on the subject of religion. All in all, both stories were enjoyable.