John Ringo’s ‘Troy Rising’ series = WOOT!

This isn’t going to be a review of the books, because I’m totally biased in favor of this series.

What I’ll focus on instead are some of the reasons why I think you should want to read these books if the name John Ringo didn’t already make it a done deal.

What books? Why, Live Free or Die and Citadel, books 1 and 2 of Troy Rising by John Ringo. Didn’t I say?

The reasons I think you should read them.

First, the language in these books is PG. I know, I know, you’re familiar with John Ringo, and he’s pretty well known for having his characters, especially military characters, freely use language best called ‘salty’.

I can assure you, after reading both of the books currently released, he’s used none of the usual salty language, while still retaining that John Ringo action style and quick pace. If that’s something that concerns you, for yourself or your children, then you can rest assured that the language is cool.

When I think of other situations where I’ve felt rough language added to the experience, the Die Hard movies come immediately to mind. I love those movies, and Bruce Willis spouting lines like “Yippee Ki Yay, M&*F&*^” are burned into my enjoyment of them.

I would have said before reading these that if you stripped out the vulgarity in his writing style, something would be lost. 

The truth is quite different. It reminds me of when I was in boot camp back in the day, and the drill instructors weren’t allowed to use actual ‘swear’ words when talking to you.

Did that prevent drill instructors from insulting you or yelling at you with passion and enthusiasm?


On the contrary, they amazed and impressed me with their ability to rip you a new defecation oriface without using any ‘bad words’ at all. It was more as if the limitation inspired them to rise to new heights of inventiveness.

John Ringo doesn’t use any salty language in this series… by the letter, OR by the spirit. He writes the language clean, letting the situations, action and sheer scope of destructive potential get the message across for him. He doesn’t mess around trying to slide one by you. When he wants to be colorful, he does it through solid, inventive writing without using any crude shortcuts, and it was a lot of fun.

Does he ever specify why he did this? Not that I know of, not in the foreward or afterward, but I’m going to hazard a guess and wager that it’s out of respect for the author he was inspired by for this series.

Here we come to the second huge reason for you to read this series. The books of Troy Rising are written by John Ringo, and it’s a story entirely of his own creation, but it was inspired by one of John Ringo’s favorite webcomics of all time, and takes place in that other author’s universe.

Troy Rising takes place in the universe of Schlock Mercenary, created by brilliant science fiction author and artist Howard Taylor.

Oh, have I finally captured your attention? You’ve heard of Schlock Mercenary, have you?

I should hope so.

In the foreward of the first book in the series, Live Free or Die, Howard Taylor makes it pretty clear that while he might not have had this exact story in mind for how Earth entered the politics of the galaxy, it very well could be… and might be retroactively inserted as his new ‘that’s how it always was’ plan.

Are the names of races likethe  Glatun and Horvath familiar to you? Do you not only know who the Gatekeepers are, but understand why having them show up in monkey space was a bad thing?

Have you ever wondered what kind of insane introduction to the universe would motivate the Earth to develop the Battleplate as a weapons platform? A battleplate, for those that are not familiar with Schlock Mercenary, is a spacefaring warship roughly in the shape of an equalateral triangle, if each side of the triangle was about 6 kilometers long. 

Have you ever wondered, if earth uses battleplates to send outside the system, what did we use to protect our own space? And was it even scarier? 

John Ringo not only plays in Howard Taylor’s Schlockverse, but he pays incredible respect to the rules and spirit of the series, does his homework, and then thinks big in the best tradition of the golden age of science fiction. And no matter how crazy it all gets, it still fits.

Have you ever read that someone is going to take something you love, and then go back thousands of years? What’s your first thought?

When I heard that they were taking Star Trek and doing the Enterprise show, my first thought wasn’t excitement about the series.

No, my first thought was, “I already know the limits of technological development in the current universe. If they go back to an earlier point in the storyline, they’re going to have to stay constrained by what was shown to be the limits of tech. Will they be able to handle that and still have great stories?”

Well, if this series had a theme, it would be ‘go big or go home’.

Oh yes, let your mind be settled on that score. John Ringo goes big, in fact I think he took pride in thinking, “Should I do that? No. No, it’s too bloody small. I can go bigger. I can go bigger than anyone ever dreamed. Let’s crank this pig to eleven, and then cube it. And then lets cube THAT.” 

There is one point where enemy aliens ripe on destroying our planet get their first look at what we built for a defense… and one of them goes insane, right there on the bridge of their battleship. Just loses it. Has a fit, has to be put down.

It’s Howard Taylor’s universe with John Ringo’s action and characterization, and a story that is a gigglefest of “Oh, he did not just…”

So, I’ve given you two reason to read.

There are two books out in Troy Rising right now, the first book is “Live Free or Die“, and the second book is called “Citadel“. The third book, titled “The Hot Gate”, is due out May 3rd, 2011.

Now, if that was not enough, I’m going to give you a third reason to go read them.

I’m in them.

Specifically, John Patricelli is a character in the second book, “Citadel”.

That’s right. The most incredible geek fanboy confluence I can imagine has occured. I am a character in a John Ringo story set in the Howard Taylor Schlockverse.

I’m not going to give out any spoilers, of course. If you haven’t read it, then all I’m going to say is that a very minor character in the story, who just happens to be a Space Marine, is named John Patricelli, and might see a little action. Just a little.

Come on, that’s gotta be enough to get you to go check it out, right? If only to see if I die a horrible, violent, gruesome death. Hey, it’s space, I might have simultaneously frozen while blowing up. You can only hope.

I wasn’t going to say anything about it at first, because the point isn’t that I’m in the story, the point is that this is some awesome science fiction from two author/creators I love dearly. 

But you know, just because I write some articles that people read doesn’t mean I’m somehow above being a squeeing little geek fanboy. Does anyone ever get above that kind of thing? I sure as heck hope not. 

So get on out there, get the books and enjoy a great read.

If you feel like being generous, and you’re thinking about buying the books anyway, may I suggest you visit my website Library. If you click through to from the links there, and you end up buying a book, I eventually will get a little kickback from it. I think. 

I don’t know how it works exactly, I just know that when I went and bought Citadel in hardcover from Amazon, I had $16 in credit there, and the only way I can figure that I got it is from awesome folks like you buying books through my website.

And while I’m on the subject, that you very much for that. I never expected to ever see someone buy a book through the website, so I was completely stunned to get most of a hardcover book from free, thanks entirely to your generosity. That was amazing. 

If you love science fiction, I just hope you read them, no matter how you lay your hands on them. Buy them, get them from your local library, borrow them from a friend, whatever. Lounge around in your local Barnes and Noble reading them on a couch while drinking a coffee. However you get your geek on.

But do yourself a favor, go check them out!

23 thoughts on “John Ringo’s ‘Troy Rising’ series = WOOT!

  1. Crabnuggets Bear,

    Now I have a new author that I just HAVE to get everything by, Amazon delivered “Live Free o Die” yesterday morning, 2am today I put it down… finished…. and immediately on the PC looking for a copy of citadel. It happened with Terry Pratchett, it happened with Robert Jordan and Harry Turtledove, it even happened with Tully Zetford and Doc Smith so now I am going to have to find more space on the shelf for another authors collection. I’d curse you roundly if I didnt love it so much :).

    Seriously though, thanks Bear, a damn good reccomendation with a damn good result, love it.



    • “Crabnuggets”?

      Hmm…. would the long form of that be, ‘Great flaming Ghostcrawler balls!’ by any chance?


      • Heheh, didnt think of that for “Crabnuggets, it from my Daughters current favourite film (you know, the one they have to watch every… single…. day…) Megamind, great film but after the 10th or 11th run through it’s starting to make me twitch :). I saw Citadel in store in Hardback, paperback is October so if I get it now I’ll have to get “Live Free ot Die” in hardback too (can’t have a mixture, don’t know why but seeing it makes my skin crawl, I had to rebuy all my old Pratchett books as well as I started getting the hardbacks on release day). And I think the last one is later this month. Anyhoo, still glad it was recommended by the bear, and a good read too. Just shows how good maple syrup can be :).

        Oh and for the comments on the “Wedding”, I agree with you 100%, I got a day off work for it but the catchups going to be a pain as we had a bank holiday monday as well following that wedding weekend (for Mayday) so we didnt lose 1 day, but 2.

        Be Lucky



    • You can buy Citadel in stores, I had to go to Baen’s website and buy the 3rd book as an ebook because i didn’t want to wait for print copies to hit store shelves.

      On the positive side, I really don’t think the 3rd book was the last in the series, there is a TON more meat on these bones for that.


  2. Thank you very much BBB, I don’t know how I missed these books by Ringo, bought the two from baen webscriptions last night ebook versions for my ipad, and am halfway through Live Free or Die. Very good, reminds me of his book Von Neumans War and the Looking Glass series (rednecks in spaaaacccceee) which I loved.

    Now I have to go back and get Hot Gate.

    Have you tried Travis S. Taylors own books, Warp Speed, Quantum Connection and Human by Choice. Good ones also.

    btw, that web comic has a ipad and ihpone app, lets you get all of his comic from first to current.


    • Yes, it is reminiscent of the Looking Glass series, and I do love those books also.

      I JUST finished The Hot Gate through webscription this morning. I stayed up all night reading it on my smartphone. That was a techgeek first for me, by the way; with a book on the smartphone, the screen is as bright as a flashlight. I have it set to sepia background, so it’s not harsh white, but I saw no reason to have any lights on to bother Cassie, so I sat reading a book in absolute darkness, relieved only by the light of the book.

      If I needed to get up and move around, I was guided by the light shining from my book. I almost got the giggles thinking about how you could describe that to someone from ancient times in ye old time travel misinterpret things scenario, eh?


  3. I just read a some of the first book through Amazon’s “sample chapters”… yeah, I’m going to have to buy these. Thanks for the suggestion, BBB!


    • Here’s something else that’s new… book 3, The Hot Gate, is now out!

      Not on your bookshelf yet, as far as I know it’s still waiting for May 3rd, but if you just can’t wait, you can go directly to Baen Books, and purchase it through their webscriptions. They have it in every ebook format I know of.

      I bought it for my Android with the Kindle app on it, and it’s great. 🙂


  4. Heya BBB,

    I’ll hazard a guess as to why you’re in the series. I went with my friend to a John Ringo book signing in the Bay Area, and was able to chat with him a little bit. I doubt I made much of an impression, but the way you write in your blog shows you’re a funny, likeable guy, with a ton of amazing stories.

    I’d guess you had him sign some of your books, got to swapping stories, and he remembered your name and put you in his book.

    Now if a Big Bear Butt could only appear in a Discworld novel…….


    • That’s a very good guess, but it’s not the way it happened. I haven’t personally met John Ringo.

      However, we did have occassion to talk about a project I cannot discuss a while back, and he did mention to me that at some point I’d show up somewhere… most likely as a hideous corpse.

      I was pretty sure he meant in a book, but you never can tell. 🙂


  5. I’ve read these and I really enjoyed them. It’s amazing how oblivious I can be – I caught the Howard Taylor = Tyler Vernon link but missed that it was actually taking place in the Schlock universe. I also missed the John Patricelli reference. Ah well, I’ll enjoy them all the more now!


  6. I seem to recall seeing Tayler mention (or at least allude to) this series in Blogunder Schlock. I may have to check it out for my next online book order…


  7. Hello BBB,
    I noticed you have started reading the “Wheel of Time” series. As a person who has enjoyed the series and has read them at least three times so far while waiting for the last book, may I say that you will find yourself a series like no other. I am currently reading the second to last book “Towers of Midnight” and have trouble getting anything accomplished because I can’t put it down =) I love it soo much I got my oldest son into the series and he burned right through the recent book. Anyway’s I just love talking about the series and had to comment when I saw you were reading it. I hope you enjoy it as I have!


    • Thanks for reminding me, I’m on book 2 now. I’ve been limited on time reading, what with playing and working on Converging Forces, but I am 90% through book 2 of Wheel of Time and be on book 3 tomorrow.

      I’ve actually read them before, as they were first released. I was one of those folks taht bought it in hardcover when the first book came out, waaaay back when I was new in the Marines. I still remember reading it during tech training in 29 Palms.

      I bought them all in hardcover as they came out, but the last book I bought was the one before Crossroads of Twilight. At that point, I got pretty caught up in my career for several years, and just didn’t poke my head back out again. A few books had come out by then, and I think I made a conscious decision to NOT read any more until the last book had finally come out, and I’d read them all in one swoop. re-read for some.

      It looks like the very last book is finally almost here, so I started the reading.

      One thing I don’t know if too many people are aware of, but the Wheel of Time books predate the internet as a ‘thing’. As the Wheel of Time books were coming out, the internet was phone call-in BBS systems hosted on people’s computers, and Compuserve and AOL, and email subscription listservs and all that.

      Even so, there was a flourishing debate listserv for us Wheel of Time fanboys, and we organised what we called “Darkfriend Socials” after the gathering of Darkfriends in the beginning of book 2, where groups of us fans that talked on irc and the listserv would ge together in mass gatherings to obsess over ‘super-Aes Sedai’ and the meaning of the Daughter of the Nine Moons and whether the taint would be cleansed from Saidin or if Rand was going to get leprosy based on what he learned of his other lives on alternate worlds trying to travel through the Waystones.

      A crazy time… and that was well over ten years ago. WELL over. it’s amazing to think of it, that the series is still short the last book that brings everything to a conclusion.


      • – as far as I can recall, that’s the telnet address of the Wheel of Time MUD myself and a few friends played on while we were still at high school.

        When people complain about WoW getting repetitive and grindy, there’s a part of my brain going “you have absolutely *no* idea what ‘repetitive and grindy’ really means” 🙂


  8. So wait, there’s a John Ringo series, set in the Schlock Mercenary Universe.
    My head just exploded from the poential awesome of that mixture.
    Also, dear Mr. B^3, I’d like to blame you for ruining a week of my life by linking Schlock Mercenary a while back, I pressed ‘first’ and didn’t stop reading for days.
    just kidding, THANK YOU SO MUCH.


  9. I gotta say, any time I hear about John Ringo, I think OH JOHN RINGO NO.

    That said, from all accounts, he is a pretty good guy and not actually a bad writer. Those books just… just… *dies* I think I’d be giggling throughout the whole reading of the Troy Rising books, but not because of THEM, but because I’d keep thinking about the Paladin of Shadows books and what little I know about them and OH JOHN RINGO NO.


  10. I knew it! When I was reading Citadel and came across that particular name, I thought it too much too be a coincidence. I was just waiting for said character to be called BBB somewhere in there but thought that might be a bit much for Ringo to know your WoW moniker as well. Grats on the appearance and if you do go the way of the original star trek red shirt guys, at least try to be gruesome about it.


  11. You just sold me, John. I’ve heard a lot about John Ringo, but have never given him a shot. The combination of Ringo, Tayler, and a Patricelli appearance is too much to resist.


  12. I’ve never heard of John Ringo or Howard Taylor before your blog.

    But your description makes me want to read these…

    What’ya know, I have $30 just sitting on my desk…


      • Only a few weeks? People do need to take time to eat and sleep… 🙂

        Rather than starting all the way back at Tub of Happiness, I suggest following Tayler’s own recommendation and starting with Basic Training. The end of that dumps you into the story arc at a point where he had smoothed out a lot of the rough edges in his art and writing style. Then going back later to read ToH is a nice “origin story” for Schlock joining up with the Toughs.


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