Home > Book Reviews > Review: Citadel by John Ringo

Review: Citadel by John Ringo


Ringo continues his Troy Rising trilogy in this direct sequel to Live Free or Die.

In Citadel, the reader is introduced to two new POV characters:  Dana “Comet” Parker , an engineer turned shuttle pilot, and “Butch” Allen, a space-vacuum welder. While some readers may be put off by two seemingly irrelevant protagonists, I found it rather refreshing. In many space opera series, the authors often concentrate too heavily on the high profile strategists and charismatic action figures (like Vernon Tyler in the first book) with all of the many talented officers, engineers, construction workers, military grunts, etc. as mere bit players…if mentioned at all. But here, Ringo can answer the reader’s questions about null-G training, construction complications, and hazards of “the dark of space” without resorting to info dumps.  And while Vernon is definitely the moving hand and mind behind the defense of Earth, he couldn’t do it without these people. It’s similar to my enjoyment of the Star Wars X-Wing and Wraith Squadron novels rather than Jedi story after Jedi story.

For those who miss the Tyler character, he makes a strong presence in the second half of the book.

After finally forcing Earth’s erstwhile benefactors, the Glatun, to support Earth against the Horvath who were menacing the planet and demanding tribute in exchange for not dropping devastating missiles on major cities, a new alien race turns its eyes on Earth. It’s a race against time whether Earth can rebuild it’s defenses, complete several battlestations, and develop a new source for energy after an embargo. The Glatun had clandestinely released much of their technological plans to Earth (having determined that the Sol system might ultimately be their salvation since the Rangora/Horvath alliance would target them first), but it is all up to Earth including Vernon Tyler’s companies, the US led defense department, and the civil government.

Some other thoughts:

  • This book is a lot less hard science than the previous one, which was a relief to me, and much more character driven. I did find the military and corporate acronyms to be a bit annoying. I swear there were whole sentences of nothing but random letters.
  • I did enjoy a peek of the Rangora strategy, both militarily and bureaucratically. Although perhaps not alien per se, these kind of machinations are always fun to me.
  • I liked the discussion about Rangora confusion about Earth wars.  Why are certain battles (the last stand at Thermopylae and the Alamo) celebrated when the battles themselves were lost?  Why don’t Terran “tribes” utterly destroy their enemies (World Wars) and even rebuild them (US and Japan)?

The series concludes with recently released The Hot Gate.

4 out of 5 stars (finished June 19, 2011)

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Currently reading: Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey & Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

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