After losing three significant battles to the humans, the Kzin begin to wonder if their combative diplomatic style is working and decide to reevaluate their strategy, in a volume featuring contributions by Larry, Niven, S. M. Stirling, Thomas T. Thomas, and Jerry Pournelle. Reissue.
The novel forms part of Pournelle’s Future History known as the CoDominium series. Chronologically, it is second to last in the series, contemporaneous with events in .
In content it resembles Pournelle’s military fiction series Falkenberg’s Legion, also from the CoDominium series, in that it is the story of a capable military leader undertaking a campaign on a backward planet. In this case the leader is from a planet that has recovered technologically to the steam, steel and coal stage, who visits a planet of city states surrounded by barbarians, fighting with medieval weapons.
The story is notable for showing the conflicting motives of the different factions without demonizing any of them, save possibly the merchants’ faction whose motives are to use the forces of the Imperial Space Navy to enhance their own profits.
Ingram Birth Of Fire is the story of Garrett Pittston, wrongly convicted of murder. Pittston faces a choice: life in prison, or near-slavery on Mars. Under the appalling conditions imposed by those who run the mines from Earth, Pittston and his fellow workers start a revolution to wrest their freedom from the penal colony. Display advertising in science fiction publications. Previously published by Pocket Books.
Avg. Customer Review:
One of the Best Mars Colonization Novels Ever, November 7, 2001 Reviewer:
I had not read any of Jerry Pournelle's other books, when I picked this up years ago. It is an amazingly good yarn dealing with the now cliched notion of the colonization of Mars. The lead protagonist Garrett is given the option to stay in jail in overcrowded earth or get shipped out to Mars on a work detail.
He opts for the latter and gets involved in a revolution to free Mars from the oppressive multinational corporations back on earth. I read this book at least thrice! Great writing. The author moves the action at a good pace. The book felt very believable.
Good story - classic Pournelle, August 3, 2001 Reviewer:
After I read 'Janissaries' I had a 'Pournelle reading frenzy' and this is one of the novels I bought as well.
I like it, it's quite classic. Boy gets to mars 'cause he doesn't have much of a future back home. When arriving on Mars it seems he won't have much of a future there either. But the locals help him out and suddenly he finds himself caught up in a revolution… classic, not the most complex plot ever, but a good read never the less. A juvenile in the Heinlein tradition, August 30, 2000 Reviewer:
Garrett Pittson is a youth without a future in a Washington slum. After a fight between gangs he is convicted to exile and slave labour on Mars. There he is picked up by the Marsmen, emigrants and former convicts turned settlers outside the cities and mines governed by companies - and lands in the midst of a revolution in growing. Allegiance to new-won friends and love to a settler's daughter makes him join the revolution and together with the revolution the Project - using nukes to make volcanoes spew out enough water and gases to strengthen Mars atmosphere sufficiently for humans to live without space suits on Mars. Some fight scenes of the Falkenberg quality. All in all a lot like Heinlein's juveniles - in atmosphere as well as in message. solid but unexceptional Pournelle, May 24, 2000 Reviewer:
A Birth of Fire is an entertaining read with all of the Pournelle elements you would expect. The character of the young protagonist is developed nicely. The plot is solid and moves along well; helped by some interesting military tactics. The Martian setting is very well developed.
However, the book doesn't have the same spark as most other Pournelle novels. The biggest disappointment is that only the main character is developed enough to make the reader care about his fate. We never really learn enough about the thoughts and motivations of the girl who is one of the two supporting characters to become caught up in her story. The Martian colonial society also has a few small but nagging inconsistancies.