“Freehold: Resistance” created by Michael Z. Williamson, Baen Books, 2019, 593 pages, $16
Michael Z. Williamson’s first book was “Freehold,” a novel about Earth’s invasion of an independent colony world and how that nation, the Freehold of Grainne, defeated Earth. It was told from the perspective of Kendra Pacelli, who immigrated to Freehold and joined its military.
Williamson’s “Freehold: Resistance” returns to that war in a new book. As with his earlier “Forged In Blood,” “Freehold: Resistance” is collaborative, with 17 contributors besides Williamson, and is told from as many different perspectives.
Despite this, the book is a coherent novel, not just a collection of short stories. The individual contributions are braided together, with the point of view seamlessly shifting from one author to another. The differences in styles and viewpoints seem natural, an outgrowth of the different outlooks of the individual participants.
Contributors include several heavy hitters in the field of combat science fiction, including Larry Corriea, Brad R. Torgersen, Mike Massa, and Kasey Ezell. There are several others who are just starting out, and Williamson contributes a major story line and other material.
The novel’s threads cover virtually every aspect of the war. One is set aboard a factory ship, the Force, a spaceship that provides the weapons used to fight the invasion. Another covers a covert intelligence network established early in the war, which provides badly needed intelligence.
Several look at acts of resistance and combat during the conflict. One involves a civilian merchant ship from Grainne whose crew is forced to carry cargoes for Earth but supplement that by assisting the Freehold military.
Other threads show the war from Earth’s perspective. This includes stories seen from the perspective of ordinary soldiers in Earth’s military. There is also a collection of diary entries from the commander of Earth’s invasion force.
An exciting retelling of the conflict originally related in “Freehold,” it provides a comprehensive overview of the war. “Freehold: Resistance” tells a coherent story independent of the other novels in Williamson’s Freehold canon. It is a must-have for Freehold fans, a good introduction for those new to the series and a marvelous showcase for participating authors.