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December 2010
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Kindle Edition of Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy

After taking a hiatus for a nearly a decade, Tom Clancy is back with his bestselling thriller, Dead or Alive.В  For the Kindle and Kindle DX edition, the reviews are almost all 5 stars.В  Clancy coauthored this book with Grant Blackwood, a former member of the navy who provides valuable insight into military operations.В  Many of the reviewers said that this novel is definitely worth the long wait.В  I think it is amazing that all thirteen of Clancyв_Ts novels have been #1 on the bestseller list.

Clancy brings back familiar characters in Dead or Alive. В Jack Ryan Jr. and his fellow coworkers from the Campus all work together to capture the Emir.В  The Emir masterminded some horrifying attacks on the West.В  Does Osama bin Laden and September 11th come to mind to anyone?

Letв_Ts take a look at what some of the reviewers have said about Dead or Alive:

A. Apter в__caro fanв__:

в__Moves at a hurtling streamlined pace dispensing all kinds of fireworks of curious information. The style is deadpan and lean, with none of the classic cumbersome Clancy paragraphs. Occasional features of “Red Rabbit Syndrome,” in which large volumes of pages are devoted to…nothing. What character development there is is so minimal as to defy any description at all. The violence so far is “off page.” A very interesting book for a lot of reasons.в__

Pastor Dan:

в__Clancy does a wonderful job of building up each character, adding some new characters, reviving old characters and just generally giving us many sup plots that run alongside the bigger plot. The book is long, but it takes that much time to address all of the people, all of the issues and build a credible story.в__

Richard Stoyeck в__StocksAtBottom.comв__:

в__Clancy puts us in the thick of it. We as readers are in the game. When Delta Force operators and Rangers go into the caves of Afghanistan we are with them. We breathe the odors; we hear the sounds, and we feel the tension. We find ourselves silencing our own voices because we don’t want the good guys to be caught, and that is classic Clancy.в__

Price Woes

As expected, there are some complaints about the high price on the Kindle version, which is understandable.В  When you consider the Kindle version versus the hardback, think of lugging around a 950 page book wherever you go.В  The Kindle should win out, at least for portability and comfortable long term reading.В  If the rave reviews are any indication, you are in for long term reading because this is a book that is too good to put down.

Free Kindle Books: Science Fiction

One of the most amazing things that defined the promise of the eBook revolution and the availability of toys like the Kindle was the lower prices.  When you cut out all of the expenses of physically printing and shipping and storing books, the information those pages contain will have to be cheaper, right?  Well, as we all know at this point there has been a bit of delay in realizing this wonderful future as a general rule, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t places where we can get some great free stuff if we look!

Some of you might already be aware of the Baen Free Library. but I figured it was worth bringing up for the many of you that haven’t.  Baen frequently releases portions of a lot of their more popular series, either in the form of free sample chapters or an assortment of free first volumes in lengthy series, on the theory that if you like what you read, you’ll want to read more.  As a result, you can get yourself some really fun reads without ever touching your wallet.

Now, the library’s selection varies fairly regularly.  Authors are given complete control over the supply of their work, including what is given away, when it is available, and when it’s pulled from the shelves.  It’s an organized venue for authors to spread word of mouth.  Which makes sense if you understand their philosophy that it’s easier to rely on the responsible nature of readers and ignore piracy as a serious concern than it is to spend all your time building up a complicated system to prevent the acquisition of good books by people who will find a way to manage it anyway if they’re interested enough.

What does this mean for Kindle owners?  Well, obviously you won’t see these books being distributed for free on the Amazon website.  You will find a lot of these books already in a convenient Mobipocket format though!  I would personally recommend the BaenCD collections such as those found at Fifth Imperium.  All you have to do is find the book you’re looking for, click on it, and download the .mobi file from the links on the left of the screen (incidentally, there’s another link for epubs for you Nook owners out there).  Then you can use whatever method is most convenient for you to pop it from your computer over to your Kindle.

If you’re not familiar with these authors yet, and if you’re looking for a good long fun series to get into, I recommend starting with the Cryoburn CD.  At a glance it looks like it has the ever-popular Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold in its entirety.  As always, if you do find that you enjoy these books, give some thought to paying for them.  These guys are giving away the sort of thing that most publishing companies are trying to make you pay increasingly inflated prices for and that’s something worth supporting, in my opinion.