First Lines Fighting for Freedom

photograph of large winged birds flying against an orange sky and sunset. In the foreground a woman sits on a ledge reading a book.

For this month’s post I’ve gathered first lines from older books that are about fighting for liberty. First Lines is a series of blog articles posted on around the first of the month. The first line of a story, we’re told, must hook the reader. Implied is that the reader will not buy the book if the first line isn’t great. These entries are from Amazon, my personal library, or other online booksellers. Do these first lines hook you? Do you want to read more?

Five First Lines

The cover of the Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. is the yellow-beige color of a file folder with an illustration of a black waxed string bow tying it shut. The Title of the book is in an imitation of a large red and blue circular stamp.The title at the top  with D.O.D.O. a novel in the center and the authors' names around the bottom half. In the far left lower corner a dodo bird appears to be walking into the picture.

My name is Melisandre Stokes and this is my story. I am writing in July 1851 (Common Era, or—let’s face it—Anno Domini) in the guest chamber of a middle-class home in Kensington, London, England. I’m not a native of this place or time.

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland – 2017

The cover of Defy the Stars is a pastel triple layered image. The first layer appears to be clouds in the sky, the next  slightly paler layer is a woman's profile, the third pale image is a man's profile.

In three weeks, Ndemi Vidal will die—here, in this very place. 

Today is just practice. 

Defy the Stars, Claudia Gray – 2017

The cover of Ninefox Gambit is an illustration shows (against a teal and purple star studded space) a spaceship headed toward a large black ball covered in spiny processes and it has yellow and red explosion points in several places.

At Key Academy, an instructor had explained to Cheris’s class that the threshold winnower was a weapon of last result, and not just for its notorious connotations.

Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee – 2016

The cover of Midnight robber is an illustration of a woman wearing a sombrero and a cape, her hair is straggly and around her is a yellow then pinkish purple aura and around the edges of the cover is ornate whirls and graphics.

I stole the torturer’s tongue

It’s the first side of me some see

The first line you hear

First line of defense when I say

“See this long tongue illicitly acquired—doesn’t it suit me well?…”

Midnight Robber, Nalo Hopkinson – 2000

The cover of My Soul to Keep is a dark blue with Orange lettering, in the center background is a blue shield with wings, layered over that is an orange 2D image of the Washinton Monument and over that, as if walking out of the bottom of the shield and the monument is the silhouette of a woman.

The giant bronze angel of death loomed over Miranda Clarke’s shoulder.

My Soul to Keep, Lynette M. Burrows


There are no affiliate links in this post. Yes, there is a shameless plug for my own book. Otherwise, I don’t make a cent off of the books listed on this page. Usually these titles are pulled at random. They are here for your enjoyment. And to entice you to buy more books.

Do You Want to Read More?

Did you find a book you want to read? Check out previous First Lines posts. Please take a moment to share in the comments below—

Which ones spoke to you? Did you buy it?


  1. Some great choices! I saw the subject line and thought “This would be a great post to include Defy the Stars” because I’d just finished reading the trilogy. And, lo and behold, there it was on your list. Great minds! Glad you included My Soul to Keep too since it clearly fits this list. The Neal Stephenson book looks interesting so I picked that up. Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Terry. I’m so glad you found new reads in this. And thank you for the kind words about My Soul to Keep. I truly appreciate readers like you.

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