This Week’s Book Review - Liberty’s Daughter

Looking for a good read? Here is a recommendation. I have an unusual approach to reviewing books. I review books I feel merit a review. Each review is an opportunity to recommend a book. If I do not think a book is worth reading, I find another book to review. You do not have to agree with everything every author has written (I do not), but the fiction I review is entertaining (and often thought-provoking) and the non-fiction contain ideas worth reading.

Book Review

Life in a Libertarian Haven

Reviewed by Mark Lardas
January 28, 2024

“Liberty’s Daughter,” by Naomi Kritzer, November, 2023, 262 pages, $18.99 (paperback), $5.99 (e-book)

Rebecca Garrison goes by Beck. She lives on New Minerva, a seastead in the Pacific, 220 nautical miles from California. It is one of a number of floating man-made islands, set up by Libertarians.

“Liberty’s Daughter,” by Naomi Kritzer opens with Beck hustling at her side gig. Since she is 16, she wants pocket money but cannot get an adult job. Most good ones are filled by PhDs. Scut work is done by guest workers, essentially indentured servants.

Beck is a finder. She finds stuff. There are 80,000 permanent residents of the seasteads. They need lots of miscellaneous things. Getting goods from the mainland requires expensive shipping. Lots of stuff is brought to the seascape which their owners no longer need. Beck scouts things out for clients. When she finds something, she negotiates a price, and collecting a finder’s fee.

Beck has been looking for a set of sparkly size eight strappy sandals. A guest worker has a pair but her price is unexpected. The worker’s sister went missing three weeks ago. The sister is also a bond servant. The owner will trade the sandals for knowledge of her sister’s location, and a handwritten note from her sister.

It seems simple. Beck agrees to become a detective. This starts a chain of events affecting everyone on the seastead. Along the way she discovers things about life in the seastead she had been sheltered from as the daughter of a prominent citizen. She also learns unexpected things about herself and her father (a leader in her seagoing community), things others do not want revealed.

The story has the feel of a Heinlein juvenile. It features a teenage protagonist thrust into an adult world, forced to take adult responsibilities, while still being treated as a child. It is set in an exotic futuristic setting, an archipelago of floating structures which form a 40-year-old experiment in independent government.

Like the seasteads themselves, “Liberty’s Daughter” has a lot hidden beneath the surface. It offers surprising depths for a seemingly straightforward coming-of-age tale. Beck learns that things are not always what they appear. That even as an adult, no one can have it all. Life has tradeoffs – and you have to decide whether the price you pay for your choices are worth it.

It is an excellent book to give a teen to read. It is an equally excellent book to read as an adult.

Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is