I read this book about 23-Dec-2009. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2004. This note was last modified Tuesday, 26-Jan-2010 14:28:25 PST.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
These came up on a LiveJournal discussion, and sounded hopeful, and I added a couple to my Amazon list. And then one of them showed up unexpectedly in the mail; a long-time Usenet and online acquaintance had sent it to me. Conveniently, I had just finished my previous book, so I could jump right into it.
Today I went out and bought three more; and I'd been to Uncle Hugo's to buy two more previously. So let's say I'm enjoying these.
Mike Shepherd is pseudonym for Mike Moscoe.
We have a girl just starting a military career as an ensign. Turns out her great-grandfathers were tremendously important in the war against the aliens a while back, and her grandfather made the family tremendously rich, and her father is currently prime minister. She's escaping the recent parts of that, hoping to find some simplicity and a chance to be her own woman in the Navy.
Of course, everyone she meets sees her as another of "those Longknifes".
She does well, of course—leading her marines in a ground assault to rescue a hostage. It's a trap for her, in fact, baited partly by the fact that her brother was kidnapped and murdered when she was a child.
They go on from there into a disaster relief project, where she gets to show her stuff in other ways. This does have just a bit of the feel of something cobbled together out of short stories, but on the other hand the smaller scale stories have their own charms especially when getting to know a new character.
Probably the closest comparison is Elizabeth Moon's Vatta books, which I only made it 3 books into. This even has the book (later) on the planet cut off from communication with the rest of the galaxy. But it seems to work a bit better, for me.
These are space action-adventure. I don't think they are full-blown space opera; they don't have the plots driven primarly by new scientific discoveries, and they don't have the scale (there are 600 human-inhabited planets plus the aliens, and while the political forms are changing and what she does is important for her home planet and some others, it's by no means controlling the fate of all of them).
They do, unfortunately, have a tree-pony in them; in this case it's Kris's wearable computer Nelly, which in a later book she explains got an upgrade costing about the same as a battleship. It's too self-aware, gets upgraded too casually, and so forth (mostly later, though).