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Virtues of War - Gritty, first rate fiction

James O'Hare | March 28, 2012

 Two things elevate this book above many others in the genre: the author's obvious military experience and his creation of engaging characters. Moreover, the novel is founded on a cutting edge, but credible, scientific theory.

The battle scenes are both thrilling and convincing. They bespeak a writer who knows what he's talking about when it comes to tactics, hardware and combat unit dynamics. He does employ a bit of artistic license to enliven the action (artificial gravity on the ships; the unlikely use of tracer rounds in close quarters spacecraft encounters, etc.) These minor departures from physics, however, in no way diminish the story.

The characters are effectively developed and the reader is soon drawn into their lives. What particularly impressed me is that the author avoids neat and tidy resolutions to their personal dilemmas. Life is often messy, and the author acknowledges this reality rather than opting for the expected literary conclusion. You will be surprised, and sometimes dismayed, at the turn of events.

While the novel explores the brutal reality of war, it also conveys the moral ambivalence which underlies any human conflict. The ruthless enemy is not simply a black-hatted gunnery target. He is impelled by motives and circumstances that can claim a legitimacy of their own.

This is one of the best military sci-fi books I've ever read and I eagerly await the next installment of the saga. 

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Virtues of War is a straight-shooting non-stop tale of military adventure in a troubled future.

Charles E. Gannon
Author of "Fire with Fire"