Tanya Huff’s Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr is a real kick-butt heroine, and in Valor’s Trial, she begins with some serious action. For the next three hundred pages, the story seldom lags. The plot is basic: Kerr is involved in a hopeless battle with a faceless enemy known for taking no prisoners. In the blink of an eye, her position, and all of the personnel are simply gone. Obliterated. The Corps declares her dead, but neither her lover nor her father can believe it. Actually, neither can Torin Kerr, when she awakens in an underground POW camp, but she does feel quite put upon. Still, one of the duties long held by military forces is to escape, and Kerr is quite determined to do so, regardless of the obstacles or the odds, and no one, not even her fellow Marines, will deter her for long.
Huff’s writing comes across as authentic. The world building is always effective, but her characterizations, via actions and dialogue, are where her skills really shine. I’ve read a fair amount of military fiction, especially science fiction, and while others may hatch more creative plot lines or more expansive empires, no one can touch her realistic prose.
If Tanya Huff had written Star Wars, we’d all believe that Luke, Leia, and Han Solo are real enough to step off of the screen and go to the local watering hole for a drink. Listen up, Syfy channel, when y’all get serious about movie making, take a long look at the Confederation series.