2.0 to 2.5 stars This was a tough book for me to rate because I liked the realistic approach to both life aboard a Navy ship as well as the detailed aspects of the court martial that is at the heart of the story I also liked the main character, Paul Sinclair The reason for the rating of just okay was because I thought the writing was a bit simplistic maybe geared towards a younger audience and the way the story unfolded didn t hold my interest as much as I thought it would I am a fan of the author s work and really enjoy the The Lost Fleet series under his pseudonym Jack Campbell so I will certainly read the next book in this series. Okay, this book combines three of my favorite genres the courtroom thriller, science fiction, and sea fiction Navy fiction This book quite literally appeals to all three.Set at the end of this century, the 2000s , the US and various other countries have claimed various parts of the Solar System as theirs The United States Navy has extended its mission into space, and, the result is a mixture of the familiar naval ranks, naval procedures, etc and the futuristic an amazingly designed spacefaring warship that, using today s technology, could probably actually be built and work if a government decided to construct one The extrapolation is amazingly well done Hemry builds his future seamlessly and explains it as he tells the story The settings he creates are so realistic that they don t seem like science fiction extrapolation, but rather places the author has actually scene.The novel and it is the first in the series follows the fortunes of Paul Sinclair, a newly minted ensign, who s assigned to a ship about to go on a cruise Paul is kind of an everyman, going through all of the problems, challenges, and screw ups that befell a new officer as she or he learns the ropes shipboard But the ship winds up in a sticky situation and the captain orders an attack on a ship that has ventured into US Space Although the captain thinks the vessel was military and was planning at attack, investigation after the crew of the other ship is killed reveals that it was a research vessel with no military armament The ship is ordered back to port a space station and the Captain is placed on trial.Paul is placed in a tricky situation although he does not care for his CO, he realizes that the Rules of Engagement the orders issued that dictate if, when, and how deadly force can be used the captain has been working on were unclear and that the captain s actions were potentially defensible given the unclear rules of engagement Paul does not think the captian should be fully exonerated, but he does not think he should be railroaded and imprisoned because the captain s superiors bear a measure of the blame for issuing unclear rules of engagement.So Paul must decide whether to think of career first, or to defend an ineffective officer against a court martial that may be unjust The book really rocks fast plot, believable characters, realistic portrayal of Navy life I am a Naval veteran , morally complex issues that aren t easily resolved It s a book that is thoughtful and exciting at the same time. This novel exhibits what is coming to seem a pattern in Henry Campbell s books of amazing settings and characterization and a so so plot Very, very little happens in the story, but the backdrop is amazing The nickname JAG In Space is apt The story centers on the trial of a captain following questionable actions in combat What is interesting about the story isn t the combat event or even an emotional stake in the outcome of the trial but in seeing modern military court practice extended to the future with space travel.One thing I wish it had doneof is fleshing out the sense of the law and practice of command necessarily turning full circle in an era of space travel In centuries gone by ship captains were largely laws unto themselves given the long time they spent between contact with home and command Their power was far reaching and there was tremendous weight vested in their judgement We now live in a period in which communication is nearly always instantaneous between and level of command and action that is desirable The potential negative outcomes of that are one of the two major themes of Campbell s first trilogy on Stark s War Distant space travel returns us to the previous state where there will again be long, cut off periods where action must be taken This element is present in the novel, and in fact gives rise to the limited plot that exists, but could have been taken much further Perhaps the law could have been archaic in a sense, developed during a periodlike the current one with space ship captains hobbled Perhaps the author could work out the similarities and differences to traditional military rule and made thatinteresting.This doesn t sound like a four star review It is really hard to say what is amazingly good about the novel I really cared about the main character His world is drawn in wonderful color and your heads snaps about wanting to see what it is like Though I wouldn t say it is done to the same extent, he shares this with Robert A Heinlein who, particularly in later novels, might let a plot fall apart somewhat but compensated with such amazing characters and settings that you don t mind much. Really enjoyed this book This is the Navy in space and the author is obviously well versed with the military Our main character, Paul, is the legal officer aboard a spaceship and finds himself embroiled in a court martial Really liked the main character and his determination to act with integrity Although it appears to be in the sci fi category, I d actually describe it as military drama No aliens here This is actually the same author as the Lost Fleet series but with those he writes under the name of Jack Campbell Although listed as Book 1, this book could definitely stand alone. Military science fiction and law The combination just appealed I am, of course, someone who read a tome on the U.S Supreme Court history for fun I got exactly the story I predicted from that simple description There was nothing unexpected about this book except perhaps the unflinching portrayals of incompetents in the Navy They seemed a bit cartoonish, but sadly I could accept that people with issues this severe could indeed make it through the military ranks Ensign Paul Sinclair, of course, isn t one of them he s new on board, determined to do his best, and even when he doesn t always succeed, keeps on trying Given that he s assigned three collateral duties alongside his primary job on the first day he steps on board, I felt a fair bit of sympathy for him.One of those duties is as the ship s legal officer, because he s taken a one month course It s from that perspective that he watches the captain give orders that eventually lead the ship s crew into testifying at a court martial.The dialogue felt a bit wooden to me not a deal breaker when a higher ranking officer was addressing Paul and there were lots of Yes, sir s, but even the banter between ensigns wasn t quite natural But the book s written quite earnestly and it s very readable, and there were a couple of minor characters that I thought were interesting, so I think I ll pick up the next one. I heard about this at JordanCon, and as a sci fi fan, veteran, and law student, I thought it sounded really interesting It turned out to be a pretty good book While it s not gritty, super technical, or long, I think it could easily wind up on recommended reading lists for cadets and officers in training.The story follows a newly assigned ensign on his first cruise in the US Navy space fleet I enjoyed the story of him learning the ropes abroad ship, and getting to know the other people on the ship with him I really enjoyed the glimpse of naval life, which I suspect was fairly accurate I can t be sure because I was Army and then Air Force enlisted He didn t always make the right call, and he was called out on some of his mistakes It had what appeared to be good lessons for aspiring officers which is why I suspect that it would be a really good book for midshipmen to read There were a couple of things that struck me as odd First, the mission of the vessel in the story is to patrol a sovereignty zone in space to repel anyone crossing American space without permission If this is taking place in the solar system, how would you even stake out a zone of space over which you would exert sovereignty In a rotating solar system, how would you mark out a permanent zone Why wouldn t space be like international waters You can claim a certain distance from your territory, but everyone would be free to sail past that limit That didn t make much sense to me Second, this is called JAG in space, but the protagonist is a line officer who has a collateral duty as a legal adviser I suspect the marketing people came up with that All in all a good book, that I enjoyed It was light, refreshing, and I really enjoyed how the story wrapped up. 3.5 starsI liked the story and the characters It was just a litte to wordy and technical for me Also an appendix for some the navy language would have been great. The first book in the JAG in Space series is a short and neat novel about a young ensign, an incident, and a court martial Hemry delivers a page turner Not the heaviest reading, to be sure, but there are depths between the lines There is in fact quite a decent coming of age story between the covers.I am always partial to books where I can identify with and feel sympathetic with the characters Hemry is excellent at making the reader well, this reader at least identify with protagonist Paul Sinclair during his struggles on his first deployment The other crew members of the U.S.S Michaelson are a mix of good and bad, with wildly varied motivations, just like in real life Overall, the characters feel well fleshed out, and Hemry is skilled at portraying both them and the action, entirely from young Sinclair s perspective.It could perhaps be argued that this novel s setting is incidental, and that it would have worked just as well on the sea That may be so, but that does not detract from its appeal A fine read.Note Hemry also writes under the pseudonym Jack Campbell.http www.books.rosboch.net p 840 Fresh From The Academy, Ensign Paul Sinclair Has Been Assigned To The Warship USS Michaelson, Whose Mission Is To Stop Any Foreign Vessels From Violating US Sovereign SpaceWhen Captain Peter Wakeman Mistakenly Destroys A Civilian Science Ship Perceived As Hostile, Sinclair Must Testify Against Wakeman At A Court Martial Hearing But Sinclair Believes That The Severity Of The Charges Against The Captain Are Unjust And Becomes A Witness For The Defense Read in print in 2011 and listened with David in 2016 Very nice read for a car trip Nice characters and great extrapolation of naval culture to the future space navy.Reading again for my SF group October 2016.