Tor, Oct 2003, 27.95, 544 pp.
Taran Republic Space Force Commander Van C. Albert defeats an unknown enemy's cruiser that attacked his vessel, the RSFS Fergus. However, his joy is short-lived as his actions also caused the destruction of a civilian liner. A board of inquiry condoned his actions, but his career is over though he retains the rank of Commander.
His current loser position is as a military attaché at the Taran embassy on Scandya. However, he gets once last chance to show his courage when he stops an assassination. To the elation of his superiors, Van ends up in a coma so he is decorated and given a disability retirement.
Van awakens to learn that he no longer works for the military. Integrated Information Systems of the Eco-Tech Coalition hires him to command a starship. The exiled former commander finds he is the prime focus in an interstellar conflict that will leave no world the same and some potentially eradicated.
THE ETHOS EFFECT occurs two centuries after the Parafaith War has ended, but retains much of the complex military science fiction that made the previous saga a fan favorite. The story line is action-packed yet contains fully developed characters especially the lead protagonist. Van is more than just a strong strategist and courageous warrior. Readers will feel his guilt over the civilian deaths and his dissatisfaction with his post incident assignments, his shock over his dismissal, and finally his sense of self worth when he is placed in a vanguard position. He makes the tale that will provide much enjoyment to L.E. Modesitt, Jr. fans and sub-genre readers.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner