Baen, Nov 2004, 26.00, 755 pp.
While war rages between the Star Kingdom of Manticore and the Republic of Haven in another sector, the Talbott Cluster has voted to join the former. As a show of diplomatic unity, flag-raising, and military strength, the heavy cruiser HMS Hexapuma journeys to this remote sector. Though Captain Terekov is a weary war hero, much of the crew remains untested as recent graduates from the Saganami Island Royal Naval Academy.
However, the simple show of strength turns dangerous as local terrorists opposed to joining the Star Kingdom appear. Apparently the Manpower slaveholders, the genetic slavers of the kingdoms of Mesa and Monica, and the Solarian League bureaucracy have agreed to fight Manticore. The crew of the Hexapuma is all that stands in the way of a rear attack on the Star Kingdom, but how will this untested crew stand up when they start dying?
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner