In THE ETHOS EFFECT (4), Van Albert of the Republic Space Force of Taran caused the loss of a civilian ship while striking at an enemy cruiser. Although cleared of wrongdoing, he's always been an embarrassment. When he ends up in a coma after foiling an assassination attempt, his superiors retire him while he's unconscious. After a long recovery, Van accepts a job with the Integrated Information Systems. IIS is a powerful force, and his new job embroils him in an approaching, unavoidable war. L.E. Modesitt Jr. skillfully balances the demands of his genre, and the result is a novel with an unusually magnetic hero and just enough tech to hold the interest of hard sci-fi fans without losing those who skim over descriptions of ship specifications and planetary politics. (Oct., 544 pp., $27.95)

Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum