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Valour's Choice by Tanya Huff

In the distant future, two alien collectives vie for survival. When the peaceful Confederation comes under attack from the aggressive Others, humanity is granted membership to the alliance—for a price. They must serve and protect the far more civilized species, fighting battles for those who have long since turned away from war.

Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr and her platoon are assigned to accompany a group of Confederation diplomats as they attempt to recruit a newly discovered species as allies. But when her transport ship is shot down, the routine mission becomes anything but, and Kerr must stage a heroic last stand to defend the Confederation and keep her platoon alive.

I enjoyed Valour’s Choice from the get-go. The Prologue introduces the world quickly and painlessly then we’re straight away introduced to Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr. I loved Kerr; she’s tough, funny, devoted to her people, and not immune to the charms of the di’Kayan. The story proper begins with the morning after the night before. Kerr’s indulged in some post-battle R&R with a nameless di’Kayan, the most sexually adventurous known race and almost irresistible to humans. Certainly Kerr had no intention of resisting this particular one last night, but now duty calls.

What ought to have been a standard debriefing turns into something less welcome and with a few surprises. Kerr is assigned to a diplomatic mission designed to convince the Silsviss to join the Confederation against the Others. She also has a new senior officer to train up with her unique blend of humour and influence. Kerr is anything but thrilled at her new mission but orders are orders.

I enjoyed how the story developed, both the tedium of diplomatic negotiations, especially for a combat unit, and the unscheduled call to arms. The heroic last stand was pretty exciting and I did like the ending  - it just confirmed how very excellent Torin Kerr is. The array of alien races is well imagined; I especially liked the slow, smelly, furry Dornagain. Aside from Kerr there are some other great characters; Lt. Jarret, Cri Sawyes, and Haysole all deserve a mention.

I was very impressed with Valour’s Choice and will definitely go on to read more of the series. This edition also has a bonus short story, which was a nice little extra.

Valour's Choice is available in Paperback now from Titan Books. My thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy for review.

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