Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff (Confederation of Valor 1)

Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr does a Grey’s Anatomy with her new Second Lieutenant. We discover very early in the story that Taykan and human seems to be sexually compatible. Second Lieutenant di’Ka Jarret is her new platoon leader, and a Taykan aristocrat to boot. As described in the book: The off-the-record reaction of the First Human Contact Team upon meeting the Taykan had been “Holy fuk, they’re elves!”.

After a combat mission with significant loses Sh’quo Company is blowing off steam, trying to forget what they have been trough. But it’s not to be for Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr, she and a platoon of handpicked combat hardened soldiers are sent on a diplomatic mission. The diplomats will be negotiating with the reptilian Silsviss race, whose planet has a strategic position, to get them to join the Confederation. And  the platoon will server as a honor guard, impressing the warrior cast that run Silsviss’ Society with their toughness.

Everything goes well until their ship have to leave in response to an intrusion in their sector.

The Confederation once consisted only of elder peaceful races, but then they where attacked by the Others, and had to invite younger more aggressive species to fight for it. It was one hundred and fifty years ago that they invited Earth. Since then the Taykan, then Krai have joined.  

Tanya Huff is very good at dialogue. There is a lot of bickering in the book, and I love bickering. Portraying a sergeant of the right stuff is done beautifully. Let me give you a few examples:

  • “Figures,” Torin sighed. “Officers get a proposal and the rest of us just get screwed.”
  • The Krai have a taste for human flesh. “Marines do not eat other Marines,” Torin muttered absently.
  • “Begging your pardon sir, but you’ll be giving orders to this platoon, not to the general. It might be best if
    you think for yourself.”
  • “You’re just jealous my species has more opposable parts than yours.”

Technology isn’t very important for the story but I like gadgets. They have implants for communication and storage, regen tanks for wounded, and faster than light travel by folding into Susumi space.

I like especially the story and the dialogue.  Tanya Huff’s Valor’s Choice is good solid military science fiction.