The Better Part of Valor, by Tanya Huff (DAW, 2002)

Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr’s reward for surviving a near-catastrophic situation while keeping her people and her civilian charges alive is reassignment, a fact that doesn’t please her in the least. Maybe she shouldn’t have told the general who got her into the mess what she thought of him. Now she and a ragtag group of soldiers drawn from all over the Confederation have been sent to investigate a massive derelict spaceship of unknown origins. But is the real danger the ship in question, or is it the publicity-hungry commanding officer and the media following him, or is it one of the scientists sent to study the spaceship? Any way you look at it, she’ll have her hands full trying to stay alive and keep her men together this time. Not everyone is coming home from this mission. Once again, Tanya Huff produces another enjoyable book, proving that her talents, normally reserved for fantasy, lend themselves quite well to science fiction. With the Valor series, she’s clearly hitting her stride.

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