Chain of Command by Frank Chadwick
Lieutenant Sam Bitka, U.S. Naval Reserve, is getting used to civilian life when he is called back to active duty. Tensions between Earth and the alien Varoki are on the rise, and Sam is assiged as tactical officer aboard the deep space destroyer USS Puebla. Dispatched to the distant world of K’tok to protect human colonists, he wants nothing more than to serve out his active duty time and get back to his civilian life.
But when the Varoki launch a crippling surprise attack against the Earth coalition fleet, Sam finds himself suddenly in command of the USS Puebla, a job he is far from certain he can discharge successfully. What’s more, mounting evidence points to a much larger and more sinister alien plan.
Now, Sam must deal with faltering leadership in the human task force and an alien enemy who always seems one step ahead of them. Time for Sam to step up and rise to the challenge of command.
Chain of Command is a solid, military scifi novel. There is an impressive number of engaging, believable characters. Though the story is told mostly from Sam’s point of view and occasionally alternating to the Varoki.
Chadwick is a prolific author, but this is a standalone novel that I had no trouble jumping into. Packed with exciting space battles and political intrigue – this was a fun, well-paced story. Events build to a thrilling ending with plenty of surprises along the way.