The Truth of Valor by Tanya Huff – Review

Book Jacket:

The “rousing military adventure” (Locus) continues with a brand-new Valor novel.

Former Marine Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr is attempting to build a new life with salvage operator Craig Ryder on his ship, the Promise. Turns out civilian life is a lot rougher than she’d imagined – salvage operators are losing both cargo and lives to pirates. And when they attack the Promise, Craig is taken prisoner and Torin is left for dead.

When Torin finds out why the pirates needed Craig, she calls in the Marines to get him back-and to stop the pirates from changing the balance of power in known space.


This is the fifth book in Tanya Huff’s Valor series and Torin continues to be one of the most terrifyingly competent women in Sci Fi. Which needless to say is a whole lot of fun.

In a nice change of pace for the series, Torin is out of uniform and trying to adjust to civilian life – naturally things don’t stay dull for long as pirates descent into the void left by the end of the war and run headfirst into Torin.

Torin’s voice is my favorite part of this series, tough with a sprinkling of humor:

All of the children and most of the adults in the market stared openly at her. Most of the stares were speculative, those who recognized her passing the news on to those who didn’t. Some of the adults seemed openly hostile. Until they were in a position to open fire, Torin didn’t give a H’san’s ass about hostile. No one ever bled out as the result of a pissy expression.

I really like Torin’s emotional struggle in this book. For the first time she is off balance, struggling to once again assume her Gunnery Sergeant persona in order to attempt an impossible rescue without military support or backup, only her rage threatens her control. She has to be rational to get the job done, but it’s never been harder for her to lock it down. Torin has to walk the line between action that is necessary and action that has no place outside of a war zone – when is killing justified, without the rules of war? Where is the line she can’t cross?

The piracy plot was thoroughly competent – though I admit, Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War series is still my favorite take on space pirates – and while I’m not a huge fan of the narrative split between good guys and bad guys (Mercedes Lackey also does this all the time), I understand why it was necessary, plot-wise. I loved seeing Torin out of her natural habitat, and I appreciate the break from the overarching alien mythology – but while I was enjoyably entertained by this book, I wasn’t blown away. Still, the detailed mix of alien species and cultures in this series remains utterly fascinating, and Huff’s military experience gives just the right flavor to Torin’s NCO humor and attitude. Torin is definitely who we’d all like to have our back when the shit hits the fan. Plus the last page provides a fun ominous note that sets the stage for future installments.

The Truth of Valor is a solid, entertaining read. For fans of the series, this book is everything you could wish for. For new readers in search of a healthy dose of space opera, you’ll probably be confused if you start here – I strongly recommend that you go back and start with book one (Valor’s Choice).

Byrt grade: A-

As Levar Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…

Angela James at Goodreads says:

I really had no idea what to expect from this book, since book 4 had seemed to really tie up the story arc. But Ms. Huff did a fantastic job of pulling us back into Torin’s world and investing us in what happens next. Let me start by saying that if you’re a fan of space opera, kick ass heroines and you’re looking for something new to read, I encourage you to pick up book one of this series.

Only the Best Sci Fi says (of the Confederation series):

I truly enjoyed this series. From its quick pace, to the flawless interactions between radically different species, there is something in here for everyone. The tech aspects of the books are slightly glossed, which might disappoint some of you reading this, but they remain perfectly credible. The focus is fixed, throughout, on social and physical interactions. Coupled with some flawless military lingo you get the impression that you’re just out of boot-camp and looking for Kerr to save your life at every turn.