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Virtues of War (Virtues of War #1)

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  144 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Winner - CBR Cygnus Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy

Virtues of War offers a glimpse of humanity’s possible future, of our expansion into space and the cultural and emotional baggage that we will take with us. Within an action-packed, high-tech setting with cutting edge science and fantastic worldscapes, the story explores the effects of physical and psychological warf
Paperback, 400 pages
Published February 17th 2011 by
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 999)
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I like a good adventure sci-fi story with action now and then, and Coles pretty much delivers that with Virtues of War, the first in a planned trilogy. For being a dense book, though, I would have expected a bit more character development than what is present. After a while, the battle sequences sort of start to bleed into one another and there is not always a clear sense of difference between planets and ships other than names being mentioned. The story is much more about the action than world ...more
Chanticleer Editorial  Book Reviews
A sci-fi thriller of physical and psychological combat, Virtues of War sends readers hurtling through space to find that our warlike nature has survived intact into the 26th century. This is no Star Trek mission of exploration, and there are no aliens: only long-established colonies in the Centauri system rebelling against Terran rule. Humankind’s technological evolution may have continued at breakneck speed, but social evolution has yet to catch up.

Lt. Katja Emmes, fast-attack strike leader of
Jonathon Green
Aug 10, 2015 Jonathon Green rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Val Walton
Jun 05, 2013 Val Walton rated it it was amazing

I don’t often read science fiction but I enjoyed this book a lot. It was very fast paced and the action flowed into more action so quickly it was hard to find a time to put it down. I kept thinking I’ll stop at the next chapter.

Although it happened somewhere in deep space Katja reminded me of Hornblower in the way she learned to grow as a leader and fight battles in ways that were totally unexpected both to their enemies and her own side. Only in deep space the maneuvers were easier to underst
Apr 15, 2016 Randy rated it it was amazing
I have to say right up front that, Virtues of War is a really good science fiction read. For me, one of the defining qualities of a science fiction novel is its believability. To accomplish this, an author should provide a range of details that are consistent and have a measure of depth. Bennett Coles is a good wordsmith and his military background clearly is beneficial in this regard. He is able to take what he knows in current times and then convincingly use these technical understandings and ...more
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scott

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott

With the exception of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, and Joseph Haldeman’s Forever War, never have I read an up and coming author like Bennett R. Coles, literally topple and overcome his predecessors in the genre of military soft science fiction, in his book Virtues of War. The Jolting hi-tension action, and edge of your seat suspense, in this hard hitting, action filled, novel, leaves you wanting for more. Luckily this i
Aug 25, 2015 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Well choreographed battle scenes (though the business with "branes" and "peets" left me befuddled), but the stuff between is pretty dull. Moreover, the story's rampant sexism spoiled it for me. Sure, the author pays lip service by placing men and women both in combat and officer roles, but of the four central characters the two men are basically faking it until they make it, which is OK, one of the women is a Murderous Bitch (who, to be fair, does moderate her bloodthirstiness as time goes on) a ...more
D.F. Haley
Feb 15, 2016 D.F. Haley rated it it was ok
I read this genre frequently but cannot remember a case where the brave and heroic protagonists are less appealing. As Jonathan says in his review, every featured character is sleazy or ethically challenged. Our heroine, Katje casually kills and tortures civilians, and slays her captured prisoners of war, with few regrets. Her commander sleeps with his subordinates and calculates his military strategy largely based on how it will benefit him personally. In fact the command structure all seem to ...more
Aidan-Paul Canavan
Apr 06, 2016 Aidan-Paul Canavan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
Action packed military SF novel that is smart, well paced, and a blast to read. Coles’ characters are fascinating flawed heroes who are balancing their personal lives and ambitions with their duties as serving officers. Given the plentiful action, it is surprisingly insightful and joins the ranks of great military SF like Haldeman’s Forever War and Heinlein’s Starship Troopers.

Forthcoming full review at
James Murphy
Dec 09, 2015 James Murphy rated it really liked it
If you're looking for some kick-ass military science fiction, look no further than "Virtues of War." A couple of Earth colonies are indulging in weapons smuggling, and an element of an Earth expeditionary force is investigating. The colonies in question resent the presence of Earth forces and, before you can say "lock and load," the shooting starts. But there's more to this book than pulse-pounding combat. Author Bennett R. Coles throws in some interesting characters: a female infantry lieutenan ...more
Aug 29, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
In the far future of Bennett R. Coles’ Virtues of War, Earth’s colonies are in rebellion. The politics of the rebellion are a little fuzzy, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter are space battles and futuristic ground combat. Not that the story and characters take a back seat to the action, but there is plenty of action. The story follows several up and coming officers of the Astral Force as they combat insurgents, rebellious colonies, and sometimes one another. This is Military SF done rig ...more
Bennett Coles
Jul 08, 2015 Bennett Coles rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I'm the author, so obviously I love the book. But I thought I'd take this opportunity to share a couple of early reviews that Virtues of War received.

From The Times, 26 November 2010, by David Kyle:

This first book is a promising beginning to a new military SF series. Set several centuries into the future, it pits Earth-based troops against the largest colony. The roots of the conflict are murky and may well be explained more satisfactorily in future books but the small cast of fleet office
Colin Mallard
Oct 26, 2013 Colin Mallard rated it really liked it
I read “Virtues of War” followed by “Casualties of War,” and since the reading was a single event, this review covers both books.

It took me a while to get into the first book as military science fiction was not something I’d explored before. When I stopped trying to remember what the acronyms meant, I slipped into the story. There was a shift from laws governed by gravity to laws, different laws, operating in space.

Time and distance were immense and there was a sense of a universe so large it w
Dusan Milatovic
Jul 23, 2012 Dusan Milatovic rated it really liked it
"Virtues" may be categorized as a blend of Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" and Clancy's "Red October" submarine warfare transposed to deep space. Ben Coles, the author, has put his experience in the Navy to good use describing strategy between space armadas as well as the tactics of hand-to-hand non-nuclear combat.

The "good guys" are led by the initially inexperienced female protagonist set out to prove herself. After surmounting a series of nail-bitingly lopsided odds, she ends up with nothing l
Yuan Jur
May 08, 2016 Yuan Jur rated it it was amazing
Vivid and hard hitting, if you’re into Sci Fi military sagas, Virtues of War is one series you will want on the shelf. It's a cracking good story written as fiction from an author with real military background. The characters are much more than two D, they jump off the page. Each character holding a leading role more than hold up as a force in their own rite. Get into Virtues of War, you won't be sorry!
Jun 13, 2012 Kevin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I won a signed copy of Virtues of War as a first reads winner.

This book was very well written. I am not traditionally a sci-fi reader, but Virtues of War has great characters to sink your teeth into and a fast-paced plot line that kept me turning pages. The scientific explanations, which I find plodding and boring in most of the other books in the genre that I have read, are brief and concise. The plot is concerned with a military expedition force in another solar system and the intricacies of a
Jul 13, 2015 Pat rated it really liked it
Constantly in search of good military sci-fi I took a chance on this download from Amazon, and it is a winner.
Feb 10, 2015 Kole added it
Awesome book, I love this genre and can't wait for the next one!
Howard Breen
Jun 14, 2012 Howard Breen rated it really liked it
Engrossing read, taut writing, vivid detail and futurology. Believable characterization and beautifully crafted. The ending was solidly suspenseful. To be honest, I was surprised, as this sic-fi military sub-genre, isn't usually my first grab. That said, having read Ben Coles breakthrough novel I'll read his next without hesitation or reservation. I expect to take along an oxygen mask for what I hope will be another breathless quantum leap into increasing military action in zero-g, and resolutio ...more
Jul 14, 2015 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I was pleased to have won 'Virtues of War' in the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

I seldom read the sci fi genre and this is the first military sci fi I've read. I really enjoyed this book which had plenty of action, and shall be looking out for more books by this author.
Heather Westing
Jul 02, 2012 Heather Westing rated it it was amazing
All I can say is: wow! Sci-fi isn't usually my genre, but this book just grabbed a hold of me and swept me along for the ride. The military terminology was just detailed enough to make me feel like I was wearing a helmet myself, but not so over-the-top as to be overwhelming. Katja Emmes is one of the most powerful, vulnerable and believable heroines I've ever met, and the cast of characters around her brought this far-future world vividly to life. I can't wait for the sequel!
Mike Toth
Mar 09, 2013 Mike Toth rated it it was amazing
Good first novel with good character development. For some, the inner workings and personal maneuverings might be too much; if you want more battles and less conversation. Because of the character development it is easy to develop strong opinions of the main characters and at times, I found myself utterly disgusted with several of them. Good writing. I look forward to the next effort to see where things go from there both in the story line as well as with Cole's authoring skills.
Jun 04, 2015 Silea rated it liked it
Shelves: vine, arc, fiction
Over the (presumably) hundreds of years it took for humans to develop terraforming, interstellar travel, and gravity weapons, the only evolution of culture was to homogenize on USA-circa-2010.
Lawrence Verigin
This is the first military Sci-Fi book I have ever read and now it won't be the last. The future civilization Mr. Coles has created is believable and exciting. I really got into it. The characters were engaging and the story fast paced. Very well written. Highly recommend it! Looking forward to the second book.
Lawrence Verigin, author of Dark Seed
May 08, 2012 Greg rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

The action sequences were superbly written and the visuals were also well described. The world the author created was completely believable. Well fleshed out characters made it that I had trouble putting the book down because I couldn't wait to find out what happened next!

I can't wait for the sequel...
Aug 29, 2012 James rated it it was amazing
Excellent! Engrossing and leaves you wanting more. I am not a fast reader by any stretch of the imagination, but I wasn't able to put this down and finished it in a week (probably close to a record for me!!!)Bennett R. Coles
Chris Overes
Jul 18, 2012 Chris Overes rated it it was amazing
Great read and recommend to anybody who likes Sci-fi. Working in the military field the lingo and detail was realistic and easy to understand.
Characters were complex and beleivable and didn't know if I should love them or hate them
Dan Green
Mar 31, 2016 Dan Green rated it really liked it
took a little while to get into this and like any of the characters, but ended up really enjoying the book
Dariusz Zak
Dariusz Zak rated it really liked it
May 26, 2016
Kade marked it as to-read
May 25, 2016
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