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A Just Determination (JAG in Space, #1)
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A Just Determination (JAG in Space #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  826 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Fresh from the Academy, Ensign Paul Sinclair has been assigned to the warship USS Michaelson, whose mission is to stop any foreign vessels from violating U.S. sovereign space.When Captain Peter Wakeman mistakenly destroys a civilian science- ship perceived as hostile, Sinclair must testify against Wakeman at a court-martial hearing. But Sinclair believes that the severity ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 29th 2003 by Ace
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Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Interesting blend of hard SF and legal drama. Ensign Paul Sinclair’s first ship assignment is on the USS Michaelson, where, in addition to his other duties, he acts as the ship's legal officer. The naval dialogue seems quite realistic, and were it not for a few references to space stuff, one might think they were aboard a modern day Navy ship. Except there was not one “fuck” in the entire book. So maybe in the future they have eliminated all swearing; yeah, right.

The Michaelson’s captain Wakefie
2.0 to 2.5 stars. This was a tough book for me to rate because I liked the "realistic" approach to both life aboard a Navy ship as well as the detailed aspects of the "court martial" that is at the heart of the story. I also liked the main character, Paul Sinclair.

The reason for the rating of just "okay" was because I thought the writing was a bit simplistic (maybe geared towards a younger audience) and the way the story unfolded didn't hold my interest as much as I thought it would. I am a fan
Jan 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book! This is the Navy in space and the author is obviously well versed with the military. Our main character, Paul, is the legal officer aboard a spaceship and finds himself embroiled in a court-martial. Really liked the main character and his determination to act with integrity. Although it appears to be in the sci-fi category, I'd actually describe it as military drama. No aliens here! :-) This is actually the same author as the Lost Fleet series but with those he writes u ...more
Mar 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Okay, this book combines three of my favorite genres--the courtroom thriller, science fiction, and sea fiction/Navy fiction. This book quite literally appeals to all three.

Set at the end of this century, (the 2000s), the US and various other countries have "claimed" various parts of the Solar System as "theirs." The United States Navy has extended its mission into space, and, the result is a mixture of the familiar--naval ranks, naval procedures, etc.--and the futuristic (an amazingly designed s
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I heard about this at JordanCon, and as a sci-fi fan, veteran, and law student, I thought it sounded really interesting. It turned out to be a pretty good book. While it's not gritty, super-technical, or long, I think it could easily wind up on recommended reading lists for cadets and officers in training.

The story follows a newly assigned ensign on his first cruise in the US Navy space fleet. I enjoyed the story of him learning the ropes abroad ship, and getting to know the other people on the
Aug 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Military science fiction and law! The combination just appealed. (I am, of course, someone who read a tome on the U.S. Supreme Court history for fun)

I got exactly the story I predicted from that simple description. There was nothing unexpected about this book except perhaps the unflinching portrayals of incompetents in the Navy. They seemed a bit cartoonish, but sadly I could accept that people with issues this severe could indeed make it through the military ranks. Ensign Paul Sinclair, of cour
Jun 11, 2011 rated it liked it
The first book in the “JAG in Space” series is a short and neat novel about a young ensign, an incident, and a court martial. Hemry delivers a page turner. Not the heaviest reading, to be sure, but there are depths between the lines. There is in fact quite a decent coming of age story between the covers.

I am always partial to books where I can identify with and feel sympathetic with the characters. Hemry is excellent at making the reader (well, this reader at least) identify with protagonist Pau
Angie Boyter
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read in print in 2011 and listened with David in 2016. Very nice "read" for a car trip! Nice characters and great extrapolation of naval culture to the future space navy.
Reading again for my SF group October 2016.
Steven Allen
I was very dubious reading this book despite the fact that I love the author's space opera when writing as Jack Campbell. Soured by super JAG from TV where the JAG officer flies F-14s, is a former SEAL, and is just so awesome as to defy mere mortals such as admirals, full-bird captains, and fleet commodores.

This book was fairly good, but gets a little tedious with all of the legal wrangling in the court. I really like the interaction between the characters and the character development.

My one co
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Summary: Really well written and thoughtful book, the plot is weak and the action thin, but the premise is excellent

Plotline: Very simple plot but superbly presented

Premise: Totally believable, but not very far in the future

Writing: Simple, very descriptive, the detail is breathtaking

Ending: Predictable but satisfactory

Pace: Never a dull moment!
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
It was fine. More courtroom procedures than actual "space". Not my favorite Jack Campbell/John G. Henry book. I don't feel compelled to listen to the next in the series. If I run out of anything else...
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
3.5 stars

I liked the story and the characters. It was just a litte to wordy and technical for me. Also an appendix for some the "navy language" would have been great.

Brandon Cord Bradshaw
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
this book and the entire seres are too short
Online Eccentric Librarian
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, audiobook

More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog

As a fan of the Lost Fleet series, I was happy to get the Audible version of this book from a recent sale. As expected from the author, we have a story of a personable and decent guy in a military world where people are people - good and bad. Most of the book is the main character acclimating to life on his new ship; it is near the end that an event happens and we go through a realistic type of military trial. Our protag
Dan Thompson
Jul 31, 2012 rated it liked it
This one started weak but ended strong.

The basic tale is that a young ensign goes out on his first assignment in the space navy. While the ship is out on its tour, something happens, and it results in an investigation and trial for another officer. The stuff on board the ship and out on the patrol did not thrill me and in several cases it outright annoyed me. However, the investigation and the trial were top notch. The legal stuff was precise, engaging, and it seemed real. The space stuff, no, n
Jeffrey Grant
Oct 06, 2014 rated it liked it
It’s often very easy to tell whether a new military sci-fi author has ever served in the military, even if one is not familiar with the operational realities of military life oneself. Usually it comes down to jargon. If the jargon in the books is sparse and largely made up, chances are the author didn’t serve. If the jargon is prevalent and a lot of it “dates back centuries”, you’ve got a veteran.

Hemry nee Campbell wrote this book (and the associated series) before his more well-known “Lost Fle
Peter Tillman
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an unusual mil-SF novel. Really, it's just barely SF, and might better be termed a naval procedural -- and very nicely-done, too. In 2098, Ensign Paul Sinclair's first duty assignment is aboard the USS Michaelson CLE(S)-3, a long-endurance space cruiser, newly-deployed to patrol American-claimed space. Young Sinclair suffers through the agonies of on-the-job officer training -- trials that will bring a twinge of sympathy from anyone who's started out green in a demanding job with a diffi ...more
Jeff Yoak
May 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
This novel exhibits what is coming to seem a pattern in Henry / Campbell's books of amazing settings and characterization and a so-so plot. Very, very little happens in the story, but the backdrop is amazing. The nickname "JAG In Space" is apt. The story centers on the trial of a captain following questionable actions in combat. What is interesting about the story isn't the combat event or even an emotional stake in the outcome of the trial but in seeing modern military court practice extended t ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty and realistic

I've read all of his lost fleet series so I decided to give this a try and it wasn't exactly what I expected but I like it. A different but more realistic world.
Mary Catelli
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ensign Paul Sinclair, newly assigned to the space ship Michaelson, arrives there to take up his duties, and get the collateral duty, among others, of legal officer. Which means that after he has met the captain and been thoroughly less than impressed with his character, he gets the job of reviewing their orders and the vast discretion the captain has under them.

The particular orders are to patrol a section of space the United States claims and deal with any attempts to contest its sovereignity.
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. I have recently started really enjoying military novels set in the future. While A Just Determination is exactly that, it is also a novel from the perspective of Paul Sinclair.

Paul is a young man just starting his career as a naval officer. On his first assignment on the USS Michaelson Paul's captain, a self-centered man trying to advance himself more than do his duty, makes an error that costs a group of civilians their lives.

Having been assigned duty as the ship's leg
***Dave Hill
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: text
Having been on a Jack Campbell binge of late, I decided to try one of his earlier series -- in this case, the "JAG in Space" books. And I'm pleased I did, because there's a stolid freshness in this series that's long since gone out of the "Lost Fleet" saga.

The novel follows the maiden voyage of a new Space Navy ensign aboard an unhappy light cruiser. In addition to his regular duties, he's given the assignment of ship's legal officer -- a role that gets him into the thick of things when the cap
Nick Brett
Feb 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Originally published under the name John G Hemry and given a major re-issue and facelift by the publishers here in the UK.

This is a simple and almost moralistic story but it is very readable.

New Ensign joins his spaceship and is given duties as the ship's legal officer. When the Captain orders the destruction of a perceived attacking ship later proved to be harmless he is subject to a court-marshal. Young Ensign Sinclair takes a career risk by acting as a witness for the defence.....

The author's
Victoria Gaile
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Victoria by: Angie
A clunky space navy YA: few pleasant characters, overdrawn cartoonish villains, and lapses into preachiness, especially near the end. (Note that I'm carefully distinguishing idealism, which I like, from preachiness, which I don't care for except in 19th century novels.)

I was annoyed that (view spoiler)
J.A. Dalley
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Jack Campbell has served in the Navy and knows that navy life isn't very exciting. Campbell describes the day to day life a young ensign straight out of the Navy Academy. Campbell has also obviously read the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) and the JAGMAN (Judge Advocate General's Manual) and the Manual for Courts-Martial because he depicts a very realistic court room environment.

The only bad thing I have to say about this book is that A Just Determination is a lot like the Caine Mutiny
Lynn Robert
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An impressive start to a series

I really enjoyed his "Lost Fleet" series and the spin offs from it, so I decided to back up and try the Paul Sinclair series. Excellent decision. A real page turner that kept me up too late and had me delaying the start of the next day. I was unable to do what I normally do and that's read a chapter or two each evening... It was that good. I found the main characters to be real and believable. While the Captain in the story was rather mono-dimensional, that was als
Lynette ~ Escaping Reality – One Book at a Time ~
Campbell writes a good story. He knows what he's talking about, and he expertly describes the day-to-day life of an ensign in the (space) Navy. It really was a fascinating and engaging book! At the beginning it felt like there'd be so much science, it would be impossible to find the fction. But that quickly got resolved. It was a genuinely fun read. The romance, however? Not Campbell's forte. At all. It seemed to forced and last minute. It seemed more like a relationship of convenience rather th ...more
Suzanne Moses
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was enthusiastic about this series even though I'm not always a fan of space opera. JAG in SPAAAACE! The world building is excellent and the plot is intriguing. Characters have a lot of potential. Unfortunately, the writing is pretty horrible. I was especially disturbed at the inner monologues... nobody actually talks like that to themselves and in dialogue heavy scenes it was sometimes difficult to tell which character was speaking. The exposition was heavy handed as well. My first real space ...more
Booknerd Fraser
I think Hemry did a great job with characters in this book, much better than the Lost Fleet series, even though this was earlier, and it's a very clear-eyed view of the Navy, which he clearly has affection for, but doesn't wrap things in sanctimonious patriotism. My only real question is : why is this a science-fiction novel? Is it because Hemry's ideals (and he's CLEARLY idealistic, both here and with the Lost Fleet) and writing style (which more in keeping with an advanced "young adult" level, ...more
Jason Murphy
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hard sci-fi, believable (based on the real navy) space military, correct legal proceedings? For me the only reason this didn't get 5 stars is because the writing seemed... Off. Its something I've noticed with a lot of his books but John G. Hemry seems to have a problem describing how anything looks: characters, ships, space stations? Almost nothing has even a quick description so characters without pronounced personalities are quickly forgotten. The best I can remember for the main ship in the s ...more
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Other Books in the Series

JAG in Space (4 books)
  • Burden of Proof (JAG in Space, #2)
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