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Once A Hero (The Serrano Legacy, #4)
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Once A Hero (The Serrano Legacy #4)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  4,562 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
Fast-paced science fiction adventure which will appeal to the David Feintuch audience.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published 2000 by Orbit (first published 1997)
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Carolyn F.
I loved this book. I like my sci-fi with a few space battles, some time on-planet, and a little romance. This had them all. I'm hoping that Esmay is in more of the books in this series, although she isn't a Serrano.
Feb 25, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xmas-2007
I'm having a hard time reconciling the reviews for this book with this book. My standards for Space Opera are not especially high, but this thing is an incoherent mess.

It starts out as a military courtroom drama, referring back to the events of (I hope) another book. It morphs into a clumsy soldier returns home/ fish out of water story, turns into a military maintenance procedural before becoming a fairly unambitious actioner, before changing back into a trauma recovery story with a romance sta
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Jun 26, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As with too many military sci fi, this book uses sexual violence as a cop out for actual character depth.
Beth Cato
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: serrano
After a break, I'm continuing with the Serrano Legacy series by Elizabeth Moon. The first three books on Heris Serrano--though good--were a bit of a disappointment. I was pleased to find this book, continuing the series with a bit character from WINNING COLORS, was much better and more scifi opera in the style of her later Vatta's War series.[return][return]Esmay Suiza didn't intend to be a hero. But when her spaceship was captained by a traitor, she and others rose in mutiny. Esmay ended up as ...more
Aug 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first of the Familias books I read, and in many ways the best. Not necessarily a good thing. In some ways, this book is an attempt to breathe new life into the series, leaving the played out tales of Heris Serrano behind and moving to a newer and less defined character. It suffers from having to do all the development work in a single book. There are a number of all-too-obvious foreshadowing elements, but these don't ruin the story. I enjoyed the book for what I enjoy other Moon boo ...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Sep 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Much better than the first three books - and much darker. I suppose I'd put in a trigger warning for rape or childhood sexual assault on this, but it is not at all graphic, just a very difficult thing Esmay learns she needs help to deal with it. I quite like that this is an SF book strongly proclaiming that getting help for mental health is not a weakness. Some excellent military SF elements included too: watch for the EVA walk on the outside of a ship during FTL! Really cool visuals in that, pl ...more
Barbara Brien
Oct 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, top
I'm starting to think that no one appreciates this book the way I do. I love, love, love this book. Why? It speaks to me, of greatness thrust upon you, of vulnerability, of the family you are born to and the family you acquire, of overcoming trauma, of seeing the big picture, and of taking control of your own life.

When I first read this book, I identified with the main character, as someone who had experienced too many of the same events she did, and needed to learn some of the things she did.
Scott Holstad
Call me completely dumb, but I read a full 300 pages of this novel before giving up because it had gotten so progressively STUPID. God, it was a stupid and boring novel. This was my first Elizabeth Moon novel and I had always heard pretty good things about her, but this was not a good introduction to her work for me. When I bought this, I didn't know that this was the fourth book in a large series. It would have helped to read the preceding book and from what I could tell, the preceding book wou ...more
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, audiobook-2016
Slight bit cartoonish, but a good read nonetheless.

Esmay Suiza introduced in the previous novel as the green as grass junior lieutenant who stopped the mutiny on her ship and came back to help is now the main character. Being naturally reserved both in character and culture she rather disliking her newfound status as a Hero.

After endless scrutiny on the military side, a far more personal story begins. A story with a few clicés, but gripping and intense. You dive into her past and slowly discov
Dana Stabenow
Jul 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am constantly amazed and as a writer humbled by the mastery of absolutely convincing detail that Elizabeth Moon displays in her Vatta and Serrano series, without ever neglecting character or letting the detail get in the way of the plot. No matter how minute the detail (three leaky tubes of adhesive) it always goes somewhere (the disabling of an enemy ship and the complete rout of an entire barbarian horde). This is one of her best yet.
Jack Gardner
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Great Story Telling -- Great Characters

"Once A Hero" and the earlier novels of the Heris Serrano series ("Hunting Party," is the first) are great. Moon comes from a family of Marines, went through officers training school herself, has degrees in history and biology, is a volunteer medical technician, loves horses, and believes women can fulfill military roles. All of this brings color and originality to her novels; which remind me of the "Horatio Hornblower" novels -- which is saying a lot.

Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many years ago, I read The Adventures of Paksenarrion, which I enjoyed so much I named my cat after the heroine. For some reason, I did not search out every other book written by the author, and indeed, over time forgot the author's name until I was recently reminded, and informed she also wrote sci-fi.

This book is nothing like what I expected, and far better than anything I could've hoped for. Apparently it's part of a series (which I realized after finishing it), so it's possible the recent h
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
TRIGGER WARNING: sexual assault.

i wish i’d had warning this book would be such a trigger. it’s written so well that things i have never experienced were traumatising me. and the subsequent therapy sessions in the book equally healed me.

a total departure from the Serranos. Lt. Suiza is the young woman whose story we follow and she is utterly charming. this book was extremely enjoyable for the great characters, inventive environment (a massive city sized repair ship). and exciting story. however t
Janet Sketchley
Esmay is a great character, and I thoroughly enjoyed most of this book. For me, the Bloodhorde enemies were too disturbing in their thoughts and actions, and I ended up skipping their sections. I'm disappointed not to be able to carry on with the characters into the next novel, because I don't often find characters I like as much as Esmay, or science fiction action this fun. For those a little less sensitive, it's a great read. Mostly clean, too. There's one particularly offensive word and some ...more
Falynn - the TyGrammarSaurus Rex
I really enjoyed this book - best of the series so far. Lots of fun action but also a few serious issues too.
Robert Gluck
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent writing, gripping story, psychologically insightful. I look forward to reading more from Elizabeth Moon.
Stefano Amadei
Aug 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Monotono ripete per oltre duecento pagine gli stessi tre concetti ok che è la prima parte di penso tre romanzi ma credo che duecentosessantasei pagine per presentare un fatto e un personaggio anche se è la protagonista sono troppi. I cattivi praticamente inconsistenti. Una palla al piede non finirò la saga questo è certo.
Jun 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy a good SciFi novel; especially one that features a woman who is strong and can take things in stride, learning along the way, etc. I also enjoy the whole SciFi feel - the space travel, the talk of FTL travel, all the little gadgetry - nano bots, etc - that go into a book concerning the future and all the possibilities. It's even better when it's obvious that the author knows his or her science but DOES NOT ram it down our throats in the form of pages and pages of science lectures and ''l ...more
Steven Allen
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always enjoyed Moon's SciFi writing. Although I discovered her writing through her Paksenarrion fantasy books, I also love her SciFi as well. Moon writes excellent woman characters in charge without sounding like misandrist. Her men are just as capable as the women, and I believe Moon does an excellent job of having neither sex over shadow the other. Thankfully, her writing is romance-light and has enough combat and intrigue to keep my attention. Some may complain about the beginning of t ...more
"Once a Hero" by Elizabeth Moon was a pretty good book. Just finished it. This is my first Elizabeth Moon novel. I decided to pick up one of her books after hearing an interview of her on Seems like a nice lady... living right here in Austin, Texas!

This is military science fiction. A 2nd Lt find herself in the middle of a mutiny. The Captain is a traitor and is taking the ship out of battle...running. The senior officers object and a mutiny ensues. After intense battle only the jun
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
This and the next three novels in the Serrano Legacy tell the story of Esmay Suiza, who is first introduced in the third novel, Winning Colours. Of the series, I personally prefer the Suiza novels which, whilst still sitting firmly in the space opera genre, also provide a bit of space adventure/action. Esmay is a dedicated and bright lieutenant, and certainly made for an interesting, engaging, and enjoyable character to read/follow.

However, I felt it did, on occasion, slightly stretch the bounds
Robert 'Rev. Bob'
Structurally, this book is kind of an odd duck. It functions both as a sequel to the Heris Serrano trilogy that precedes it and as the beginning of a new series that stars a different character. As such, there are a few sharp edges. I had read the first three books some time ago - long enough that I was essentially coming to this one cold - and as a result, the court-martial that takes up a large chunk of the beginning of this book felt both confusing and overlong. If I'd come into this book fre ...more
David Blue
Mar 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a fondness for space opera, and an interest in them with female heros. David Weber's Honor Harrington series comes to mind, but for my money this second half of Elizabeth Moon's Serrano Legacy takes many of the same elements to fashion a genuinely compelling story.

A space opera by its very nature requires world building and this one feels true. As messy and compelling as real life, sans final or simple answers. Esmay Suiza, the central character of these books, seems to me a very human pe
Katie Bee
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books-read
I loved the first three books of this series for Heris and Cecelia. This book drops them entirely, picking up a minor character from the end of Winning Colors (#3) and following her through the fallout of her actions in the fight to defend Xavier.

Loving Heris and Cecelia, I was cautious at first about dropping them for Esmay. But I quickly realized that I loved Esmay just as much. She is a fabulous, complicated character, who's a joy to spend a book with.

A necessary trigger warning: (view spoile
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2017
I love Elizabeth Moon. I love Heris Serrano, too, and I was a bit hesitant about picking up this book, which includes no characters from the previous installments save Ensign Serrano, who made a cameo in Winning Colors, and a brief appearance by Admiral Vida Serrano. I should have known better!

I'm not entirely sure about the structure of this book, which essentially consists of three sections -- the first detailing the court-martial following the actions of the climax of Winning Colors, the seco
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once it gets finally rolling, "Once a Hero" becomes a fast-paced space opera adventure story.

The story is a spinoff from Moon's earlier Heris Serrano trilogy. Esmay Suiza was a minor character whose five pages of fame occurred at the conclusion of "Winning Colors", a junior Lieutenant who ended up briefly in command of the space ship as the senior survivor after a bloody mutiny against its traitorous captain. This story picks up after those events, with Suiza's court-martial (for the mutiny) and
Aug 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was at the bookstore last year and I asked a stranger to recommend something. This is the book he pulled off the shelf for me. The author is a woman with military experience, who is writing about a strong female character. Worth reading!

From Amazon

Elizabeth Moon grew up on the Texas-Mexico border, a voracious reader and early writer. She spent much of her early years in a hardware store where nothing was in shrink-wrap or little plastic containers, and mule collars still hung on the back wall.
Aug 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sffantasy
I really like this book. I read somewhere that she decided to start a new universe with Vatta's War because she thought the Familias Regnant worldbuilding was starting to creak under its own weight, but IMO the only thing that doesn't hold up is the computers (data cubes? Really? It's sort of hard to believe they sounded perfectly reasonable in the 90s, but I know they did, I was there), and the universe is just more fun. I'm much more fond of Space Aristocracies than I am of Space Corporate Plu ...more
Nov 27, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
In a bit of a departure from this series, Heris Serrano is no longer the central character. Instead, we follow Esmay Suiza as she deals with the aftermath of her taking command of a ship following a mutiny, and returning to support Heris in battle. Esmay is an intriguing character, and is obviously dealing with something traumatic in her past, which is gradually revealed throughout the book. While sometimes I was a little sceptical of other characters' willingness to defer to a junior officer's ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add page numbers 2 7 Feb 28, 2013 09:38AM  
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Elizabeth Moon was born March 7, 1945, and grew up in McAllen, Texas, graduating from McAllen High School in 1963. She has a B.A. in History from Rice University (1968) and another in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin (1975) with graduate work in Biology at the University of Texas, San Antonio.

She served in the USMC from 1968 to 1971, first at MCB Quantico and then at HQMC. She marrie
More about Elizabeth Moon...

Other Books in the Series

The Serrano Legacy (7 books)
  • Hunting Party (The Serrano Legacy, #1)
  • Sporting Chance (The Serrano Legacy, #2)
  • Winning Colors (The Serrano Legacy, #3)
  • Rules of Engagement (The Serrano Legacy, #5)
  • Change of Command (The Serrano Legacy, #6)
  • Against the Odds (The Serrano Legacy, #7)

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