Title: The Ethos Effect
Author: L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
Publish Date: 2003
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
Genre: Science Fiction
Sub-Genre: Space Travel, Starships, Advanced Technology, Advanced Medical, Advanced Weapons, Religion, Ethics, Alien Species, Terra-forming, Armed Conflict, Diplomacy, Assassination, Genocide, Racism, Clones, Immortality, Politics, Space Empires
In the galaxy of the future, several Empires vie for control of the smaller systems that still maintained their independence. Van Albert was an officer and ship commander before he was severely wounded during an assassination attempt that he foiled.
The Republic retired him after that since he was wounded so badly. But he is able to obtain a position with a foundation based in coalition-controlled parts of the galaxy, piloting a starship and delivering assistance to those that could afford the foundation’s information services.
The Revenants are aggressive in their religious pursuits and take over system after system economically, then physically. The other Empires don’t want a repeat of the intergalactic war that killed millions, so the Revenant expansion is tolerated by all.
But now, Van is a problem. The Republic doesn’t like him because he’s a ‘dark’ Taran and looks different. The Revenants hate him because he foiled their assassination attempt. An assassin has been dispatched.
Van Albert was born a dark-skinned Taran citizen on the planet Sulyn. He joined the Republic Space Force and became one of the few dark Tarans to command a starship. He was also very intuitive and observant.
He learned very quickly and acted just as fast. But the RSF thought he was a threat because he could figure out situations quickly from limited knowledge. The RSF was struggling to get new spaceships and if Van kept doing well with his old ship, it would be hard to get them approved. But if his ship was destroyed by an enemy because it was too outdated to defend itself, that would be another story.
Van survives the attack and is later approached to join the IIS Foundation as a pilot to help businesses throughout the galaxy, in any of the Empires and Independent Systems. His job is to supply information to help them prosper and grow.
One of the Empires begins pushing itself on the outer fringe systems harder and those people in the systems that do not conform are enslaved and sent for “re-education”. But the other Empires seem to be just standing on the sidelines, content to watch as long as they are not directly affected by the advances or attacked.
But Van finds out that the IIS ships are much more than just courier ships. They have the capabilities of light space cruisers. Van wonders why that is so as he takes command of a newly commissioned, more powerful one of his own.