Too long, too unfocused, too much of a retread,
This review is from: Storm from the Shadows (Mass Market Paperback)
What might have been an attempt to tell the "untold story" of events in the Talbott Cluster instead gets bogged down in trying to retell events from every perspective. Definitely a case of "Successful Author Bloat" as this is over 1000 pages but except for the events in the Cluster, most of it is a retelling of events depicted in either "At All Costs" or "Mission of Honor" (indeed, a couple of passages seem to be lifted directly from other books). A sharper focus on any of the characters (Michelle Henke, Ensign Zilwicki or even the "Bad Guys" like Admiral Byng or the Detweilers) would have kept the page count down and the pace up.
This (and its prequel, "Shadow of Saganami") do is to realign the series from the Havenite War to the grand showdown between Manticore and Haven against the Solarian League (an an attempt to get at their Puppetmasters, the Mesan Alignment). Unfortunately, even that isn't terribly successful. Unlike the Havenite War where the sides were clear Expies for real countries (Manticore/Britain, Haven/France, Andermani/Prussia) the League has no real world analogue, because it seems unlikely it could ever exist - a vast army (well, navy in this case) pretty much necessitates a strong central authority, which the Solarian League lacks. Of course, this is exactly what the Mesan Alignment is attempting to exploit by throwing the Solarian Navy at Manticore in order to wipe them both out and give birth to their own Empire from the ruins (a latter day Confederacy, complete with its own version of Slavery). Although you have to wonder quite why the Mesans feel the need to do so, given their ability to get the League to dance to their tune, without anyone shooting at them (or to a large extent, being aware of their existence). You'd think a race of genetic supermen wouldn't feel the need to have the trappings of "De Jure" power when they seem to possess all the "De Facto" power they could want - I guess in all their tinkering, they still haven't elimiated the desire to be seen to be superior as well as actually being so.
If you're a completist this might have some interest, but you do have to wade through a lot of stuff you'll have already seen. Otherwise, you won't miss much by skipping this entirely.