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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars

on 10 September 2017
A wonderful writer, great characters and interesting premise.
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on 25 May 2004
This story follows on from - and develops the themes and characters in - 'A Just Determination'. In the first book we were introduced to the junior 'Space Navy' Officer Paul Sinclair. Paul - who has additional duty as 'Ships Legal Officer' - has a strong sense of right and wrong, so that in the first novel he stepped in to defend someone who had been wrongly accused.
In this second Novel, Paul is not quite so junior, has a little more experience in space and has just as strong a sense of justice as before. This time it appears that a wrongdoer is going to get away with - well not quite murder, but manslaughter. Once more he has to examine his concience in order to do the right thing - even at a possible cost to his career and to the affection of his girlfriend.
The whole series is set in a very believable near future - the technology described is plausable and the space environment very credible. But what really sets these novels apart from other military sci-fi - is that it is primarily the people who are at the heart of the plot, not the hardware. Even the second and tertiary characters in the story are fairly well developed and we get to know and love (or hate) them.
If you like Zapp 'em, Blast 'em stories this *may* not be for you (though you might well enjoy it) but it is a very well writen thoughtful account of what it means to be human - even if that human has to cope with being a naval officer in space.
I enjoyed this story very much and look forward to the next one in the set.
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on 6 March 2012
The second entry in the `JAG In Space' series sees a suspicious explosion onboard the space warship the USS Michaelson costing an officer his life, setting in train an investigation to discover why the dead man was working alone at the time of the accident.

Legal officer Paul Sinclair risks everything to expose a cover-up...to find the truth and see justice done.

This is a decent follow up and it is good to see characters like Sinclair's fiancé Jen Shen, Carl Meadows and Kris Denaldo back as well as some new ones like Jen's intimidating father Captain Kay Shen and new crew member Lieutenant Scott Silver into the fray.

There are some nice touches here like the creation of `Greenspace' a galactic offshoot of `Greenpeace.' All the usual Hemry flourishes and touches are present and correct here: believable characterizations and situations against the foreboding backdrop of space.

The action and the `incident' early in the story are handled very well and manage to push the right emotional buttons. You feel the sense of outrage and disbelief of Sinclair and his colleagues at the likelihood of foul play and a possible cover-up at work.

Once again Sinclair is the St George of the piece, a Twenty second century knight off to defeat a new dragon. The courtroom scenes are dramatic with the dialogue rattling along and managing to entertain and convince.

My only minor gripe is that this is a slightly routine adventure for Sinclair despite being handled so well. It does grip but I could not help shake the feeling that perhaps something bigger and more far-reaching than a case of negligence and attempted cover-up was more deserving of the characters here.

It's still very good and ticks all the right boxes. Hemry's many fans will be satisfied with this latest effort but I hope the next time we encounter Sinclair and friends the case is a little more out of the ordinary.
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on 11 March 2012
I have read the first three of the "JAG in Space" series and have enjoyed reading them. For those who don't know, JAG stands for "Judge Advocate General" - and was the title of a very popular American TV series which ran from 1995-2005.
The books chart the journey of a very junior Officer and his life on board one of the US (Space) Navy's ships. The title does not give the whole story as the books do deal with the day to day life of Ensign Paul Sinclair and his colleagues - his duties as an Officer in the Combat section of the ship, and his secondary duty as the ship's Legal Officer. Author Jack Campbell (writing as John G Hemry) uses his experience is the American (wet) Navy to bring a depth to the life of his characters.
A very good read.
I can also recommend the "Lost Fleet" series and the "Stark's War" series by the same author.
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VINE VOICEon 10 February 2012
The second of the author's slightly old fashioned and low key space legal stories.

Here, newly promoted Lieutenant Sinclair gets involved in the investigation to a death on board his ship and once again risks his career to see justice done. Very much the same formula as the first book in the series and hits the spot about as well as that one did. Not much space action or big twists but the same elements of `doing the right thing' by the Navy and your men and standing up to be counted. Very easy and readable but there is the danger that the author is following the formula too much, I will be getting the third, but I hope he has mixed it up a bit.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 November 2004
With Burden of Proof, the follow-up novel to A Just Determination, John G. Hemry cements his position as the best writer of legalistic military science fiction working today. Drawing on his own Naval career, Hemry brings the world of the United States Space Navy of 2100 to vivid life, populating it with some of the most human, realistic, vibrant characters I've ever been introduced to. Paul Sinclair, recently promoted from Ensign to Lieutenant Junior Grade, is a remarkable hero. Committed and hard-working, he cares only about doing his job to the best of his ability and he constantly chides himself for his own small mistakes. While he struggles to live up to the expectations of some of his senior officers, he is on the best of terms with most of his fellow junior officers and the ranks of enlisted men and women, actively seeking the advice of those around him and always acting in the most thoughtful, ethical of ways.
Things are going pretty well for Paul. His relationship with Jen Shen remains strong, even though she now serves on a different ship, and he has finally witnessed a return to normalcy after his critical involvement in the court-martial trial of his previous captain. Unfortunately for Paul, that two-week legal training course he took early in his career is about to come back and bite him once again.
I love the opening of this novel, as it features the disruption of a test firing mission by protestors. In a remarkable scene, Greenspacers fly in and launch themselves in to the target zone in individual pods, forcing Sinclair's ship, the Michaelson, to pick them up one by one and take them back to port. Soon thereafter, most unexpectedly, an explosion rocks the ship and takes out most of Forward Engineering. With the chief engineer missing in action and the fire suppression system not working, Sinclair takes it upon himself to lead the dangerous fire-fighting mission in to the affected area. It soon becomes clear that Chief Asher died in the explosion, and an investigation concludes that Asher caused the disaster by working on a critical piece of equipment alone - a clear violation of Navy policy. The man in charge of that investigation just so happens to be the father of Jen Shen, a man who has already made it clear that he finds Sinclair unworthy of his daughter's affection. The official report actually blames Paul - indirectly - for the tragedy, but the most galling thing of all is the awarding of a medal to Lieutenant Silver, the new replacement for Paul's best buddy on the ship. Anyone with eyes can see that Silver gets by on his personal charm alone while foisting all of his work on his subordinates (including Sinclair), and Silver was particularly useless at the time of the explosion.
Soon, information reaches Paul's ears that casts the official report's conclusions in doubt, and Sinclair is anxious to clear the name of Chief Asher and see that justice is done. The focus of attention quickly becomes Lieutenant Silver, putting Sinclair in a tough position. If he recommends court-martial proceedings against Silver based on his growing evidence, some will question whether he is trying to make Silver the scapegoat in order to deflect the doubts cast upon his own performance. There's another tiny little matter to consider, as well - Lieutenant Silver just happens to be the son of a powerful vice admiral. Once again, Sinclair is forced to make a tough choice that could threaten his reputation and Naval career - not to mention his relationship with Jen Shen, as her father will of course be called to testify for the defense.
The case against Silver is far from a slam-dunk because virtually all of the evidence is circumstantial. Clearly, though, that evidence points to Silver's wrongdoing. As in A Just Determination, the climax of the novel plays out in a military courtroom. It is here that Hemry's incredible skills at characterization really come to the fore, as this is by no means a boring courtroom drama.
Hemry has done the impossible and actually produced a novel more exciting, more engrossing, and more impressive than A Just Determination. I'm quickly coming to the conclusion that Hemry is the best science fiction writer working today. No other author manages to hook me mind, body, and soul from the very first page, and no other author creates characters who become such an integral part of my life. The first hundred pages are quite telling, as Hemry spends all of that initial time describing Sinclair's performance on the job and his interaction with friends and fellow officers. Only when the reader is firmly grounded in Sinclair's character and the nature of life aboard a Space Navy vessel does the central action of the novel, namely the explosion, take place. It's a picture perfect approach to making this legalistic science fiction thriller such an engrossing, addictive reading experience.
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on 7 March 2013
A nice follow on and a good read. Some might think it a little light, but that's a good thing in some ways, making it an enjoyable and easy read, if a little predictable.
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on 30 August 2012
My definition of science fiction is earth exists. Here it does and we have a story with a legal crisis set in the US space navy. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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on 1 August 2013
Excellent series following the development of a new officer as he progresses through some interesting legal problems as he gets his space legs.
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on 31 May 2015
Action, followed by investigation, courtroom drama and the bad guys get their comeuppance. On a spaceship, flying through space.
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