Niven-isque, or even Pournelle-isque, series with Man-Kzin undertones. Totally absorbing, pacey and dare I say "intellectually" scifying (satisfying?!). No disconnects: there is a theme that runs through. There is loyality to principal characters.
Buy the trilogy of this and the (In Her Name) Redemption trilogy.
I would also recommend the First Empress but Michael has only done the first of what is probably another trilogy; it is also an excellent read but you will be left feeling slightly "empty" and desperate for him to get on and finish the trilogy.