Set in the same universe as "e;The Parafaith War "e;(but two centuries later, and intended to be read independently), "e;The Ethos Factor"e; is the story of Commander Van C. Albert of the Republic Space Force of Taran, a brave and resourceful officer who once defeated a larger enemy ship but indirectly caused the loss of a civilian liner in the process. Cleared by the board of inquiry, but an embarrassment to the high command, he retains his commission but is given only dead-end assignments. For a time, he must watch helplessly as cold war among economic, religious and political rivals evolves toward interstellar open warfare.
Assigned as a military attache at the Taran embassy on Scandya, Van is seriously wounded foiling an assassination. Decorated, promoted and summarily retired while still in a coma, he wakes to find himself honorably but intolerably unemployed. Then the harmless sounding Integrated Information Systems foundation of the Eco-Tech Coalition recruits him to fly a starship, Van finds he now has a powerful new vantage point not just for observation, but for action. The IIS has interests everywhere and Van is not just a pilot, but their point man in a conflict that will shake the worlds.
Modesitt uses a distinctive blend of space battles, political and economic intrigue, and issues of race and religion to address deep questions of good and evil, ethics and self-interest. Van Albert makes his decisions; it is for you to decide if he is a hero."e;