In the middle of this entry, Campbell/Hemry delivers a zinger he's been building up to for a book and a half. Those hypernet gates? The ones that both sides got at about the same time in the middle of the war? That totally changed tactics, marginalized a lot of systems and densified human settlement in space? Turns out they can be used as weapons if dismantled inappropriately. And most ways are inappropriate. The hypothetical non-human species on the far side of Syndic space is the likely candidate for both the technology and the motivation.
The Fleet under Geary's command continues to train, acquire supplies and take out targets of opportunity while nimbly evading encounters with forces capable of wiping them out. Along the way, they encounter a POW camp (what? the Syndics are still _keeping_ POWs? Hmmmm.) and free the Alliance prisoners who've been there for a couple decades. One of them, "Fightin' Falco" thinks he will surely be in charge due to seniority, but is in for a bit of a shock. Unable to accept the presence of Geary, he connives with some other ship captains who decide to go with him on a more direct route back to Alliance Space. For a while, Victoria Rione is in a towering rage because she thinks Geary is intentionally avoiding returning to Alliance Space and seeking out Glorious Victories deeper in Syndic space. Not so; he's just trying to avoid the inevitable traps. Which he does. And which Falco and his followers do not. But he does manage to both tell the insubordinate cowers where to meet up with him later, which he does, after wiping out a system that has a shipbuilding operation. They are, needless to say, the worse for wear, but Geary's main fleet is a Crisp Fighting Tool and they do Some Serious Damage.
Campbell/Hemry definitely has _a_ way to develop a love interest (let's just say she jumps his unwitting self and leave it at that, because you just don't get much in the way of details out of Campbell/Hemry, which may be Ace's policy, or may be authorial inclination. *shrug*).
Clearly a series entry, but an enjoyable one. Falco makes a nice foil, to help further clarify why angsty Geary is effective, and why self-confident self-deluding Heroes are so dangerous to be sharing a galaxy with. And _not_ because they're so effective in battle. At least, not for their own team.