Josh Hayes begins his first solo outing with a mystery. In Edge of Valor, intelligence agent Jackson Fischer is assigned to find out why an extraction on a distant world went horribly wrong. All but three Marines are dead, as is the ambassador they were sent to retrieve.
Fischer has to piece together the story, which we first see on a newsfeed with two buildings collapsing on Stonemeyer, a strategically important but underdeveloped world. The tales of the three survivors allow Hayes to move back and forth between the political machinations on New Tuscany, an Alliance world and Fischer’s home, and Stonemeyer, where the action took place. The reactions of the Marines as their story unfolds – and even unravels – show that not everything is as it seems. Someone has lied to the Marines and the crew of their ship.
Hayes teases out his universe, showing how humanity has fragmented across the stars. The various factions can be confusing, but that’s deliberately so. It’s never really clear who the militia on Stonemeyer is, but no one in the story seems to know, either. The result is a combination of Jack Ryan and Black Hawk Down, with a few current events tossed in for flavor.