Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £20.19

Buy Now for £20.19

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

Ensign Paul Sinclair has been assigned to the orbiting, military spacecraft, USS Michaelson, as its sole legal advisor. But when the ship's captain faces court-martial following the destruction of a civilian research vessel, Sinclair finds himself defending a doomed officer.
©2003 Ace (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about A Just Determination

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    31
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    31
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    28
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

not what I expected.

not as action packed as other books by the same author. the courtroom drama however was quite good.

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for carl801
  • carl801
  • 21-08-09

Leadership is leadership, regardless of setting...

I should say up front, I'm a fan of John Hemry's novels, especially the Lost Fleet Series. I liked this one as well. This is the story of a young military officer (the fact that the setting is in space is totally irrelevant to the story) who ponders the meaning of leadership when his commanding officer errs in the use of deadly force. It's sort of a "Caine Mutiny" in space, but without the mutiny. The story also reminds me of the sad tale of the USS Vincennes, whose crew shot down an Iranian airliner full of civilians.

I have a couple of minor criticisms.

First, the wholesale application of US Naval tradition to a future space force is somewhat disconcerting as it gives the novel a bit of a split personality. I think Hemry must have realized this because he did a much better job of imagining a space tradition in the Lost Fleet Series.

Second, because the story is told from the perspective of a junior officer (and perhaps for dramatic reasons), the portrayal of the commanding officer is annoyingly two-dimensional. In my experience, the situations surrounding the tough decisions soldiers make when lives swing in the balance are never black and white. Likewise, leaders are neither good nor evil, just human beings who, when thrown into the breach, are equally likely to do good or evil. Bottom line: a leader's reality is much more equivocal and ambiguous than Hemry makes it sound in this story. That said, there are no heroes here, no happy endings, and that makes the novel readable.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Audiobook Addict
  • Audiobook Addict
  • 18-12-10

True Depiction of the Navy

First off, I was a little hesitant to listen to this book because of the bad reviews but I took the plunge and it was worth it. Jack Campbell has served in the Navy and knows that navy life isn't very exciting. Campbell describes the day to day life a young ensign straight out of the Navy Academy. Campbell has also obviously read the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) and the JAGMAN (Judge Advocate General's Manual) and the Manual for Courts-Martial because he depicts a very realistic court room environment.

The only bad thing I have to say about this book is that A Just Determination is a lot like the Caine Mutiny just in space, however I enjoyed this a lot more than the Caine Mutiny.

The only unrealistic thing is that one officer in the course of his three year tour of duty on board his ship would be involved in four separate court martials, but that's the only way to make it into a series and the whole series is amazing.

A must read for military, sci-fi, and lawyer fans.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tango
  • Tango
  • 12-02-15

Law & Order: The Final Frontier

A Just Determination almost reads like an episode of Law & Order set in space. You have a short intro to the characters and the ship, the ship sets off on its mission and quickly encounters a crisis resulting in deaths and potential crimes, which ultimately leads to a military court procedural. I was interested in this book because I have a close friend who is Army JAG and one of the most interesting aspects of her stories from both the defense and the prosecution side of the job has been the huge difference between military law and criminal/civil law. I wanted to see if Campbell showed that in his story set in space and to some extent he did. However, this story really is more about aspects of leadership and personal ethics which made it a "broader" story in some ways.

I enjoyed listening to the book and I thought the moral dilemma of the main character was well presented - made me think. I also really liked the fact that Campbell portrayed a Space Navy that was fully integrated with many ethnic names and both men and women in positions of leadership. He also did a nice job of balancing his protagonists and antagonists across genders and gave all of his characters some believable flaws - no unrealistic superhero types here. However, from a "literary" standpoint, the book was a bit disappointing. There is quite a lot of dialog and it was rather wooden and unnatural sounding and I didn't really connect with any of the characters because they aren't that fleshed out. And, while I enjoyed the story, the plot is not very complex and the moments of suspense and real action are very limited.

Nick Sullivan does a competent job with the narration. I think he was a bit limited because the dialog in the book is kind of stiff. But I really like the way Sullivan conveyed the difference between the characters thoughts and his spoken words.

Although A Just Determination is set in space, there is only a little "sci-fi flavor" to the book and not a lot of action so it may not satisfy some sci-fi lovers. However, if you have an interest in law, particular military law, you will probably find this book entertaining.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jonathan
  • Jonathan
  • 26-08-10

Lacking a solid plot

Listening to this novel was actually surprising. You expect something significant to happen ... but then it doesn't. The entire storyline is based around the tension that the main protagonist feels in undertaking what they believe they should do versus doing what others think they should. However, there is next to no real pressure to follow the others so that the tension seems all imaginary. The testimony which is provided contains nothing that would not be apparent in a reading of the 'orders' in question so the need for such testimony and tension seems questionable [not being a lawyer and not having personal experience in court I can't say for certain that this is redundant in courts but seems silly and makes the plot weak] As for the court room drama I found that there was probably too much time spent in the mundane actions in the court. The characters in the story are reasonable. The actual court scene and arguments have nothing to do with science fiction other than the events they deal with occurred in space. The initial part of the novel is interesting but finishes all top soon into a prolonged court drama.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jean
  • Jean
  • 29-05-12

Law on a space ship

I enjoyed Jack Campbell's introduction to this new series, he tells how he came to write it. Nick Sullivan did an excellent job in narrating the story. This is not a story of battles but of the operation of a naval ship (this could have taken place aboard any naval vessel upon the sea as well as in space). Just out of the Naval Academy Ensign Paul Sinclair is assigned to the USS Michaelson and is assigned a secondary job as Legal Officer. Much of the book is about his duties as legal officer and the leadership abilities and personalities of the officers on non-Com's. For those who like military stories this is an excellent story and a good lead off for the upcoming series. I hope he can build as much drama in this series as he did with the Lost Fleet Series. Can not wait for to start book 2.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jim
  • Jim
  • 20-06-13

Great Space Opera -- Decent Look into Military Law

Would you consider the audio edition of A Just Determination to be better than the print version?

didn't read print version

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Just Determination?

While the military law and court martial sequences are not perfect (says this former JAG lawyer), they were quite close and give the real gist of the way that military law works. Of course, like all authors, this author skips over the proper introduction of evidence and allows the witnesses to make speeches and give lots of opinion, but that simply makes the story move along and maintain the tension. Overall an excellent read.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bob Nelson
  • Bob Nelson
  • 06-06-11

This is NOT Blackjack Geery!

An introduction by John G. Hemry (the author's real name) tells us that the series's title (JAG is Space) is a pure rip-off of the TV series. In fact the central character is not JAG at all, but a brand new ensign joining his first billet, on a medium-sized "US Navy spaceship". Ensigns always get a primary mission and several secondary missions. Paul Sinclair gets stuck with "Legal Officer". Campbell/Hemry could just as easily have situated this book in today's Navy. The congruence is about 99%. The ship is nothing particular, with good officers and lesser ones. The captain is a careerist, but no more so than many in the armed services. Then "stuff happens", and Ensign Sinclair must make some tough choices.
This is a book about the military... in which there is almost no action. It is not about war, it is about sailors and about one man's apprenticeship of duty.
HIGHLY recommended.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Joki
  • Joki
  • 08-03-15

Very Enjoyable!

As a fan of the Lost Fleet series, I was happy to get the Audible version of this book from a recent sale. As expected from the author, we have a story of a personable and decent guy in a military world where people are people - good and bad. Most of the book is the main character acclimating to life on his new ship; it is near the end that an event happens and we go through a realistic type of military trial. Our protagonist isn't a lawyer and doesn't want to be one (he had a rudimentary legal course prior to assignment on the ship), but he has a strong personal sense of justice and that precipitates his participation in the trial.

Story: Paul Sinclair is an ensign newly assigned on the USS Michaelson. As he gets to know the crew - featuring a huge variety of characters from incompetent captain to high strung shipmates, he forms friendships, learns lessons, makes mistakes, and ultimately finds his place about the ship. But one event will change all that when the Michaelson is on patrol and encounters a foreign ship's incursion into their sovereign space. Misunderstandings mount, the foreign ship is destroyed, and a captain is put on court martial trial. Will Paul allow his active dislike of the captain to watch the man hang on trumped up charges - or will he defend someone no one else believes in?

Hemry/Campbell's ability to write likeable everyman characters and to populate his world with nuanced, flawed, but very believable people is clearly the strong part of the book. You'll like or hate Paul's crewman but none ever feel like cardboard cut outs. There are no evil villains or saints - some may be selfish, greedy, stupid, short sighted, or intensely loyal to the point of fault (sometimes all at once) but none ever feel like they are there simply to make the main character have something to do.

The trial goes for realism over drama so there is quite a bit of procedural stuff to get through. Since it is the last 1/4 of the book, it's not too problematic. The trial will, of course, hinge on the testimony of our main character. And will cause higher ups to notice and respect him - which may be unrealistic in itself. But this works as a dramatic fiction so I didn't mind it.

Once I had finished, I immediately purchased the next book. I found I wanted to read much more about this world (set perhaps a few centuries before the Lost Fleet - when there was still a United States). It is an easy read/listen and the narrator did an excellent job giving all the characters a unique voice.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Munster
  • Munster
  • 12-04-22

A good start

I grew up watching the old Jag series on television as a kid. So I was interested to give this a go, but was skeptical as it wasn’t like anything else that Campbell had written before.

I was pleasantly surprised as the book does a great job of going back-and-forth between legal issues and just average day in a life on a ship of war. Even if it is a starship.

It wasn’t anything over the top no sun twist no turns just a simple presenting of the facts and the determination that people can use to convince people of their way of thinking. Overall I’m looking forward to the next book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for P. Larsen
  • P. Larsen
  • 25-11-21

Great story and insights into a NAVY officers life

John G Henry aka Jack Campbell is a great story teller. His books make out a rather large portion of my library because of this. He makes his characters interesting, thrilling and you get compassion for/against the characters in all of his books. As such, it's always a good book, a good read.

The JAG in space series is no exception. But if Mr. Henry thought he was writing about a fictional space navy, he's severely mistaken. The science in these books don't work - not even close. When the mechanics of driving "space" ships are described, all I see his real navy ships and real sea-bearing ships as they dock, operate, move etc. - everything is very 2 dimensional in this series - very little is up/down - it's all about that 360 degree space a NAVY officer would know on earth. So there's some insights into how life working on these sea-fearing vessels that stay at sea for months at a time is. What stresses, and what kind of work an (line) officer of the Navy would face, the bureaucracy that governs everything from deployments, to orders, to personnel matters. And that just makes the books more interesting - behind the fiction is something learned, something communicated about the sacrifice our sailors make.

Nick Sullivan makes this audio book worth a listen. There's very little "said X" but through voice inflections you get a real sense of which character is talking. It's a very clear voice, engaged and knows how to create the drama the book contains. And what seems to happen less and less, Mr. Sullivan is the performer for ALL the books in the series so there's consistency.

And while the story is fiction, it doesn't take a genius to recognize some of the events Mr Henry must have been part of during his service in the US Navy. An interesting career which I'm sure has given him lots of materials for books to come.

I didn't deduct ratings for the issues I have with the books. I can overlook them although at times parts do bother me during the book. As I already mentioned, this is supposed to happen in space, but still up is up, down is down at all times. Navigation is all about movements on the same plane. Some fictitious ship functions like the camouflage system using cameras and screens are just head-banging "absolutely not possible". It's like the position of the observer isn't even considered when the system is described. Motion in space doesn't have "stop" - you don't slow down by cancelling propulsion (real ocean vessels of course do slow down). Then there's the constant assumption that the bridge on a space going vessel would have much in common with that of sea-fearing vessels. No windows, no view - it's all screens and sensor data - but for some reason, a big part of the structure provided in the book has electronic ears/eyes in a different area that has to tell the bridge what is going on. It makes no sense that visual presentation of what sensors are showing is outside the vessel wouldn't be visible on a bridge where no windows exist. But of course it makes sense on old navy vessels on the ocean. This kind of stuff is annoying but if you instead of thinking "space navy" think "real navy" it's a very interesting story that keeps you engaged and hence these errors aren't a problem.

Mr Henry has a different series "The Lost Fleet" where he attempts to better describe the physics of space going vessels. In there the idea of the Z axis all of a sudden appears and becomes important, although the concept of "up and down" still seems to be earth-bound and earth defined. What I'm trying to say is, don't read this to listen to a good description of what a potential future space fleet will look like. Read this as a description of what current naval warfare looks like, and you will like me start to really like the stories.