Once A Hero,
cover art by Gary Ruddell,
Baen Books, 1997,
Some people will not read or like this book, simply because it's SF, or because the world building involves details on a mobile space ship repair station, or because they are uninterested in and have no sympathy for a military millieu.
I've read the story several times and enjoyed it each.
Because of the hero.
Esmay Suiza is the most junior officer in the history of Fleet to command a patrol vessel in combat against a flag ship -- and win.
As the most senior surviving officer (a lieutenant, junior grade, technical track, not command) following a mutiny that replaced the former captain who was in league with the enemy, she believes the victory credit belongs of the surviving crew and sheer luck, not to any natural ability to command she might possess.
After a court of inquiry to assess her conduct and decisions as captain and a court martial over the mutiny, though vindicated, she is sent to the station in deep space.
Of course, another of the Empire's enemies, the Bloodhorde, have plans to take the station, and events again force her out of the self-image she has believed and carefully cultivated: a self-image based on a grievous childhood trauma and reinforced by her family's treatment of that trauma. They said it never happened, though her nightmares tell her otherwise.
Esmay is a wounded hero, a tortured hero. She is also a very strong and believable hero. Her essential character and ability, though damaged and disguised, are not defeated by it. She is emphatically not a little puddle of angst.
Too often, the abused childhood trope/backstory trauma is used as a superficial motivator of the Tab A and Slot B variety, a wimp-out device, or tossed in as convenient, formula sympathy generator, by mere fact alone.
Even if SF/ space world/ military, is not your thing, I would recommend the novel as an illustration of how to integrate that popular facet of psychological nuance and character construction into a story.
One A Hero is a prime example of one of the ways to do it right.
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