[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/The_Heart_of_Valor_7107.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Cover art of ''The Heart of Valor'', by [[http://www.paulyoull.com Paul Youll]]]]
->'''Torin:''' And the moral of the story: Never call a two star general a bastard to his face.\\
'''Captain Rose:''' I'm a little surprised you didn't already know that.\\
'''Torin:''' You and me both, sir. You and me both.
-->--''The Better Part of Valor'', by Tanya Huff

The Confederation of Valor is a science fiction book series by {{Canad|aEh}}ian author TanyaHuff. The lead character is Torin Kerr, a non-commissioned officer in the Confederation Marines. Alongside her fellow humans, the Confederation has recruited the [[OurElvesAreBetter Taykan]] and [[ExtremeOmnivore Krai]] to fight their battles as they've [[PerfectPacifistPeople completely outgrown the desire, or even ability to fight]]. This becomes a problem when The Others, a war-like collective of various races, slowly start to attack Confederation space. The books follow Torin Kerr and the Marines serving under her as they face down various threats to their society and their lives.

Written with a sharp sense of humor and a lot of strong characterization, the series is well-worth reading, especially since Torin Kerr stands out as a true ActionGirl who still manages to avoid [[RealWomenDontWearDresses any unnecessary sacrifices to the altar of Badass]]. It also manages the delicate balance between glorifying the combat and condemning it, often presenting the battles (and lives lost in them) as something that is a necessity, but not something anyone really enjoys.

The stories, while possessing a chronology, are very much self-contained in their own right as well and do not necessarily need to be read in order to enjoy them, though occasional {{Brick Joke}}s will make the experience more enjoyable.

There are currently five books within the series:

* ''Valor's Choice (2000)'' -- Staff Sergeant Kerr, along with a platoon of marines, are sent on a diplomatic mission which turns out to be anything but diplomatic when their transport ship shot down.
* ''The Better Part of Valor (2002)'' -- Staff Sergeant Kerr, along with a hand-picked squad of marines, investigate a ship of unknown origin in a previously unexplored area of space, alongside the civilian salvage operator who found it.
* ''The Heart of Valor (2007)'' -- Gunnery Sergeant Kerr escorts a newly rehabilitated major to training grounds for a field exercise which does not go as planned.
* ''Valor's Trial (2008)'' -- Gunnery Sergeant Kerr must escape from an underground Prisoner Of War camp.
* ''The Truth of Valor (2010)'' -- Kerr has retired and is trying to build a life with Craig Ryder. Instead they're attacked by SpacePirates; Craig is taken prisoner and Torin is left for dead.

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!!''The Confederation of Valor'' series provides examples of:

* ActionGirl -- Boy Howdy, does this series feature this in spades. Aside from the obvious example of Torin Kerr herself, a few of the female marines in Sh'quo company certainly qualify. If a marine is given more than a handful of lines, expect them to do something awesome or heroic at some point in the story.
* AlienBlood -- Most of the other races have very different physiologies.
* AlienCatnip: The Krai drink a beverage called ''sah'', which for them is the equivalent of a hot cup of tea. For humans, it's the equivalent of a hot cup of PCP with an amphetamine chaser. The law requires that anyone buying it be a Krai, and holds the Krai in question responsible if a human gets any.
* AlienGeometries -- Big Yellow, at least.
* AliensAreBastards -- The whole reason the Confederation had to recruit the humans to fight for them in the first place. They sent diplomats to point out to The Others that SpaceIsBig and that there was no reason whatsoever for them to fight the Confederation for territory. The Others sent back the dead diplomats with a bomb.
* TheAlliance -- The Others are a collective of races bent on destroying the Confederation. The Confederation are a collective of pacifist races who were forced to recruit several war-like races to help avoid extinction.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil -- The general belief by the Confederation about The Others. It certainly seems to apply to their leadership.
* AnnoyingArrows -- Averted in the first book.
* AnyoneCanDie -- Don't get too attached to the well-characterized marines introduced at the beginning of each book. Some of them are going to die.
* ArmourIsUseless -- Completely averted. Marines have armor and it's generally the only thing between their fragile flesh and a lot of pain. In fact, their armor is highly ''useful'', containing survival gear and beneficial functions which generally keep the marines alive far longer than they'd be without it.
* ArtificialLimbs -- Mentioned, but when one marine is informed his legs will have to be replaced, it's noted that it'll mean a medical discharge.
* AtopAMountainOfCorpses -- Pretty much the end of the first book. It is treated as horrifically as it actually is.
* AttackAttackAttack -- Again, the first book. Two thousand Silviss against roughly forty marines in a fortified position.
* AuthorAppeal[=/=]FreeLoveFuture -- Much like many of her other stories, pretty much everyone is bisexual as well as sexually active.
* {{Badass}} -- Torin Kerr and her marines.
* BadassInANiceSuit -- The first book finds Torin and her marines fighting a last stand in dress uniform. Thankfully, the Marine Corps was smart enough to realize that dress uniform should probably still offer some decent protection, and thus they're not entirely helpless.
* BadassNormal -- Again, Torin Kerr and her marines, but applies especially to Torin. She's not especially tall or heavy, yet she'll go up against the worst horrors The Others have to offer.
* BangBangBANG: Subverted with the Marines' [=KC-7=] rifles. The Confederation has the ability to make the weapons completely silent, but research showed that the soldiers preferred to have their shots be audible.
* BarBrawl -- A memorable scene in the first book, when some of the Marines sneak out of barracks for a night on the town. Torin uses it as an opportunity to see how the Silsviss and existing Marines react to each other off-duty.
* BecauseISaidSo -- Often used by Torin or other Sergeants serving with her to get their marines doing something when not actively being shot at.
* BelligerentSexualTension -- Torin and Ryder.
* {{Bizarrchitecture}} -- Big Yellow.
* BizarreAlienBiology
* BlessedAreTheCheesemakers: The H'san apparently think HumansAreSpecial because we're the first species in the galaxy to invent cheese. So much so that in the Confederation Marine Corps the response to asking an expert in X "Can you do X?" is "Do the H'san like cheese?"
* BlueAndOrangeMorality / MadScientist: [[spoiler:The Big Yellow aliens started an interstellar war between the Confederation and the Primacy as a ''sociology experiment''.]]
* BoringButPractical: Most Confederation military technology and practices. The Marines are armed with [[KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter chemical-propelled bullets]] and use hand-carried stretchers because they aren't vulnerable to EMP, unlike energy weapons and antigravity. The Navy uses [[SpaceIsAnOcean wet-navy logistical and command structures]] because they work just as well for it. The Others are similarly pragmatic.
* BreastPlate -- [[http://www.lucifer.tw/fantasy/artist/luis/evolution/65_valors_choice.jpg The first cover]]. Torin's armor is different from the di'Taykan and Krai marines, presumably to hold her tits for some reason. Averted in the actual text of the book.
** There ''is'' a question of comfort. The other marines pictured are male.
* BulletProofVest
* BugWar
* ButtMonkey -- In the first book, Haysole stands out as equal parts this and PluckyComicRelief.
* [[ChekhovsGag Chekhov's]] RunningGag: In ''The Truth of Valor'', both Torin and Craig touch basically any piece of plastic [[spoiler:because the Big Yellow aliens are sapient plastic, and during ''The Better Part of Valor'' they left a protein marker in them that can reveal [=BYAs=] masquerading as inanimate objects]]. Usually nothing happens, but at the end of the book, [[spoiler:it turns out there ''were'' [=BYAs=] on the space station, and they helped Torin and Craig escape]].
* ChunkySalsaRule -- The Krai have several descriptive words for the impact of an anti-personnel rocket on a soft target.
* ClusterFBomb -- Nearly every single non-commissioned Marine.
* CombatPragmatist / EvenEvilHasStandards: In ''Valor's Trial'', the Others apparently say "screw this" and hit the ground battle from space with some kind of strategic warhead that fuses the entire battlefield into volcanic glass. [[spoiler:According to the Primacy lieutenant Torin and company team up with later on, members of their own ruling council considered this weapon horrific.]]
* ColdSniper -- Binti Mashona. Granted, she's perfectly social when she's not shooting things in the face at extraordinary distances, but put her behind the butt of a rifle and she's more likely to be annoyed at the inferior equipment she's using than anything.
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience -- Nutrient tabs for the three Younger Races. Blue are for humans, pink for di'Taykan, and yellow for Krai.
* CoversAlwaysLie -- Averted in the second through fourth books, and even the first book's cover is fairly accurate... Except for the landscape. [[http://www.lucifer.tw/fantasy/artist/luis/evolution/65_valors_choice.jpg This]] does not look like the dense jungle described.
** But it does look like the landscape at the Battle of Rorke's Drift, a real life battle in what is now South Africa, and which the events of the book were explicitly based. In fact, the cover bears a strong resemblence to many famous paintings of the battle.
* DeadpanSnarker -- Several characters, including Torin. Ryder is prominent example, as well.
* DeathFromAbove -- Marine dropship pilots employ this method of attack to get the troops on the ground before anything goes amiss.
* DecliningPromotion: Kerr is offered a commission, but refuses on the grounds that Gunnery Sergeant is her niche.
* {{Determinator}} -- Torin Kerr is certainly one, though several minor characters prove to be this as well.
* DropShip -- Naturally.
* ElvesVersusDwarves -- The Confederation thought there'd be a huge problem with Humans learning to get along with Taykan (genetically slutty space-elves) and Krai (ExtremeOmnivore hairless ape people). The fact that all three are similarly-sized mammals beside the more bizarre anatomies of the elder races of the Confederation meant these fears fell short.
* EnemyMine -- [[spoiler: Torin's marines join up with a group of Others to escape a shared prison camp.]]
* EnergyWeapon -- The "Bennies" used in battles taking place aboard ships fire a beam which does not do nearly as much damage to a purely inorganic substance as it does to an organic substance. This is because putting holes in a space ship is a very bad thing.
* EnsignNewbie -- Lieutenant di'Ka Jarret is this at the start of ''Valor's Choice''. He grows out of it by the end thanks in part to Torin's tutelage.
* EthicalSlut / EveryoneIsBi -- ''Every'' di'Taykan.
* EverybodysDeadDave -- The Others' orbital bombardment in ''Valor's Trial'' kills everyone involved in the ground battle on both sides, including several named characters from previous books. [[spoiler:Torin and a few others are "rescued" by the Big Yellow aliens.]]
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys -- The Krai are hairless monkey guys who can eat anything and have bones and teeth enamel so tough that Confederation scientists are attempting to grow it for spaceship armour.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin -- Most of marines in the books do demonstrate valor quite a bit.
* {{Expy}} -- In the first book, Ressk is a somewhat irritable Krai who has a bit of a superiority complex about his computer abilities. Remove the computer abilities and add Recon. Meet Werst in the second book.
** Which gets interesting when Ressk ''meets'' Werst in book four.
* ExtremeOmnivore -- The Krai as a race have the most efficient gut in the galaxy and can eat pretty much anything (including plastics and metal)... and often do. Upon being integrated into the budding Taykan and Human military, a rule about not eating the bits which might fall off fellow soldiers had to be established.
* FantasyConflictCounterpart: The author admitted to basing the final battle of ''Valor's Choice'' on the Battle of Rorke's Drift during the AngloZuluWar.
* FasterThanLightTravel -- Susumi space. Enter it, and you can emerge on the other side of the galaxy exactly when you departed, though for the people on the ship it does take hours to get there.
* TheFederation: It's called a Confederation, but it matches the trope based on its description.
* ForeverWar -- The Confederation, as a whole, wishes for a pacifist solution. The Others, as a whole, wish for everything that is not them to die.
** ''Valor's Trial'' reveals that [[spoiler:the Big Yellow aliens have been manipulating things for the entire length of the war, to keep their sociology experiment going.]]
* GenreSavvy -- A lot of the marines display flashes of this.
** In the first book, one marine prevents her corporal from [[FatalFamilyPhoto showing pictures of his family]], telling him that it's practically a guaranteed death sentence. [[spoiler: Said death sentence is averted.]]
** In the second, Werst notes that Guimond, the overly-large, overly-friendly, but not overly-bright young marine everyone loves, will be the first to die, forcing the rest to avenge him and go on to win one for "poor Guimond." [[spoiler: He's pretty much right.]]
* GoingForTheBigScoop -- Presit, who not only risks herself and her crew, but also the entire ''Berganitum'' and everyone aboard following it into Susumi space in her quest to get the story on whatever top-secret thing the ship must be doing. She then promptly insists on being escorted into unknown territory, relying on the marines to keep her safe.
* {{Heavyworlder}} -- Torin is from a world with 1.2 times Earth's gravity, which comes in handy during a BarBrawl in the first book since the Silsviss homeworld has about 0.8 gravity.
* HeroWorshipper -- Kichar to Torin.
* HeroicSacrifice -- Happens in a few places, of course.
* HiveMind -- The Big Yellow aliens.
* HollywoodHacking -- Ressk indulges in this as one of two defining character traits, the other being his racial [[PlanetOfHats hat]] of eating anything and everything.
* HollywoodTactics -- One character employs these. Unfortunately for everyone else, he's their commanding officer. None of the marines are happy about this.
* {{Homage}} -- Tanya Huff based the major battles of the first book on the battle of Rorke's Drift.
* HumanOutsideAlienInside: A fairly subtle example: the Taykans become mature physically, sexually, and (to a limited extent, at least) socially long before they become fertile.
* HumansAreWarriors -- First justified, then subverted in the back story. The Confederation offered humanity membership because they hadn't yet evolved past violence (unlike the rest of its member races), and thus could fight the Others. The subversion came when the Taykan, Krai, and Silsviss were brought in for the same reason.
* HumansAreWhite -- Averted. Though the book doesn't specifically identify characters by race, several humans are distinctly not Caucasian.
* HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace -- Susumi Space requires very specific calculations in order to successfully traverse it. Making even a tiny small mistake can destroy a ship completely. ''Valor's Trial'' adds that it also exposes travelers to severe irradiation (though ships are built to withstand it) such that spacers and military personnel typically bank reproductive material just in case.
* IntrepidReporter -- Presit, especially in the third book. Although her motivation may be more that 'verse's equivalent of a Pulitzer rather than the truth.
* IntroductionByHookup: ''Valor's Choice'' opens with Torin waking up with a pheromone hangover from the di'Taykan she went to bed with. At the briefing she discovers that said di'Taykan happens to be her platoon's [[EnsignNewbie new second lieutenant]], di'Ka Jarret.
* {{Jerkass}} -- Presit. She's a reporter with a superiority complex, an inflated sense of entitlement, and a ''lot'' of dislike for the military in general. Even her own news crew doesn't like her in the novel she's introduced.
* JoinTheArmyTheySaid -- Most of the marines will find cause at one point or another to curse the fact they're marines.
* KillItWithFire -- Heavies in each squad have flamethrowers, though the use of it on sentient beings is generally regarded as completely outside of acceptable battlefield practice.
* KilledOffForReal -- Lots of characters.
* KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter: {{Justified|Trope}}. Both sides explicitly have the ability to use EMP to knock out high-tech weapons, so all tech used by the Marines is designed to work just as well in its ''primary'' function when its electronics have been disabled. Explosive-propelled bullets don't need electricity to fire.
** Also averted somewhat in shipboard combat, where bullets run the risk of causing a hull breach. The Marines are issued cellular disrupters nicknamed "Bennies" in such situations.
* LastStand -- The first book nearly becomes one.
* LivingShip -- Big Yellow, which is mostly made of organic material, heals damage to itself, reconfigures its interior architecture, and [[spoiler: is secretly testing both sets of alien species that have landed on board. As it turns out, it's not really a ship, but rather a group of molecule-sized aliens with a HiveMind]].
* UsefulNotes/{{Mars}} -- Humanity had a shaky toe-hold on Mars when the Confederation swooped in and pointed out that they could either join the Confederation and fight their battles for them or get steam-rolled by The Others when they got there.
* MilitaryScienceFiction -- Natch.
* [[AFatherToHisMen A Mother to Her Men]] -- A stern as hell parental figure to be sure, but Torin certainly gets pissed off whenever one of the marines under her command dies. Everyone serving under her is very aware of this fact, as well as the people who rank higher than her. Her marines have complete confidence in her abilities, too.
* TheNeidermeyer - Captain Tarvis.
* NoOneCouldSurviveThat -- The Marines to Ryder after Torin is declared KIA. He doesn't really believe it, and neither does Torin's father.
* NoOneGetsLeftBehind -- A rule of the Corps. If there's a body, it gets brought back. If there's an injured marine, there is no such thing as too injured to bring along.
* NotStayingForBreakfast: Torin, in the very first chapter, with a di'Taykan she shacked up with. Although in this case, it's more her sneaking out so that he won't ask her for "once more before breakfast", making her late coming back from leave.
* OurElvesAreBetter -- Taykan are essentially {{space elves}} with pastel-hair, superior senses to a human, and the ability to produce pheromones which can get any mammal in the mood. {{Lampshaded}} in that the Taykans have been compared to elves in-universe and find said comparison amusing. Torin's even met a di'Taykan named [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Celeborn]].
* PardonMyKlingon / [[ScrewYouElves Screw You, Aliens!]] -- Aside from the obvious pun, the races in the Marines learned to get along by learning to swear at one another in their native languages.
* PerfectPacifistPeople: {{Zigzagged}}. In the backstory it's {{justified|Trope}}: for the most part only species that evolve past violence achieve FasterThanLightTravel, because species that don't have a tendency to blow themselves up first. {{Deconstructed}} when the Others show up and begin attacking, and the Confederation has to uplift first {{human|sAreWarriors}}ity, then the Taykans, Krai, and Silsviss because they ''haven't'' evolved past violence. [[spoiler:Arguably {{reconstructed}} as of the latest books. The war turned out to be a giant sociology experiment by SufficientlyAdvancedAliens operating under BlueAndOrangeMorality, and it seems highly likely the Others have the same arrangement as the Confederation.]]
* PleasurePlanet -- Any Taykan world, very likely.
* PlotArmor -- Torin, to a degree. Forgivable since she's the main character. Averted for every other marine.
* PoweredArmour -- Fairly low-key. Played a little more straight with Heavies.
* ProperlyParanoid -- Torin more than once. In the third book she thinks that she really doesn't care if people call her paranoid so long as it saves her people's lives.
* PsychicPowers -- Hinted at in the first book, with Jarret informing Kerr that "there's a reason mind-reading races in the galaxy are universally despised" when she is able to read his body language and use her experience with other new second lieutenants to accurately guess his thoughts.
* PunctuationShaker -- The Taykan language is a mishmash of this. (For example, [[BizarreAlienBiology mature but not yet fertile individuals]] of the race are called "di'Taykan.")
* PunyEarthlings -- Taykan have superior senses and the Krai are, in some ways, ridiculously durable compared to humans.
* PuppeteerParasite -- [[spoiler: The Grey Ones, although they more often tend to only be observers. [[BodyHorror From your brain.]]]]
* RankUp: Torin starts as a staff sergeant and is promoted to gunnery sergeant after book two.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath -- During the second book, [[spoiler: Torin uses this to make her useless, fatally-injured superior look good for the Katrien reporter who's been watching the "war-hero" be a useless JerkAss.]]
* TheReptilians -- The Silviss.
* RubberForeheadAliens -- Both averted and lampshaded. The reason that the humans, Taykan, and Krai get along is because they're all bipedal mammals with two arms and legs. The rest of the Confederation are vastly more alien:
** The Dornagan are absolutely massive furry cat-bear things.
** The Katrien are small CatFolk.
** The Miktok are large spider aliens renowned throughout the galaxy for the beauty of their art.
** The Rakva are feathered, bipedal birds with hands.
** The H'san are different ''somehow'', but their appearance has been [[NoodleIncident carefully avoided]].
* SacrificialLamb[=/=]SacrificialLion -- Several of each in each book.
* ScaryDogmaticAliens -- The Others absolutely refuse to back down.
* SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale -- Averted, for the most part.
* SergeantRock -- Torin, full stop.
* ShoutOut -- There are a few subtle nods to other science fiction work.
* SssssnakeTalk -- In an unlikely occurrence, Torin hears the Silviss this way due to her translator being broken.
* SpaceIsAnOcean -- The Confederation still uses wet-navy command and logistical structures for its SpaceNavy (because they work), but the rest of the trope is averted.
* SpaceMarine -- A well-done example.
* SpaceNavy -- Of course.
* StandardSciFiArmy: The series mainly deals with line infantry wearing PoweredArmor, but we've also seen tanks, artillery, and aircraft.
* StandardSciFiFleet: Mostly ignored, but present.
* StandardSciFiSetting -- Pretty well.
* StandardTimeUnits
* StarfishAliens: Aside from the entries mentioned under RubberForeheadAliens, [[spoiler:the Big Yellow aliens are sapient plastic]].
* SwissArmyWeapon -- The Heavies have a weapon which allows them to swap between various guns.
* UnCanceled -- Certainly fans ''thought'' this was the case for a while, with nothing new from Tanya Huff in the series for nearly six years.
* VitriolicBestBuds -- In the second book, Werst and Guimond quickly grow to be this. Pretty much all of the vitriol is on Werst's end of the relationship.
* WarIsHell
* WeWillUseManualLaborInTheFuture -- Justified. Both sides of the conflict can use EMP to knock out a lot of the fancier gear, so the Marines quickly realized that they needed to
* WeaponOfChoice -- Most marines prefer the standard [=KC-7=] to the Bennies, and those that prefer the Benny won't say otherwise.
* WholePlotReference: The battle in ''Valor's Choice'' is [[WordOfGod explicitly modeled on]] [[AngloZuluWar Rorke's Drift]].
* XtremeKoolLetterz -- Fuk you, it's awesome to swear like that.
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair -- The Taykans, whose hair comes in every improbable shade you can imagine, from neon blue to fuchsia.
* YourHeadASplode -- This is what happens when you combine a sniper like Binti Mashona with a rifle round titled an "impact boomer".
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