> There are tools which serve their users so well that it could be reasonable to feel regret when they break.

— from _Lieutenant Leary, Commanding_ by David Drake (Chapter 33).

The novel is the [second in a series][rcn] he wrote, or perhaps is still writing, that are science fiction versions of Patrick O’Brien’s [Aubrey-Maturin novels][am]. I am now reading the third one and they are a nice mix of action and character-driven narration. I have enjoyed Drake’s work previously in the Honor Harrington books, which were, he notes, science fiction adaptations of the Horatio Hornblower novels.

[rcn]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RCN_Series
[am]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aubrey–Maturin_series