Started off very pulpy (OK, I suppose it was fairly consistently pulpy), and spent rather too long saying just how massively clever and wonderful the hero was without her actually doing anything. Eventually she does actually do something so we can make up our own minds.
Characters are pretty much WYSIWYG. Identity is totally based on rank: there is nothing else, and this is probably the biggest weakness (but it might translate well to film).
The book is massively right wing: the baddies are the bleeding heart liberals, the goodies the hardheaded conservatives. Also very colonial: the patronising attitude towards the aboriginal population is dreadfully (and unapologetically) un-PC; theyíre docile scenery who canít handle liquor/drugs (addictive personalities, and they go psycho). The decently set up climax includes a pretty high body count on both sides (more for the baddies of course), stating a theme that great nations should be prepared to pay casualties.
The setting works OK, based around perhaps the mid British empire days, where thereís a mix of earning and buying commissions (or pulling family strings), of commons and Lords style government. Weber also nips off for inspired flights of psuedo-science about hyperspace travel and other such flapdoodle. The plotís coherent.