I just finished reading this and wow!
Great stories, each and every one. Feedback in no particular order:
Mack the knife! It's very rare for the Starfleet crew in any story to make it all the way to their objective and then just fail over and over again. And then to twist the knife, Bridy Mac's fate and Quinn's fate... It's a downer ending but it's thoroughly awesome because it's such a great set up for the next novel. I also loved the subplot about the bounty hunter who went after Quinn to avenge Zett. It makes me wonder if a drunk, angry Quinn might be wandering over towards the Omari-Ekon.
The Ruins of Noble Men: I loved the story of Gorkon and his son. It was also interesting to see angry Reyes and his eagerness to kick some ass. I didn't love the other plot quite as much because I hate obstinate colonists who won't do what is good for them and I liked Gannon and was sad that her story won't be continuing. But overall I'd say Marco knocked this one out of the park.
Hard News: after this story I can see why Pennington would take off to Vulcan for a while. Excellent establishment of why he would do so as it seemed kind of random when he decided to accompany T'Prynn at first (sorry I forget which novel this was in). I also liked the hint of romance between Pennington and Lt. Theriault.
Almost Tomorrow: an interesting glimpse at the start of Vanguard's story. As to be expected, I will take as much Vanessa Theriault as the authors are willing to provide and this story had lots of her. The spy stuff with Sandesjo and T'Prynn and Jetanien was great too (especially T'Prynn's aggressive approach!) although since it's been a while since I read the first Vanguard novel I didn't recall Jetanien knowing about Sandesjo and letting T'Prynn string her along. Was it just me or was there a hint of intimate involvement between Ens. Theriault and Cmdr. Terrell? I recall a scene where I was sure they were going to have a quickie but they were interrupted...
I enjoyed all the stories and I liked that the book spanned several time periods. I'm sad to see the Apostate go but I liked the advancement of that plot and the explanation for why the Jinoteur system disappeared. I also liked that there was some serious dwelling on the consequences of blowing up a planet and the nice depth of character motivations all around. Although all the Vanguard novels have been great so far I would rate this one as one of the best and I'm definitely anxious to see what's next!