Depending upon what way you look at it, this is either the first or the second book in the trilogy. Either way it is well worth the read. This was written back in the day when Anne McCaffrey was fostering new authors, and co-authoring books with them. Ah, the last glory days of Anne McCaffrey before the slide in quality she finally started to have in her writing.
At any rate, this is a great book typical of this era of science fiction writing, and has long been one of my favorites. I actually own a copy of this book, but it is currently buried in storage so I checked out a copy from the library instead of trying to dig it out of storage. Books like this I tend to return to every few years simply because they are such a joy for me to read. They aren’t heavy on the military or the combat, though there is some of both, and are heavy on character interaction and character growth, both of which are things I tend to enjoy in my reading material.