Thanks for this one. I latched on to the series quite early on, such that my copy of the first book is in a format that's cut in a different size and has a 'discordant' cover art theme to the other books. All bought from Waterstones in Sheffield.
I like your analysis. I agree that the battles do sometimes feel like certain mid-90s computer games where you basically fight the same battle several times, just with a different backdrop, though I do really appreciate the consideration that went into writing combat in a decently hard sci-fi setting lacking FTL comms. I also appreciate that the alien species that crop up in Beyond The Frontier aren't just humans-with-prosthetics and actually have some interesting world-building behind them, both physiologically and psychologically. I also can't help but wonder if Hemry suffered from the same issue as Ronald Moore with his BSG remake - having not expected the level of success that the series has seen, he out-wrote his original ideas and found he'd written himself into a corner. Hence the somewhat formulaic prequel.