This series is hard to categorize. Equal parts space opera, cyberpunk, speculative fiction, and social commentary-none of the individual elements are terribly original but Swann manages to weave them into a satisfying melange nonetheless.
Swann has improved his pacing considerably since his last outing in this universe (the Moreau series, which I read after Hostile Takeover). He has a distinct knack for description and excels at portraying spectacular action setpieces, but he no longer seems to feel the need to string together long, mostly gratuitous, series of breathless fight/chase sequences with their correspondingly high bodycounts. Make no mistake, there's plenty of action to go around, but it isn't the focus of the story.
There is a considerable amount of exposition here, as Swann spends no small amount of time developing his future history, but he manages to avoid coming off as didactic. Rarely did I find myself bored-Swann has put together a compellingly detailed picture of a balkanized star-faring humanity held together in an uneasy compact by the most tenuous of ties-avoiding the naive notion that nationality and ethnicity will magically stop mattering once we reach the stars. Of particular interest is Bakunin, which is an anarchist free-for-all split between corporations who carry out business (often violently) from heavily-armed fortress compounds and isolated communes of misfits and radicals pursuing their own idiosyncratic paths largely oblivious to goings-on outside their walls. It's all very gritty, paranoid, and disturbingly plausible.
The characters are reasonably well-drawn, though the star (Dominic Magnus/Jonah Dacham) is by far the best realized. The lethal sibling rivalry between Klaus and Jonah does a good job providing narrative drive, though Swann could have stood to make Klaus a little less one-dimensional.
All is not rosy however. The book's main flaw is that there is _too_ much going on. Between the political maneuvering on earth, the ground war on Bakunin, the Dolbrians (a vanished alien race), Proteans (a commune of post-humans with complete mastery of nanotechnology), the non-humans of Tau Ceti (products of 21st century genetic engineering), the Tetsami/Dominic romance and myriad other subplots there's precious little time for the reader to absorb it all, or for any of the characters to really develop.
Hopefully Swann will rectify some of these problems in the sequel (which judging by the end of Revolutionary looks to focus on the nonhuman seven-worlds and the Dolbrians). A tighter focus and a little more attention to characterization could make this into a hard-SF great. As it stands it's still a solid and enjoyable effort by an author who knows what he's doing and doesn't insult the intelligence of his readers.
I'm lined up for more.