Dawn, I haven't read this one but found it on Tor-Forge. It does sound your cup of tea, and you know me, always promoting debut novels. The author, Sandra McDonald, is a former Navy officer.
THE OUTBACK STARS by Sandra McDonald
Lieutenant Jodenny Scott is a hero. She has the medals and the scars to prove it. She's cooling her heels on Kookaburra, recovering from injuries sustained during the fiery loss of her last ship, the Yangtze, and she's bored -- so bored, in fact, that she takes a berth on the next ship out. That's a mistake.
The Aral Sea isn't anyone's idea of a get-well tour. Jodenny 's handed a division full of misfits, incompetents, and criminals. She's a squared-away officer. She thinks she can handle it all. She's wrong. Aral Sea isn't a happy ship. And it's about to get a lot unhappier.
As Aral Sea enters the Alcheringa -- the alien-constructed space warp that allows giant settler-ships to travel between worlds, away from all help or hope -- Jodenny comes face to face with something powerful enough to dwarf even the unknown force that destroyed her last ship and left her with missing memories and bloody nightmares. Lieutenant Jodenny Scott is about to be introduced to love. Author Sandra McDonald brings her personal knowledge of the military, and of the subtle interplay between men and women on deployment, to a stirring tale that mixes ancient Australian folklore with the colonization of the stars.