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This is from a book I read in the early to mid 1990s but no longer remember the name of. I believe I checked it out of the school library, so it was probably a young adult novel.

The story opens on a remote pleasure/vacation planet which is shocked by the appearance of a damaged and derelict battleship appearing in its star system. After some time the planet decides to recover and repair the ship and go see where it came from. In the course of their investigation it is revealed that there was a large interstellar war. That is all I remember of the book.

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Antares Dawn By Michael McCollum

When the supergiant star Antares exploded in 2512, the human colony on Alta found their pathway to the stars gone, isolating them from the rest of human space for more than a century. Then one day, a powerful warship materialized in the system without warning. Alarmed by the sudden appearance of such behemoth, the commanders of the Altan Space Navy dispatched one of their most powerful ships to investigate. What ASNS Discovery finds when they finally catch the intruder is a battered hulk manned by a dead crew. That is disturbing news for the Altans. For the dead battleship could easily have defeated the whole of the Altan navy. If it could find Alta, then so could whoever it was that beat it. Something would have to be done.

A lost colony instead of a vacation planet, but sudden appearance of a derelict battleship in the system which leads to the discovery of an interstellar war.

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/ANTARES-DAWN-Antares-Series-ebook/dp/B0028Y5XQC

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Thanks, that certainly has a similar sound to it. I'll have to buy it and see. –  Xantec Jun 6 '13 at 12:18
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It is possible that you might have read a novel-adaptation of the Macross anime, specifically, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross. It was popularised outside Japan under the moniker, Robotech. The wiki plot summary reads:

In 1999 a city-sized alien spacecraft crashes in South Ataria Island on Earth. Over the course of 10 years the military organization U.N. Spacy reverse-engineers its technology and rebuilds the spacecraft, naming it the SDF-1 Macross.

South Ataria is in the South Pacific and could be misremembered as a "remove vacation planet". While the battleship crashes rather than simply enters the solar system, it is rebuilt and eventually, there is interstellar war as well as long voyages in deep space.

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Possible, however, I was familiar with Macross and Robotech back when I would have read the this book. But thanks for the idea, I'll see if I can find the novelization anyway. –  Xantec Dec 18 '12 at 15:27
    
@Xantec Roger that. Incidentally, I'm unfamiliar with the etiquette here. Should I nuke my post to ensure that your question remains unanswered? –  coleopterist Dec 18 '12 at 15:36
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No. Go ahead and leave it. It may not answer my question, but through searches it may help someone else. –  Xantec Dec 18 '12 at 16:14
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Sounds like The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

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Please consider adding details as to why you believe this so. –  John O Apr 6 '13 at 5:30
    
No. The Forever War is a good book, but that is unfortunately not it. –  Xantec Apr 6 '13 at 11:03
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