Does in media res count, or do you want to open on the final scene/climax?
Assail by Ian Cameron Esslemont
The Hugo Awards are the closest thing the SFF genre has to the Oscars. The Nebulas might be something more like the Golden Globes or a BAFTA. Maybe more
"Armor" by John Streakley is a cracker. John Ringo's "legacy of the aldenata" series are good, well, the first 3 or 4 are, it gets
This is a wonderful idea and a very generous one as well.