By this, the third book in the Lost Fleet, the series is losing steam. What’s worse, it’s losing the plot. While the battles are still very nicely done, the backstory is wearing quite thin. Nothing much happens to move the plot forward. The fleet continues to struggle on in its quest to reach alliance space. Captain Geary continues to struggle on his quest to retain command in the face of insubordinate subordinates. Geary continues struggle to figure out his relationship with Senator Rione. Nothing new to see here. Move along. I was happy with the second book being a middle book, but at some point something radical or conclusive will have to happen. I was so fed up after Courageous I may not care enough to read the next installment.
Campbell is back with the second installment in the Lost Fleet series, in which “Black Jack” Geary continues to fight internal and external enemies to get the fleet home. Part of the fleet defects, leaving Geary with an even greater shortage of ships. But by the story expedient of being unpredictable, he continues to fight on. The internal struggle is interesting, as Geary realizes how powerful he can become politically if he brings the fleet home.
This was very much a middle book. No resolution. I have no problem with Campbell’s rather short (by today’s standards) novels but this one could easily have been amalgamated with “Dauntless“.
This is solid military SciFi. The premise is that an attack fleet from the “Alliance” finds the century old survival pod of legendary commander John “Black Jack” Geary, with the man himself hibernating inside. Just after that, the fleet is stranded in “Syndic” space after being soundly defeated in an ambush. All the flag officers have been imprisoned and shot, so by virtue of time in rank, Captain Geary is now in command of the “Lost Fleet”. But in the century of his absence, two interesting developments have occured. First, he is seen as a legend; a larger than life hero viewed by the personnel now under his command as a savior. Secondly, the long war has led to high rates of attrition, loss of command know-how, and acceptance of atrocities. To add spice to the mix, many of the surviving captains are not happy about the new regime. And now the fleet has to fight its way home.
The prose is straightforward, with the point of view character always Geary himself. He is tired and sick from his long hibernation, baffled and angered by the ruthlessness and incompetence the fleet, and frustrated at the idiocy of many of his commanders. The novel (first in a series) is a study in leadership, and the necessity to perform both the right actions and use the right words in order to ensure loyalty. Beyond that, it is a fun and fast paced little book. It doesn’t hold immense depth, but if you like military SciFi, you’ll probably enjoy it.