I’ve really enjoyed reading The Lost Fleet novels by Jack Campbell (pen name of John G Hemry) and while I’ve reviewed the first three (Dauntless, Fearless, & Courageous) individually the series does have many similar themes that would see me repeating myself in reviews of the last three books. So I’m combining them and giving a general overview rather than a detailed synopsis. Be warned, there will be spoilers ahead….
At the end of Courageous the Alliance Fleet had faced the Syndics in battle, surviving but in a tricky position. As they arrive in a neighbouring system after jump Geary order a reverse course so they can return and strike while the iron is hot, serving the Syndics with another loss. From here the fleet face the task of fighting their way through the rest of Syndic space, discovering traitors amongst their own fleet, more signs that the superfast travel system of the hypernet was not of human origin and that these non-human intelligences are involved deeper than anyone could have guessed. With tracking worms hidden deep in the ship systems, hypernet gates collapsing and causing devastation of immense proportions, and the constant threat of the Syndics, the fleet battle their way back to Alliance space. But the return is short lived and Geary is once again commanding the fleet in a final attack on the Syndic home system to accept their surrender, and once that threat is dealt with it’s time to find out exactly what is on the other side of Syndic space…
I’ve said in previous reviews how much I enjoy this series and I’ll say it once again here. While the first books set up the events and characters, Valiant, Relentless and Victorious continue them in style and finish the series rather nicely. Valiant is a book more about discoveries than anything else, Geary and his close group learning more about the hypernet system and starting to gain a better understanding of the big picture. Relentless is very much the action orientated one with the fleet charging home to Alliance space against ever increasing odds, while Victorious ties off the main story thread and adding a little something new into the mix. It all comes together very nicely in the end, but the story along the way also works very well.
Looking at the series from this point of view I can say that the character development comes slowly and steadily, building up to take into account all the events that are affecting the fleet. Geary, the main character, is obviously the one that gets the most attention and through these last three books it’s refreshing to see the payoff when the fleet returns to the Alliance. We’ve seen the way Co-President Rione treats Geary through these books, plus the way he’s looked at by other captains, and the reaction of the government is pleasing and handled very well. The same goes for the other main characters – Desjani, Rione, Duellos, Badaya – all of whom grow to be well suited assets to the story and allowing Campbell to tell a rip-roaring tale that encompasses all things affecting the fleet and Alliance.
To me the Lost Fleet series has been a continuous growth in terms of the characters and the story. Just when you think things are settling down there is something else hidden beneath the surface that throws a spanner in the works. Campbell has done a good job at writing the books in such a way that the overall story arc, both the primary one of getting the fleet home and the secondary one of the non-human intelligences, are always in the fore, but he manages to mix it up with all other events and surprises. Above all it works extremely well when looked at as a whole, and very much worth the time and effort to read.
I’ll now be looking forward to the new book in the next series, Beyond the Frontier: Dreadnaught, to see where Geary and co. go from here, and what other surprises Jack Campbell has in store!
This whole series comes highly recommended from me and the tension and entertainment is there from the first page of Dauntless all the way through to the last page in Victorious. Excellent.