Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lost Fleet: Fearless (Lost Fleet Series #2), Vol. 2 by Jack Campbell

Search for title: HCL RCL MPL SPPL MnLINK

The Barnes & Noble Review
A centuries-old interstellar conflict. Millions dead. Entire star systems obliterated. A tough-as-nails leader trying to lead a lost fleet back home from deep in enemy territory. Military science fiction fans who are searching for a fast-paced, no-holds-barred, deep-space military-powered adventure should check out the Lost Fleet saga by Jack Campbell (pseudonym for veteran genre writer John G. Hemry), a surprisingly multi-layered series that incorporates elements of space opera, apocalyptic thriller, and, at times, subtly allegorical social commentary.

In Fearless, the sequel to 2006's Dauntless, legendary war hero Captain John "Black Jack" Geary is once again faced with a seemingly hopeless situation. Recently rescued from an escape pod found floating in space after nearly a century in suspended animation, Geary is desperately trying to find a way to bring what's left of the Alliance fleet back home. In his possession is a device acquired from an enemy starship that could end the war forever. But with the entire military force of the Syndicate Worlds hot on his trail, Geary is up against impossible odds -- especially when he frees a labor camp of Alliance POWs and rescues an egomaniacal captain whose irrational machismo could doom the entire fleet… ....
Yes. No disappointment in this series - the second installment is great, and develops the complex situation of John Geary and his leading of "The Lost Fleet" against impossible odds.

I do think this compares (favorably) to the Miles Vorkosigan series. The hero is likewise a gifted leader, whose tactical skill is balanced by an interior skepticism and honor that keep him from being a "mere hero." I've got book number three ("Courageous" - all ship names in his fleet, by the way) in hand from the library, and bought number four ("Valiant") for an upcoming trip. It will be tempting (but I'll resist) to read it as soon as I finish number three.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lost Fleet: Dauntless (Lost Fleet Series #1), Vol. 1 by Jack Campbell

Search for title: HCL RCL MPL SPPL MnLINK


The Alliance has been fighting the Syndic for a century-and losing badly. Now its fleet is crippled and stranded in enemy territory. Their only hope is Captain John "Black Jack" Geary-a man who's emerged from a century-long hibernation to find he has been heroically idealized beyond belief. Now, he must live up to his own legend.

Well, thank you,! I came across this in the "auto-suggest" that looked at my books and pointed it out. Very good. A little bit Star Trek Voyager, a little bit Battlestar Galactica, with some "King Arthur returned" thrown in for good measure, Campbell (John Hemry, really) gives a good yarn here, the beginning of the Lost Fleet adventures. I've got books 2 and 3 queued up already.

It's good hard SF - his depiction of the battles across a solar system, with relativistic effects and time-lag well done. I found it much more comprehensible (and interesting) than Weber's battle scenes in the Harrington series (which I like, but I usually skip quickly through the fight scences).

And it's a good people story - with the hero Jack Geary coming to terms with his revival after a century of sleep to take command of a fleet immersed in a hundred year war that has taken a toll on the people and policies of the Alliance. He needs to fend off the near-deification his heroic "Black Jack" persona is remembered as, AND use it to drive his fleet into the discipline and structure they will need to fight their way back to Alliance space.

I'm actually reminded of Bujold's The Warrior's Apprentice, for, like Miles, Jack Geary finds himself in charge and improvising his way as he tries to steer, and win the loyalty of, a fleet he never expected to be running.

Great fun. On to book 2!