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Dauntless (The Lost Fleet #1)

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  20,678 Ratings  ·  1,166 Reviews
The Alliance has been fighting the Syndics for a century--and losing badly. Now its fleet is crippled and stranded in enemy territory. Their only hope is a man who's emerged from a century-long hibernation to find he has been heroically idealized, beyond belief...

Captain John "Black Jack" Geary's legendary exploits are known to every schoolchild. Revered for his heroic "la
Mass Market Paperback, Ace, 304 pages
Published July 2006 by Penguin (first published January 1st 2006)
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Dec 25, 2011 Felicia rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, man-fantasy
Hey! It's a space story with Marines and no vagina plotlines! And I REALLY LOVED IT!

This is the first in a series of a hero brought back from stasis to save the universe. I loved the world, the space fights, the manly commanding of Jack, the idea of a mythical hero that is accidentally discovered and revived in space, and where the myth and reality clash. Dude is a bossy pants, but I enjoyed this a LOT! Good clean military space fun!
Mar 03, 2014 Markus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, science-fiction
“Sagas wouldn't be interesting if terrible things didn't happen to the people in them.”

Captain John “Black Jack” Geary won his accolades after defending a convoy of Alliance transports against an attack from the Syndicate Worlds. Believed killed in action, he was given the rank of honorary admiral, and subsequently declared a war hero and an example for future generations of Alliance sailors to live by. But a hundred years later, Alliance warships pick up an escape pod in outer space, and find a
Nov 21, 2013 Carmen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Until I came back, like some ancient general who remembers ways of fighting that the barbarians forgot long ago.

I rarely pick up military sci-fi, but when I do I end up enjoying it immensely. As long as it doesn't involve rape (either as a rape-fellow-soldiers-because-they-are-female or rape-as-a-weapon-of-war). This book chose not to have any rape in it, and as a result I enjoyed it thoroughly, just as I'd hoped I would.

Captain John "Black Jack" Geary has just been awakened from cryosleep after
Sep 30, 2014 Conor rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Dauntless was an enjoyable naval adventure in space that ignored depth and challenging complexity in favour of cool tech and massive space battles.

A hundred years ago the Syndicate worlds launched a deadly surprise attack on a small convoy of Alliance ships, igniting a terrible war. In command of the small Alliance convoy was Captain ‘Black’ Jack Geary. Under his inspired leadership the majority of the convoy was saved, however Captain Geary was lost with his ship. Remembered in the A
Ken T
Mar 24, 2012 Ken T rated it it was ok
Black Jack Geary, famed commander from the beginning of the Syndic/Alliance war is back from the dead only to find that a hundred years of war have left his beloved fleet a shadow of its former self. Thrust into command of the bulk of the Alliance fleet, cut off behind enemy lines, he sets out trying to live up to his legend and to bring the fleet home alive.

I started out pretty excited to read this book. It had received some decent reviews and appeared on a few Goodreads lists. Sadly, it did no
Mr. Matt
Jan 21, 2014 Mr. Matt rated it really liked it
Dauntless was just what the doctor ordered. The last couple of books that I read were slow, plodding things - all about immersion and realism. All of that was great, but sometimes I want a book to reach out of the cover and slap me in the face with bigger than life action. Rest assured, Dauntless delivered.

Black Jack Geary is picked up by a passing Alliance warships. Frozen for a hundred years in deep-freeze hibernation, he was lost and presumed dead. He awakes to find the Alliance still locked
Mike (the Paladin)
Originally reviewed in 2011
updated in 2014

I like having an audio book on when I'm doing things that require little or no thought...of course I listen when I'm working on leather crafts. Could that explain the number of unfinished mistakes in that lower drawer??? Oh well, back to the subject at hand.

I recently finished the 6th Honor Harrington book and thought it somewhat of a "come-down" from the earlier ones...really. She seemed to be closing in on Super-Woman status. When I read the synopsis o
Well, I tried. Listened to 3/4ths of the book and stopped. Many folks love it, but it's just not my kind of space opera. Unlike The Vorkosigan Series, by Lois McMaster Bujold, or even The Liaden Universe, by Lee and Miller, there is insufficient character or relationship development. Instead, military protocols, jockeying for position, and battles.

Some cool scenes. Some good battle strategy. The author embeds a few navigational and tactical ideas about long-distance, time-relative battle plann
David Sven
Nov 05, 2012 David Sven marked it as started-but-didn-t-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, audiobooks
No. Can't do it. Shelving this as unfinished after 25%.
The audio narration by Christian Rummel was bland. The dialogue was bland. And Captain John Geary didn't grab me.

The writing style reminded me a little of C J Cherryh's Downbelow Station. If you like her writing style and you like military sci fi then this may appeal to you.

I didn't care that much for Downbelow Station either but I persisted with it and ended up enjoying it well enough. But that was in another time - before I listened to my
Jan 11, 2017 D.G. rated it really liked it
Imagine if you spent 100 years in suspended animation and when you woke up, you find out that you had become a mythical hero to your people. That the discipline in the military you had known was lost and they justified all sort of terrible tactics in your name. And now a twist of fate left you in charge of a whole fleet with the responsibility to take them home.

That's the situation that our hero, John "Black Jack" Geary finds himself in. After his survival pod is found 100-years later, Geary lea
Nov 19, 2012 Llalania rated it did not like it
This book inspired a whole new shelf on my goodreads bookcase. You can guess which one. I was intrigued when I saw this on the all time best military sci-fi books list and I wish I hadn't. I started cringing on the first page. The writing alone is awful! Who edited this book? There is SO much telling, no showing, bad stage directions, little detail of people and things, saying the same thing twice and three times in the same paragraph, I could go on.

The MC of this piece does little but mope arou
Kat  Hooper
Apr 18, 2013 Kat Hooper rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
3.5 stars
Originally posted at FanLit:

John “Black Jack” Geary’s escape pod has just been rescued from deep space. He’s been in cold-sleep for a century after he single-handedly held off enemy spaceships while letting the rest of the Alliance fleet escape. Everyone thought he was dead, but his brave sacrifice went down in the history books and many people still whisper that Black Jack Geary will come back to save the Alliance in a time of great need. And so
Neal Asher
Feb 24, 2012 Neal Asher rated it really liked it
There’s a whiff of antiquity about this book that reminds me of E.E. Doc Smith and other books I read at about the same time I read the Skylark series. This feels like WWII but with space ships and could easily have been written in the 50s. I felt momentary cringes at the name of the character ‘Black Jack Geary’ at the use of ‘hell lances’ and ‘grape shot’ and at crewmen being called ‘sailors’. The technology felt daft, as if the electronics aboard the ships might have employed thermionic valves ...more
Sep 29, 2016 Leonie rated it liked it
This story had a great premise - many years of war, a society hanging on by the fingernails, a (cold sleep) resurrected 'hero' and the decay of skill due to the constant heavy losses of a decades long conflict.

The execution left something to be desired. Although the story is told from the main character's point of view, very rarely do we leave the inside of his head, except for some exposition. As a result, the other characters were barely developed, and were little more than cardboard cut outs
3.0 to 3.5 stars. Good, solid military SF. I liked the main character and the hint of a larger story in future novels as a result of the discovery of evidence of an "alien" civilization. Will certainly read the next book in the series.
It is rare to run across military sci-fi that is quick to read and not very complex, but this book is both of those things. The author theorizes - what if there was a King Arthur type character in sci-fi? A "dead" hero is discovered in stasis 100 years later. The book explores how well he is received (adoration and distrust), how does he fit in, etc. The entire novel is several space battles. The author does an excellent job of doing play-by-play of space battles that doesn't sound bogged down w ...more
Jan 07, 2015 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Returned heroes, RTS space combat gamers, fans of Battlestar Galactica
I have been hearing about this series forever. I'm generally somewhat indifferent to military SF — spaceship battles alone are not particularly compelling to me, unless I'm controlling the ships in a game. Much of Dauntless seems inspired by spaceship combat games, where you get to build a fleet, choose your weapons, select leaders based on their attributes, and so on.

The Alliance has been at war with the Syndics for a century now. Captain John Geary was in command during an early battle in that
Rob Phillips
Sep 29, 2012 Rob Phillips rated it did not like it
A fairly poor attempt at a sci-fi novel, it's certainly aimed at a younger audience I would assume as they will be more forgiving for the terrible writing.

It's quite overwhelming where to start in the criticism for this, technically the picture Campbell paints is very threadbare with very little character development or descriptions of environments. The only mental generated image is generic ship / planet / space / male / female etc.

The characters are also incredibly naive and child like, with t
Jun 12, 2011 Mike rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi, xcharity-2016
Decent military scifi, okay start of the series. I particularly liked the science of commanding and fighting while accounting for the time lag for signals to travel back and forth across light-seconds, light-minutes, etc. Other aspects of the story were less believable like the "banzai charge" style of fighting used by both opponents until Black Jack shows up. Conor has the best comprehensive review:

3 Stars from me.
Eric Allen
Feb 16, 2013 Eric Allen rated it liked it
Book One of The Lost Fleet
By Jack Campbell

A Review by Eric Allen

Jack Campbell is the pseudonym for one John G. Hemry, a retired US Navy ship pilot. His long experience in this profession lends quite a bit of realism to his writings of large scale space battles and the way crewmen aboard ships work. After retiring from his career in the Navy, he set about persuing his lifelong dream of becoming an author, and that leads us to his Lost Fleet series.

John "Black Jack" Geary has been awakene
Sep 02, 2012 David(LA,CA) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
How does a war last for one hundred years when one faction has obviously come down with a case of the terminally stupids? No, really, how does that happen? This book attempts to offer an explanation of how we arrive at this situation, but I can't buy it. The level of idiocy displayed by some of the characters in this story is so great, that I can't help but believe that the enemy faction should have wiped out the guys we are supposed to be cheering for long before the start of the book.

The main
Solid military science fiction, enjoyable but not mind blowing. Full review to come.

3.5 stars.
An Odd1
Oct 20, 2011 An Odd1 rated it it was ok
"The Lost Fleet: Dauntless" (Lost Fleet #1) by Jack Campbell is the flagship of the Alliance fleet that rescues the almost dead stasis pod of John "Black Jack" Geary, posthumous Captain, one hundred years after his final battle, in charge of three ships. That first enemy surprise attack has not yet been explained. (view spoiler) His last order then, suited for the particular circumstance in time, has become ...more
Melissa McShane
Jan 30, 2012 Melissa McShane rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Battlestar Galactica and the Temeraire series
I like military fiction anyway, and this is some good military SF. You've got this guy, John Geary, who wakes up from 100 years of drifting in an abandoned survival pod to find that a) the war that had just begun back then is STILL going on, b) he was "posthumously" promoted to captain after his disappearance, c) in all that time, he's become something of a folk hero, and d) thanks to fleet rules about seniority, when the Alliance fleet's leadership is massacred, he's the senior ranking officer ...more
Feb 03, 2016 Katherine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-sf, read-2016
This is a military SF series which had a great premise. The main character was the commander of a space ship which was destroyed in battle early in an interstellar war and he was frozen inside his escape capsule. Over a hundred years later he is rescued only to find the war is still ongoing. He’s been rescued by the fleet on their way to negotiate a treaty deep in enemy space, but they are betrayed and most of the senior officers are killed, leaving this newly defrosted captain in charge of the ...more
Sep 14, 2012 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
There are some glaring issues I have with Dauntless. These inconsistencies have hampered my enjoyment of the later half of this novel.

Here goes, if Greary has this knowledge that was lost in the relentless war efforts wouldn't computers have them too. I mean if they had his maneuvers from his battle, why wouldn't they have simulations as well. It's half explained as due to attrition but even now, everything we have is recorded in videos or in text. Unless the entire galaxy had devolved in one ce
May 27, 2013 Nikki rated it it was ok
This is pretty solid military SF, compelling enough to keep one turning pages to see how the fleet gets out of the scrape this time. Geary's PTSD is a background issue which I'd like to have seen dealt with head-on -- but that'd get in the way of the pace Campbell's trying to invoke.

Ultimately, though, this seems like a rabbithole of a long series. I didn't feel attached to the characters, and while it's competent enough, it's not as compelling to me as, say, the Honor Harrington books. It doesn
Jacob Proffitt
Jan 11, 2012 Jacob Proffitt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite, sci-fi
I picked this up yesterday evening for a quick spot of reading before bed. Next thing I knew, it was 3:30am and I'd finished the book. Excellent characters, compelling story and gripping action. The author does a fantastic job realizing space fleet tactics and logistics without making them at all boring. And the main character, John Geary, is a great depiction of a leader stuck with fighting his own legend. Yes, he really was that good back in the day, but it turns out a lot of details get lost ...more
Real Dead Review
Nov 21, 2008 Real Dead Review rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Military Sci-Fi buffs
Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell (the pen name of John Hemry) is a military sci-fi novel that revolves around the main character Captain John "Black Jack" Geary. Geary is war hero of historic proportions and the hero of the battle in the Grendel system. The Syndics (a human corporate empire) ambushed the Alliance at Grendel where Geary made himself famous with his heroic "last stand". Geary is thought to be lost in battle at the helm of his ship but a hundred years later an Alliance fleet finds Geary ...more
Mar 15, 2017 Charlotte rated it really liked it
I feel that this was a good, light read. I'd say it's a three star story, just, with an extra 1/2 star because the descriptions of space battles (and having to account for time lapse) were done really well.

The characters are quite basic and the same motivations and descriptions are given multiple times,which got a bit dull. However, it was fast paced and enjoyable enough that I would read the sequels if I came across them but I wouldn't search for them, if you know what I mean.
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Audiobooks: April 2015 Whispersync Roundup 5 100 Apr 17, 2015 06:04PM  
Space Opera Fans : Dauntless by Jack Campbell 43 76 Apr 01, 2015 06:18PM  
HSF Fiction: Book 2 of our late March read 1 1 Mar 19, 2015 08:25PM  
Science Fiction A...: * March Random Read: Dauntless 31 80 Jul 24, 2012 06:04AM  
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Jack Campbell is a pseudonym for American science fiction author John G. Hemry.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

John G. Hemry is an American author of military science fiction novels. Drawing on his experience as a retired United States Navy officer, he has written the Stark's War and Paul Sinclair series.
More about Jack Campbell...

Other Books in the Series

The Lost Fleet (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Fearless (The Lost Fleet, #2)
  • Courageous (The Lost Fleet, #3)
  • Valiant (The Lost Fleet, #4)
  • Relentless (The Lost Fleet, #5)
  • Victorious (The Lost Fleet, #6)
  • Dreadnaught (The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier, #1)
  • Invincible (The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier, #2)
  • Guardian (The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier, #3)
  • Steadfast (The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier, #4)
  • Leviathan (The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier #5)

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“I need to stop getting into situations where all my options are potentially bad.” 99 likes
“There are things we don't do. From this moment forth, let us all ensure our every action reflects well on us and our ancestors. Let us live to the highest standards, lest we win this war only to find ourselves staring in the mirror at the face of our late enemy.” 30 likes
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