Michael's Reviews > Dauntless

Dauntless by Jack Campbell
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Nov 21, 08

bookshelves: sci-fi, 2008
Recommended for: Military Sci-Fi buffs
Read in March, 2008, read count: 1

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 aboard an escape pod, in stasis.

Geary awakes to find that, shockingly, it's an entire century since he commanded the battle at Grendel and the war is still going. He is disturbed by the reaction the crews of the fleet have when they see him, after all he's the legendary "Black Jack". Crews swear by his name much in the same way people use the name "Jesus" in real life. This all disturbs Geary and in fact he finds it just plain annoying. As with most legends, Geary's has been inflated beyond how he can actually perform so he is constantly trying to point out that he is not the person they think he is.

Well, he gets little time to convince them otherwise: Shortly after he awakes the commander of the fleet and his staff are killed by the Syndics in an act of treachery. Admiral Bloch left Geary in charge of the fleet in his absence. Now in charge Geary mush lead the battered, out-gunned fleet home after their terrible defeat.

The Lost Fleet: Dauntless is a great example of Military Sci-Fi. Those who like John Scalzi should like Campbell's style of writing: not overly complicated and doesn't require a degree in physics to understand the technology. Good solid storytelling. The pacing of the story is outstanding and balanced. While there isn't as much combat in the book as one would suspect for this type of novel, Campbell manages to keep the pages turning with the subplots. Many of the subplots revolve around the logistics of running a fleet and managing problems with the crew.

Jack Geary is a very interesting character. Instead of the author pushing him as the "man god" Geary plays down his prowess and despises the legend worship he is met with. He struggles with grasping the new technology of the day and the culture of the fleet has completely changed.

While the setting is covered very thinly, there is enough to get an idea of the cultures of the two human factions involved in this book. Hopefully in future books we will get more background on the Alliance, Syndics, and the characters themselves.

Conclusion: If you like military Sci-Fi this book should be right up your alley. There's enough action, plenty of subplots and a really fun story to be find within the pages of this novel. I feel comfortable saying that Campbell is in the same class as Scalzi, Haldeman, and Ringo. If you like these authors, you should find Lost Fleet: Dauntless to your liking.
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