After spending a century in a survival capsule, John ‘Black Jack’ Geary is rescued by an Alliance warship – and is immediately thrust into command of a fleet battling the Syndics. Having suffered a devastating ambush by the enemy, Captain Geary must find a way to save the remnants of his fleet and bring it back into Alliance space. He also faces two enemies that might well destroy his fleet. One is from within, battling the hero image of ‘Black Jack’ and the expectations of his tradition-bound ship commanders. The other threat is from rebellious captains who don’t feel he is fit to command the fleet and are constantly undermining his authority. Faced with what seems an impossible mission, ‘Black Jack’ Geary has to somehow bring his ships home.
I love action science fiction, and browsing for new books, I thought I would give Jack Campbell a go – and bought the first six books of his The Lost Fleet series, which was a mistake.
The battle sequences were compelling, even though the story premise takes some swallowing. It is doubtful that any civilization can sustain 100 years of interstellar war, losing ships and men at the rate Jack Campbell suggests. Moreover, the battle tactics used by the Alliance against the Syndics made me cringe – until Black Jack Geary showed everybody how warfare is supposed to be conducted by employing tactics he learned 100 years ago before he went into hibernation in his escape capsule. Surely the military on both sides would be smarter than simply charging their ships at each other.
The other thing that I disliked intensely was Captain Geary’s indecisive, hesitant character. Like the Richard Bolitho books by Alexander Kent, the reader is supposed to feel sorry for Geary and his predicament, trying to live up to the hero image of ‘Black Jack’. After a while, this indecisiveness throughout Jack Campbell’s books became exasperating.
I am sure lots of readers will love the action in The Lost Fleet books, provided they don’t think too much about the background assumptions.
About the Author
Jack Campbell is the pseudonym for John G. Hemry, a retired Naval officer (and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis). As Jack Campbell, he writes The Lost Fleet series of military science fiction novels, as well as the Beyond the Frontier continuation of The Lost Fleet, and The Lost Stars series (a spin-off of The Lost Fleet). He has also written the Stark’s War series and the Sinclair/JAG in space series, and has written many shorter stories featuring space opera, fantasy, time travel, and alternate history. Many of these stories can be found in the three Jack Campbell ebook anthologies. He lives with his wife (the Indomitable S) and three children, two of whom are autistic, in Maryland.
Find out more about Jack Campbell and his books at his website.
Jack Campbell’s books can be found on Amazon.