RogerBW's Blog

The Lost Fleet: Fearless, Jack Campbell 25 June 2014

Second of a six-book series. In the distant future, a long-frozen space-navy captain tries to lead his fleet home.

More of the same. Three more star systems along the fleet's route, and a slight feeling of progress.

It's becoming clear that the Syndics, the principal opposition here, have been taking the same stupid pills as the Alliance. Their ship commanders don't dare to surrender because they know they'll be executed if they do, and even if they might there are remote overrides built into the ships anyway.

Technologically, the main interest is an attack on a hypernet gate (a way of getting home quickly, in theory, but also a vast amount of bound energy that can be released explosively if things go wrong). There's clearly a suggestion that something is odd about the rapid development and adoption of hypernet technology, but only a little further exploration of that theme; clearly I'm going to have to finish the series to find out what's going on, though my guesses are being channelled in a very specific direction.

It all starts to feel a bit facile. The basic conflict, of one smart guy with limited resources (and the ability to train his underlings to be smart) versus a lot of stupid guys with far more resources, is the stuff of which heroic tales are made, but it does rather plod along at times. It's only at the end of this book that anyone becomes more than cardboard: our hero and viewpoint character, John Geary, tastes and avoids the temptation to exploit his heroic status and indulge himself in revenge. (There's also some soap-operatic character stuff, but really that mostly feels as though it's put in to indulge the sort of reader who feels that a real manly man can't be expected to be celibate. Still, at least someone can disagree with our hero without being painted by the author as necessarily Wrong and Stupid.)

I'm not at all convinced that the worldbuilding leads to the sort of battles we see here, but hey ho. The important thing here, and I'll admit the thing that brought me back and will take me on to the third book, is the business of command, how to manage subordinates who don't like each other and may not like you either. This time there's an actual mutiny by ship commanders, though we don't hear as much about the setup to that as I'd like; we get rather more of the aftermath.

Followed by Courageous.

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See also:
The Lost Fleet: Dauntless, Jack Campbell
The Lost Fleet: Courageous, Jack Campbell
The Lost Fleet: Valiant, Jack Campbell
The Lost Fleet: Relentless, Jack Campbell
The Lost Fleet: Victorious, Jack Campbell

Previous in series: Dauntless | Series: The Lost Fleet | Next in series: Courageous

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