Captain John "Black Jack" Geary's legendary exploits are known to every schoolchild. Revered for his heroic "last stand" in the early days of the war, he was presumed dead. But a century later, Geary miraculously returns from survival hibernation and reluctantly takes command of the Alliance fleet as it faces annihilation by the Syndics.
Appalled by the hero-worship around him, Geary is nevertheless a man who will do his duty. And he knows that bringing the stolen Syndic hypernet key safely home is the Alliance's one chance to win the war. But to do that, Geary will have to live up to the impossibly heroic "Black Jack" legend.
BONUS AUDIO: Author Jack Campbell explains how the legend of King Arthur, the Greek historian Xenophon, and other writings influenced the Lost Fleet series.
Get Lost! Listen to the rest of the Lost Fleet series.
©2006 by John G. Hemry writing as Jack Campbell; (P) 2008 Audible, Inc.
"The best novel of its type that I've read." (David Sherman, co-author of the Starfist series)
"Military science fiction at its best." (Catherine Asaro, Nebula Award-winning author of Alpha)
Probably not, I foresee more of the same.
The main character had no character. He was like a cardboard cutout of some idealized naval officer, with zero personal motivations or character traits. He also handles the political situations in his fleet with a disappointing lack of chutzpah. He never says what he's really thinking when speaking to other officers, especially the annoyingly stupid ones who oppose his command of the fleet (I say stupid because they are stupid, not because they oppose him). By the time the book was finished, I was aching for a good old fashioned public smack-down of the leader of this adversarial group. The final few scenes even played like a lead up to a big charismatic speech where Black Jack would lay down the law and put some ridiculously insubordinate officers in their places. It never happened. What a let down.
I think the narrator could have given the main character some more vitality, he sounds like an awfully dull person, not a charismatic legendary hero.
The space battle, the one space battle in the book, was well described and interesting in the way it played out. Sort of.
The book makes it clear that in the hundred years of warfare since Black Jack was turned into a popsicle, everything ever known about military tactics has been abandoned or forgotten. I find it somewhat arbitrary and highly unrealistic that two militaristic cultures, fighting one another for a hundred years, would both settle on the same tactic of just plowing into one another until one side is completely wiped out. That's pretty stupid. We're supposed to believe that Black Jack is, literally, the only person in the universe that has any kind of grasp of tactical maneuvering. Many of the officers in his fleet are constantly pissed (and bitching about it in staff meetings), that they haven't been allowed to make straight shot suicide runs at enemy ships. I get that it's been a long war, which in my mind would encourage developments of new strategies and tactics; I mean, that's the history of warfare right there. Side A comes up with something unique, so Side B has to develop a counter tactic. Warfare does not move in the opposite direction of "Beat with Club until Dead".
The other part of the book that was extremely frustrating was the near complete lack of discipline of the fleet officers. They argue and fight with each other constantly, and basically pick and choose the orders they want to follow, and only on one occasion does this result in any kind of disciplinary action by the Fleet Commander Black Jack. And then, in this one case, he handles it extremely delicately, afraid to annoy any of the other officers. I would have stripped the bastard in question of his command, and busted him to ensign. He was firing on a group of friendly marines, and refused orders to cease fire like four times! Bam! Hang him from the Yard Arm I say!
Meh. It was a frustrating experience listening to the whole thing. I really like Space Navy stuff, this was a poor showing in that genre. Sorry Mr. Campbell, I wanted to like this book, but the characters were just no bueno. I liked the premise though, as a consolation.
It's hard to believe that a war fought by so many people hell bent on self destruction could possibly last 100 years. Perhaps in the previous 99 years, a very large battle is fought every 10 years that literally destroys every space going warship in each fleet. Then, the next 10 years are spent rebuilding said fleets. Rinse, repeat. This must be the case given that modern tactics require throwing all assets into a battle with little to no thought given to tactics. Any future fleet officer with an IQ greater than 60 is either forcibly removed from command or assassinated. Such a waste that the writer attempted to make his main character look like Caesar by making everyone else as head-smackingly dumb as Gomer Pyle. The space battles are quite thrilling and seem realistic enough despite the unbelievable carelessness off the enemy or for that matter all of the captain's subordinates.
I have. I'm a space fight junkie and the space battles in these books were good enough to keep me running back for more. Up to a point anyway. Careful though. The last book in the series was the weakest.
The narration was great. Not surprisingly, the main character is voiced powerfully and believably. The rest are passable which is quite impressive given the material.
Every scene where the captain is talking to anyone but himself.
If you've read this book, watch the movie Idiocracy.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
It is military science-fiction - definitely science-fiction in that they are in spaceships, in the future. Definitely military in they they are at war - in their spaceships which are treated like naval ships would be, complete with marines and officer rankings - with a human enemy.
It is a bit space-opera-y in that the characters will be recurring in future installments, and the overall plot encompasses multiple planetary systems and characters. The story doesn't really end at the end of the book - just the first leg of the journey was completed, not the entire trip.
There is a bit of character development in the main character, though the rest of them are pretty much cardboard cut-outs. Mostly, they are there for the main character to reflect his own thoughts off. Fortunately the main character is actually pretty interesting. He has a bit of conflict both within himself ("will power corrupt me?") and with the other ship captains ("is he corrupt?" or "will he get in my path en route to glory?")
I quite liked the story, and how Black Jack's history was brought into the story, and how this history is used to make him who he is. I have bought the next couple in this series.
The narration is un-obtrusive (i.e. at points I sorta forgot it was narrated). There is no graphic anything (sex, violence or language). And, while there is a tiny bit of moralizing (i.e. "this" is right/moral), it was not excessively so.
I really wanted to like this. I wanted it to be a rip roaring space adventure-hopefully with some identifiable or with some luck, interesting characters. But not really....'Black Jack' Geary is not lovable, he's completely self obsessed, so you are always hearing him repeating lots of inner dialogue about 'woe is him'...because everyone worships him... We also hear,ad nauseum, how far away everything is in space and exactly what the time lag is for each and every maneuver. Sounds like he's describing a video game screen or trying to 'teach' us about what it would be like, really, to fight at faster than light speeds. These never ending reflections during 'battles' actually makes the fights strangely disjointed: They fire on the enemy and...now let's stop and remember, "they really fired this over 3 minutes ago because they are 3 light minutes away, so it's already happened....and Now -back to the action....
Didn't work for me- and I love good space opera, give me some Old Man's War, or some Larson over this any day.
On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through
This book is solid enough military science fiction, delivering some dramatic space battles and heroic actions, but at the same time falls prey to almost every genre convention. It delivers some of the most awkwardly motivated descriptions of how technologies work that the science fiction world has to offer; the main character is (of course) a hero from another time, providing an excuse for yet more info-dumps from the author, characterization tends to be pretty one-dimensional, and so on. Not terrible stuff, but it started to drive me a bit crazy after awhile.
In fact, it reminded me constantly of Rosenfelder's essay "If all stories were written like science fiction stories":
"Do you think we'll be flying on a propeller plane? Or one of the newer jets?" asked Ann.
"I'm sure it will be a jet," said Roger. "Propeller planes are almost entirely out of date, after all. On the other hand, rocket engines are still experimental. It's said that when they're in general use, trips like this will take an hour at most. This one will take up to four hours."
... if the tedious explanations don't bother you, and you like military SF, this is a fine choice. Otherwise, you can do better.
Tell us about yourself!
This is, without a doubt, one of my least favorite science fiction books. I am sorry, I feel bad saying it, but I honestly feel that this might in fact be ???the??? worst SF book the lot. Now, I???ve read a lot of bad books. I???ve even enjoyed a lot of bad books, but this really just rubbed me the wrong way. Tedious and predicable internal monologue; I could have been fine with it in some cartoonish way, but the seriousness with which this is presented gals me. The main character seems to be the only sane character in the galaxy. Sure, this is justified somewhat by the fact that the rest of the human race has spent the last hundred years fighting in a never ending war. But honestly, it still just doesn???t cut it. The sheer, and I shudder to even use the expression, cheesiness of not only the hero worship, but also the stupidity of others does not engender Black Jack Geary to me in the least.
This is another of those novels where instead of making the main character likeable though faults and obstacles and his overcoming these, the author has instead elected to make everyone else as inedible as possible. It is too simple, too cheap and much too little.
That the concept, the idea itself, behind the novel is decent in itself, even good, does not change these facts. The book is just poorly executed, poorly written and unfortunately also poorly read.
I enjoyed the first two of these books but I'm declining to read the third. They bid fair for becoming as endless Robert Jordan's "The Eye of the World" series. I liked the first couple of those, too, till I realized that there was never, ever going to be a resolution, as when the goal was accomplished, the series would end.
The Lost Fleet plots were entertaining. If you don't mind the endless repetitive permutations necessary to this sort of series and the suspicion that nothing's actually ever going to happen because the goal of getting home will be the end of the series, go for it.
Be nice if Campbell could take a tip from Bujold and Forester, and give the captain a mission, let him perform it and send him out on another one, as he battles to form the fleet into a real honest-to-god fighting Navy.
Got to say that Campbell's onto a good thing, here, professionally. But eventually he'll figure out why Arthur Conan Doyle tried to kill off Sherlock.
Sophomoric writing, coupled with a mediocre narrator makes for a slow and painful listen. I won't be going forward in this series.
Not very challenging and quite conventional and not a lot happened. It was an easy listen and not bad in parts, it just could have been much better. I'm wishing I spent my time on a different book.
I was looking for some solid military science fiction with plot twists, surprises, strategy, imaginative weapons and lots of action and excitement. (hint: like Evan Currie's Into the Black). No such luck here.
First time I've listened to this author (probably wont return). The narrator however did an excellent job. As you may have guessed I'm not planning on reading any other books from the series.
No, far too boring, the action was sparse and very distant and impersonal. There was more office politics than action so it wouldn't make an involving film.
It played out more like a couple of low budget TV episodes where they had to hold back on the locations and special effects for budgetary reasons than a feature film.
I was most surprised at how popular this book and series is. Certainly not to my taste.
If I wanted a textbook on military strategy - in SPACE - I would buy one - oh wait, I already did. The lost fleet is dry and boring. The narrator does a nice job with a dull book but that is about the best thing I can say for this. I could not make it all the way through. This was a waste of a credit.
"the lost fleet book 1"
Don't be fooled by talk of physics, The Lost Fleet; Dauntless book 1 is pure space opera. You've got good guys, bad guys and plenty of battles and things blowing up. And don't forget the love interest (ok you do have to wait to book 2 buts its fairly obvious). The premis of the book is fairly simple - the Alliance fleet was suckered into a trap and badly mauled. All the leaders have been murdered and it up to a hero to save the day. The book is exciting and well paced. The physics of space travel are fairly consistant and true to life from what i remember of the subject. On the negative side, the way the book and author goes on about it can grate at times, after all the author didn't seem to mind making up the faster than light stuff, so why preach? The only other main flaw, to my mind, was that i found it hard to believe that a military force would lose it capability to use tactics. That aside, its well worth a listen to.
"Hard SF Naval combat in space."
As the author says in his preface, this is a retelling of the classic 'sleeping hero returns in his country's hour of need' Arthurian style story - but, of course, 'In Space'. Captain John Geary finds himself in command of a battered fleet needing to get home the hard way, but helpfully also in possession of fleet combat skills lost to his side by a century of war. He also finds his command weakened by the shining example of his own tactics in his last battle, and his 'outdated ideas' on morality.
The most unusual thing about this series is the hard scifi treatment of relativistic speeds and distances. Fleets of ships must act like WW2 bomber squadrons - as a lattice of fields of fire. Commands take time to reach the edges of the formation. Ships take time to turn. Arriving ships take time to be seen. etc. It works rather well.
The narrator is excellent - managing to make all the characters distinctive and instantly recognisable.
The story's narrative is entirely from Geary's POV, and is well written but maybe lacks the masterful touch - possibly because it is so simply done.
This is a reasonably short book, made shorter by the fact that it is gripping enough to blast through in no time. Fortunately there are plenty more in the series.
"Best SciFi I've read in years"
As they used to say a "rip roaring yarn". Superb piece of space opera. No deep philosophical navel gazing in this book, just good old space warfare and petty political backstabbing.
"A truly stunning read about a space journey home."
In The Lost Fleet: Dauntless, you are introduced to Captain Black Jack Geary and the one hundred year war between the Alliance and the syndicates.
Still recovering from his stint in survival sleep, he is thrust into command of the Alliance fleet when all higher ranked officers are killed, he is forced to try and save the fleet using long forgotten tactics in an endless journey home.
Jack Campbell is an excellent author who knows how to keep the suspense going whilst telling a great story that the reader just has to keep reading.
The way he describes the space battles is a skill that I just envoy as it is so simple but brilliant at the same time.
Alison Laura Goodman
The way he describes the space battles
The fact that the characters are human and show it with all of their faults.
No as I enjoyed the whole book.
"The Lost Fleet: Dauntless"
Sadly I found this audio book very predictable and unoriginal. I am a big fan of Alastair Reynolds style of mind blowing techno and wild character settings, and thought this may be similar... but this book is just like out takes of old Battlestar Galactica or Star Trek. I could not even finish it!
"Should be in the children's section"
Great book, if you're a 12 year old boy.
Self gratifying 2 dimensional tedium.
I think that about sums it up.
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