Friday, July 21, 2006

The Lost Fleet: Dauntless (review)

Fans of military sci-fi, and just damn good sci fi: take note – The Lost Fleet: Dauntless delivers.

I couldn’t resist picking it up. The plot was intriguing. A hero thought dead is found floating in a space pod mixed with debris at the site of the battle that made him a legend. Luck would have it, he’s in suspended animation, and the folks that find him bring him back. Here’s where Luck gets spiteful. The Hero: Captain John Black a.k.a. Black Jack, finds himself in the company of Alliance soldiers who idealize the memory of a man he knows he is not. He was an alliance captain years ago, fighting a war that was supposed to end. Except its 100 years in the future and not only is the war in full swing, his side has lost it’s way when it comes to ethics, tactics, and simple military bearing. He’s left in charge of the rag tag fleet that is surrounded by a vicious enemy, with no perceivable options and an hour’s time to surrender. Black Jack sees outside the box, and gets them out of the A.O. (area of operations), with the enemy one step behind them, and only a ghost of a chance of getting this fleet home. The books takes off from there. Best part, in the process of scavenging materials they uncover a secret that may lead to the end of the war. Had they not followed Old Jack, they’d never have found the planet that held the ‘secret’.

Jack is a great reluctant hero. The book is single protagonist perspective, it’s all told from his POV, but the author, Jack Campbell, is an adept, so it’s easy to get into the other character’s heads from action and dialog. The book has the perfect mix of action, introspection, and dialog. You pick it up and you can’t put it down. I love books like that, it’s what I enjoy most as a reader.

The other thing I enjoyed is that it took a retro approach to the genre. No nano tech, or sophisticated androids: this is balls to the wall, two fisted, down and dirty sci-fi – on order with Battlestar Galactica or Space Above and Beyond. Jack Campbell goes old school with Dauntless, making me remember what first sucked me into science fiction.

Dauntless is the ship he’s on, and this book covers the first leg of what I suspect will be a long and fun ride. I can’t wait for the rest of the series.

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