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Book Review

Book Cover

The Lost Fleet
Book 5 - Relentless


Author: Jack Campbell
Titan Books
RRP: £7.99, US $7.99
ISBN: 978 0 85768 134 8
Available 08 May 2011

Leading his Fleet home through enemy space has taken a heavy toll on Black Jack's armada. Discovering that there are Alliance prisoners of war near by The Alliance fleet engages in a land and space battle to free their own men. Jack's reputation has expanded both within his own fleet and amongst the Syndic worlds. Inside his own fleet dissension has turned to rebellion and sabotage, with sides vying to either kill him or make him a dictator when they reach home...

Lost Fleet: Relentless is the fifth and penultimate book in the Lost Fleet series, written by Jack Campbell.

If you have read any of the other reviews you’ll know that the main weakness of the books tends to be their myopic concentration of Jack as the main character, which allows many of the supporting characters to wither and die on the proverbial vine. There is no real change here, except with so many balls in the air, Jack spends a lot less time pondering the fluff in his belly button. The pace is stronger, partially due to the lack of adnausium introspection from the main character but mainly because Campbell has strung out a number of threads which need resolution in this volume.

So, Jack has to contend with not only the enemy, but also overt rebellion in his own fleet, whilst simultaneously trying to get the Syndic gate key home (Campbell never really explains why the Alliance didn’t do this simple thing before sending the fleet off in the first place) and discovering the intentions of a shadowy alien force.

The strong points of the books tend to be their ruthless adherence to the laws of physics for the combat and the descriptions of the battles. The human elements of the books tend towards the shallow, but then fans of military science fiction tend to be more interested in fetish descriptions of hardware.

With only a single volume left in the series, we will have to see if Jack can end the war, without inadvertently making him master of the Alliance.


Charles Packer

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