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Book Review

Book Cover

The Lost Fleet
Beyond the Frontier
Book 3 - Guardian


Author: Jack Campbell
Publisher: Titan Books
RRP: £7.99, US $12.95
ISBN: 978 1 78116 464 8
Publication Date: 10 May 2013

Having survived the war with the Syndics and brought his fleet home Admiral Geary’s presence in Alliance Space is considered a political time bomb. By mutual consent with the government Geary agrees to take his fleet far past Syndic controlled space to investigate an unknown alien presence which had interfered in the war. Following conflict, and the capture of one of the Kicks massive ships and accompanied by a host of friendly aliens, Geary turns his fleet towards home...

The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier - Guardian is the ninth book in The Lost Fleet series of books, written by Jack Campbell.

The strengths and weaknesses of Campbell’s writing have been covered in previous reviews, strong on real physics space battles, weak on characters. That said, I think I enjoyed this book more than the last couple as Campbell is forced to open up the story to include the larger problems occurring in human space. There is even a very Asimov ending to the book, a nice nod to the book's desire to tell stories more in the mould of the golden age of science fiction.

When the story opens, Geary finds his fleet stuck in Midway, an important hub in the Syndics corporate empire and one they are willing to fight for as Midway has declared independence. Geary has to find a solution to the Syndic fleet waiting to recover the planet and the gate and the desires of the underpowered rebels.

Being Black Jack, of course he finds a solution, but not before he realises that the value of the Kicks ship means that elements in the Syndic hierarchy have no intention of letting his fleet get back to Earth and have adjusted their tactics to circumvent the peace process, even using his own tactics against him.

What follows is a small amount of political intrigue, struggling under a massive layer of space battles. The characters don’t progress or change and their particular roles have been pretty much set in stone from the first book onwards. The story only takes a different approach once the fleet has arrived home. The matter of the Dancers and their enigmatic presence in the fleet, their aims and motives are dealt with and here Campbell provides a satisfying ending to the series, if ending it be.

For god’s sake don’t start reading the series with the last book, even having read them all, over a period of time, there were still points where I got lost, not being able to remember everything which came before.

What Campbell does, militaristic science fiction, he does well, but if the series is to continue it cannot rely on space battles alone. What the book does, it does well, but only if you're into space battles.


Charles Packer

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