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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars curiously riveting
This is a very odd book. It's not great literature. It's not a revolutionary leap forward in the genre of military Sci-Fi. There are no startling revelations. The plot is transparent. The space battles are repetitive. There are cloistered nuns who have a better grasp of tactics than the commanders of the opposing space fleets. The military situation is ludicrous -...
Published on 15 Jun. 2009 by M. J. Bourne

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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars the return of black jack
Space fleet of the human grouping known as the alliance have gotten themselves into trouble. stranded well into enemy territory, outnumbered and outgunned, and about to possibly make a big mistake in accepting an offer to negotiate. Fortunately, they've found legendary ship captain john 'black jack' geary, who's been in suspended animation for a hundred years after...
Published on 25 Jun. 2007 by Paul Tapner


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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars curiously riveting, 15 Jun. 2009
By 
M. J. Bourne "vandering" (Cumbria UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a very odd book. It's not great literature. It's not a revolutionary leap forward in the genre of military Sci-Fi. There are no startling revelations. The plot is transparent. The space battles are repetitive. There are cloistered nuns who have a better grasp of tactics than the commanders of the opposing space fleets. The military situation is ludicrous - the Human race seems to have stopped inventing things for a century. You can pick hole after hole in the assumptions and the tech.

And yet, and yet, I found it impossible to put this book down - and for a long time I really didnt know why, beyond recognising that it's easy to read.

I think the real reason is the superb characterisation of the major characters, particularly Rione. The best battles in this are fought with words, not missiles, and in conference rooms, not deep space. You can spot what is going to happen 90% of the time, but actually reading it come to fruition is immensely satisfying.

The one unique aspect I really liked was the religious angle. Its just made clear how important it is (a form of ancestor worship in fact) to most of the characters, without swamping with pious mumblings.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars the return of black jack, 25 Jun. 2007
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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Space fleet of the human grouping known as the alliance have gotten themselves into trouble. stranded well into enemy territory, outnumbered and outgunned, and about to possibly make a big mistake in accepting an offer to negotiate. Fortunately, they've found legendary ship captain john 'black jack' geary, who's been in suspended animation for a hundred years after fighting a battle right at the start of the war.

He doesn't quite live up to the legend he's become in the meantime. But when things go wrong and he ends up in command of the fleet, can he save the day and get home?

This is not great literature, but for a readable and entertaining story, it's quite good. The last third of the book doesn't grab as much as the first, and whilst the characterisation isn't great it's better than you might expect. And best of it all it's not a long book. I appreciate a few short reads from time to time. Although it's just the beginning of a series. It's just entertaining enough to make me order the rest
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Take it for what it is - a quick bit of light entertainment, 31 Mar. 2009
By 
D. MCDAID (UK) - See all my reviews
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Having read all the mixed reviews here, have to say I'm on the positive side. If you are expecting a deep thought out story with complicated plot it's not for you. If you want a quick light read, with entertaining battle scenes, reasonable character development and a few cliff hanger endings this series delivers in spades. Actually the first book is probably the worst but every book is improving and I think is worth the investment. Overall I'm enjoying the adventures of Black Jack's march home.
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52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read, 19 May 2007
The premise of Dauntless is very interesting. An old lost war hero, who has become a legend since his 'death', is discovered floating in space by a fleet trapped in enemy space and desperatly trying to get home. But of course he is not the mythical hero, but a man.

The space battles are very well written indeed and allot of thought has gone into the actual physics involved in space combat, this is not Star Wars. It is the kind of book that is hard to put down and you stay up rather longer than you should.

Why then only 4 stars, well it is a little short and feels like half a book that ends just as it is getting going. Perhaps a commercial decision to maximise revenue by dragging out a series. Characterisation is a little lacking as well. You only really get to know 3 characters in any detail at all.
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108 of 123 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the book I expected, 10 Jun. 2007
By 
Roy Larke (UK) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book based on the previous, glowing reviews and I'm hugely disappointed. It's very short compared to similar books in this genre, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, and has a few interesting plot ideas, but the writing is amateurish, the plot lines very simple, and the science ancient. Worst of all, it's incredibly repetitive and the characters are cardboard -- they are supposed to be military personnel, but act and think more like school teachers.

The idea is that, in some distant future, a massive fleet of ships is attempting a final (and so stupid a 5-year old could see the flaws) strategy to wipe out their long term enemy at the enemy's home world. Unfortunately, the whole thing is a trap, and the story begins with the fleet making a rather obvious escape to fight another day. They have to make their way back to earth led by the main character who, somehow, has been found after surviving 100 years in an escape pod. Luckily for the fleet, this particular man hasn't lost the common sense that everyone else clearly lacks. I liked the main character, but the writer draws his thought as if he's more of a manager at Tesco than a star ship captain. His chatty relationship with his second in command suggests a romantic relationship in the next book -- just guessing, but, as I said, the plot is fairly transparent.

Apart from some interesting political problems for the fleet's new leader, the rest of the book is a far too simple story of how the fleet escapes, jumps to two star systems and fights a minor battle against its pursuers. By the final battle, the writing has improved slightly, but even then it's hard to believe anyone would have to command a fleet to such stupid people. Perhaps things improve in the next book.

The best part of the book is that I'm pretty sure a young teenager would find it quite good. There's enough action and the majority of characters are drawn like something from Blue Peter anyway.

The worst part of the book is the author's lack of imagination. He clearly thinks that the distances involved in space are so amazing that he has to mention it on almost every page. Again and again and again we have to be reminded that information is actually hours or minutes out of date because it took so long to get here. Yeah, I know, I got it the first time you mentioned it and still get it the 100th time too!

I finished the book, so it's not the worst of the worst, but it's not the level you'd expect for a true sci-fi audience. Great to give to a nephew or niece, but for serious space strategy fans, there's much better stuff out there.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Read, 17 Nov. 2007
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I have read better books and I have read worse books. Basically, this makes for an interesting read and whilst the character development is weak and the plot is weak, it is actually a hard book to put down. If you try to analyse the plausibility of the storyline, you can see that there is some logic and substance present.

Anyway, a good read and I will be buying the next 2 books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost and Found, 26 Dec. 2011
This review is from: The Lost Fleet: Dauntless (Book 1) (Lost Fleet 1) (Paperback)
As a fan of the Honor Harrington series, I was at first skeptical of another series that tried to portray space combat realistically. What I have found is a series that not only succeeds at this, but that creates characters every bit as compelling as Honor and her friends- in fact, John Geary and his companions are MORE compelling. 'Black Jack' himself is a great character, committed to doing things not only honorably, but intelligently as well. His choices are hard, and the decisions he faces win not only respect but enmity. He has to walk a tightrope, not only in terms of getting his fleet home, but in terms of how he handles the rivalries and alliances within his fleet. This is a better series than the Honorverse.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A promising start, 2 Aug. 2011
By 
Manly Reading (Brisbane, QLD, AUST) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lost Fleet: Dauntless (Book 1) (Lost Fleet 1) (Paperback)
This is pretty good military sci-fi/space opera, with an interesting premise. In a lot of speculative fiction, there is a prophecy about saving the world: here we basically have the reverse of that, with a legendary war hero long thought dead found in suspended animation after a century, thrust back into a war zone and forced to lead. In a sense, its like if King Arthur was found entombed in ice miraculously alive in May 1940, and appointed by Churchill to oversee the retreat to Dunkirk. Could he live up to his own legend? Could anyone? That is the question being asked here.

This framing device works in a number of ways, also allowing us to get infodumps in a more or less believable manner, as Captain "Black Jack" Geary is brought up to speed on the last hundred years of warfare, noting both differences and similarities to how things used to be. Its not quite as sweetly done as the role of perpetual landsman Stephen Maturin on board a Royal Navy frigate, but then again, not a lot is.

The perspective is very close third person - over Geary's shoulder, if not in his head. This means we don't get a whole lot of characterisation, but there is more going on here than just big set-piece space battles. The Alliance has coarsened itself somewhat over the years in its war against the Syndics, and a big part of Geary's role is to "restore honour" - and military discipline - to the Fleet. Interestingly, there is a definite role of religion here, but based in ancestor worship and the "living stars" rather than Christianity or a single deity.

At less than 300 pages, this is a shortish book which promises a lot more to come in later volumes. It can certainly stand alone, with a beginning, middle and end, but I suspect the real joy will be in going through the series and watching things develop. This isn't great literature, but it is very entertaining and I cant wait to read the rest of the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-through space combat with strong internal consistency, 20 Jun. 2012
This review is from: The Lost Fleet: Dauntless (Book 1) (Lost Fleet 1) (Paperback)
Captain Jack Geary is rescued from cryogenic suspension in a faulty escape pod to discover that he is a hundred years in his own future and that the war he fought is still going strong. Worse his name has become a legend and when the Alliance fleet is stranded behind enemy lines it looks to him for a miracle. Geary must struggle with little resources, internal conflicts and a changed culture shaped by a century of war in his attempt to protect both the vital assets the fleet is holding and the fleet itself.

The universe Campbell has created is carefully planned out and realistic with both human nature and scientific realities used to narrative effect. The distances involved in space travel lead to a time-delay in all information adding an extra layer of tension to all space battles and the 'jump points' and 'hypernet systems' which allow for interplanetary travel allow for a high-stakes game of Battleships as Geary attempts to out-think his opponents.

'Dauntless' is obviously the first of a serial with no strong resolution but provides a strong last-act action sequence to provide appropriate closure, completing a well-paced alternation of action and drama throughout the book. The plot feels epic but also intensely personal and pulls the reader along, making it a hard book to put down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story - interesting approach, 7 May 2011
This review is from: The Lost Fleet: Dauntless (Book 1) (Lost Fleet 1) (Paperback)
I read this one first, and am working my way through the rest. It is a classic gung ho sci fi war book in the American tradition. What is great about this series is that it is not US centric. In fact most of the ships names seem to be from the Royal Navy no doubt because the US navy has a preponderance of ships named after individuals. I also like the universal ancestor based religion approach. Not in your face, but gives the stories a human touch.

If you want an easy read of this SciFi genre then this series is a very good example. High art it is not, but better than much on the TV.
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The Lost Fleet: Dauntless (Book 1) (Lost Fleet 1)
The Lost Fleet: Dauntless (Book 1) (Lost Fleet 1) by Jack Campbell (Paperback - 28 Jan. 2011)
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