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4.1 out of 5 stars
The Lost Fleet: Dauntless (Book 1) (Lost Fleet 1)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2011
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2007
This book is set in the future when humanity has colonised the stars and diverged into different groups depending on political outlook. The hero of the story so speak is a member of the Alliance, a group who are fighting the protagonists in the story - the Syndicates. The story focuses around the main character who has been rescued from a survival pod after one hundred years of suspended animation/hibernation after fighting the open shots in the war and becoming a part of history. It is his job to rescue the Alliance fleet after total disaster and snatch victory from the jaws of despair and defeat.

The book was a very easy read and a page turner. From the science fiction point of view it was a good blend of `science' in terms of sub-light travel and relativistic effects to the `fiction' of the story and some of the more esoteric technology. I found the book a good mix of Battlestar Galactica (the new one) and Buck Rogers rolled into a thinking mans space opera. Well worth buying and I have immediately ordered the next instalment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 May 2011
This book by all normal measures should have been dreadful. The quality of writing is not high, the characterisation is poor and the book is way too short (not helped by what seems like 25% of the thickness of the volume being given over to a pointless dull interview with the author and some other rubbish).

And yet, despite all of that being true... its a very addictive read.

Definitely stick with it to get your head around the very bizarre start - trust me, it does make sense fairly early into the book despite the clumsy beginning.

I think Campbell has hit upon a unique place with his description of space warfare that kind of reminds me of the naval battle scenes from Red Storm Rising - always my favourite bit Clancy wrote.

This book hooked me enough to buy and read the second Lost Fleet volume, which does seem less flawed. Whether the whole thing becomes too weak and repeatitive by the time I get to book 5, I guess I'll find out after a delay - book 5 being 2 light hours away from my current position.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 28 August 2007
As an opening book to what promises to be an interesting saga I was keen to see how Dauntless would fare. I have enjoyed other science fiction sagas in the past, especially the Nights Dawn Trilogy, and I was keen to try out an author that I had heard nothing about.

The story that is introduced in The Lost Fleet is not remarkable, in essance a story of a stranded military fleet's efforts to return home. The lead character, Greary, has only recently been awoken from a cryogenic sleep to find that he is revered as a legendary hero by many. Greary suddenly finds himself in command of a fleet where his authority is questioned, in a position that he seems unprepared to accept.

Though the story would seem to be quite interesting the execution did seem somewhat lacking. For a two hundred page novel very little happens, moreover there is very little character development, presumably it is the author's intention that this happens over the series of books. There are several sections that go into great detail about space battles, however the descriptions are seriously lacking and centre upon command dialogue as opposed to really describing what happens. A good example of this is that it is never explained what the ships look like. Moreover I didn't connect with the main character as I think it is essential to do in any sort of fiction, perhaps in some ways I was often annoyed by the author's need to constantly show the inner monologue of Greary, leaving no space whatsoever for a readers own interpretation.

In spite of the books shortcomings, insofar as little happens throughout and the writing style seems slightly weak, the story is really very addictive. I have spent entire afternoons reading, as such it shows that the novelist does have talent that hopefully will be better augmented in the later novels of The Lost Fleet.

Worth a read at very least should you be, as I am, a hopeless fan of the genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2011
The book itself is very well written, I enjoyed it immensely, however, when checking the price of the book I was stupified to learn that the Kindle edition actually costs more than the paperback version of the book. It is clear that between the publisher and amazon, someone is making an awful lot of money out of this scam.

Please don't try and convince me of considerable costs involved in digital publishing and distribution, it just doesn't float! The whole point of digital distribution is that you don't have the same level of costs involved in printing and distribution, it isn't free but it certainly doesn't cost more than printing, distributing and posting a physical copy of the book!

I really enjoyed this book, but I won't buy any more of this author's work while this situation continues.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If you're looking for a book to help introduce historical fiction fans to Science Fiction, then this could well be the book for you. After all if they love sea battles and authors like Patrick O'Brian then this book by Jack Campbell will hit the spot as it battens down the hatches and runs for home.

Its creative, it has additional elements that are part Buck Rogers part Andromeda as well as adding a dash of Battlestar Galactica which when backed with a wonderful sense of pace really sell the piece. Finally back that up with a commanding lead character that keeps the readers, as well as the supporting cast on their toes with touches of heroism and sacrifice and you know it is an opening book to a series that really will satisfy that battle lust they've been waiting for. Great stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 February 2011
This book lost me around about page 10 when the premise was explained. As another reviewer has already said, our hero and his fleet have been caught in a trap that a 5 year old could have detected.

In fact the premise is even worse than that, because even if it wasn't a trap anybody with a clue about strategy wouldn't have done what these clowns have.

But nobody except the hero has any clue about tactics or strategy because a century of war has destroyed all knowledge of military arts. Yes really. Apparently warfare is the worst way to learn to fight.

All this is so that the hero can be written as a military genius without the author actually having to produce anything resembling clever tactics. It is an insult to the readers intelligence.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2007
Firstly this book lacks anything that can be described as 'character development'. The main actor John 'Black Jack' Geary, the lost war hero, is one of the shallowest characters I have ever been exposed to. He is a most obvious manifestation of the author's ego, and the character's protestations to hate the demi-god status he enjoys are at best a fig leaf the author supplies to justify his self-serving creation.
The female characters are offensively two-dimensional, cast as either 'ice maidens' who melt before Black Jack's glory or naive youngsters who worship the ground he walks on. Whilst the male characters fall into two groups also, the idiots who oppose him, or the intelligent, vaguely developed characters that defer to his greatness.
The plot has one intriguing aspect (that I shall not mention to avoid spoiling the trilogy's few minor graces) but in all other ways is a particularly bland war story, page-turner is not how I would describe this book, 'can I be bothered to turn the page' is closer to it.
The battle scenes so praised are so obsessed with the concept of 'temporal distortion' that they become a lesson in the physics of theoretical space battles and descriptions of ship formations. Battle scenes in which the Alliance (goodies) loses barely a ship whilst the Syndics (baddies, as if it even needs stating) are annihilated to the last man. The Syndics are painted purely as 'bad guys' no attempt is made to discuss their motives or paint them as even vaguely human it is a morally 'black and white' universe worthy of George W. Bush.
If this is "As good as military science fiction gets" as the inappropriately ebullient praise on the cover states, then God help military science fiction. I have bought and will read the second instalment because its there, but the third? I wouldn't waste the £3.41.
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on 8 September 2014
The story is split up over 6 books in the same way the Lord of the Rings was split up over 3 and so trying to fit it all into one book would have been ridiculous. The writing was done by a retired US Navy officer whose main focus was not to lumber down the story line with plot twist after plot twist nor to assume the reader has photographic memory. He instead wanted give an appreciation of what space battles may have been like in the future and some of the challenges the crews of those ships would have faced.

A lot of people attack the plot but he mentions why a lot of the "Obvious traps" or the "lack of common sense" is evident. This book try’s to bring the distances of space with high speed physics into a very readable book. It is a good blend of military strategy, science fiction and political debate. There will be some who shudder at the writing style, but then these are the same people who have read LOTR or some other unbeatable epic novel who then claim every book is crap because it is not Lord of the Rings.

Given the creation of Star Wars where 'instant communication', 'sound in space' and 'slower than light laser bolts', the majority of people who pick this up may ask the questions " Why haven't they got to the planet already?" or "Why do the space battles only last for a millisecond?". His style of writing is aimed at keeping people at pace with the ongoing situation so that they can follow the story rather than having to dredge up that key detail on page 34 line 7 which enables the characters to perform action X.

I think if you keep digging in any book you could find hole after hole so the endeavour is pointless and detracts from the story itself. I have read the whole series and the second series and I have enjoyed all of them. I literally could not put them down. If you are a military enthusiast there is something here for you, if you like space battles then there is something here for you too. Don't expect Lord of the Rings, don't expect Star Wars and don’t expect Sherlock Holmes. You can't compare apples and oranges.
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on 16 October 2012
I bought this book because I had a some spare birthday cash, am a big fan of military SF, and thought I'd blow the money on some Five Star rated authors I'd not read before. Boy, what a mistake that was. I stumbled across CUT & PASTE (see below) in another review and now wish I'd read those guidelines before buying. In future, I will follow them. So, having changed my account name to my real one, here's my first non-anonymous review:

I have to say it is a great premise. One clearly derived from Xenophon's `Anabasis' but that doesn't matter, so was `Battlestar Galatica'. Nice twist to have Black Jack awoken from cryogenic suspension. However, it is the execution of this excellent storyline that lets down the Lost Fleet series.

You would expect that this kind of tale would be delivered in a fast-paced, dashing style. Sadly, these books could not be further from that hope. The exposition is turgid (and often repeated). Most disappointing of all, the author declines to take us into the thick of the action; events are passively observed from afar. This author needs a good editor to guide him. Time and time again Jack Cambpell swerves away from the most dramatic elements of his story. For goodness sake, even the high drama of the discovery of Black Jack frozen in his survival pod is ignored. What a great passage of writing that could have been.

Then there's the dialogue. It is as if the writer has never observed the speech patterns and mannerisms that give each of us a distinctive voice. If you isolate any passage from this book you cannot tell if the speaker is male or female, friend or foe, let alone an identifiable character from the story. They all sound the same. And the dialogue is all on the nose, relentlessly so. No-one speaks in this manner. Don't Campbell's publishers have any regard for their readers? With a little revision the author could have delivered a much better series of books.

World building is a pre-requisite of all SF but there is almost no attempt to create a sense of another time, another place. Jack Campbell's vision of the distant future is of present-day America with a few cool gadgets. Very comfortable for the writer, but very boring for the reader. Again, a good editor could have remedied this. The weird thing is that the book's central theme is of Black Jack awakening to a different world, yet, apart from describing lax discipline and tactics, the writer does not take the opportunity to define that new world more clearly. Imagine how a pre-World War One era naval captain might experience the culture shock of our modern world? His speech patterns and syntax would also be very different to ours, but not so in these books.

There are many little flaws (and some big ones) that a more accomplished author might get away with but are exposed in the Lost Fleet. Examples range from the writer's lack of understanding of the meaning of the word `irony' to naming a character Admiral Timbale. Admiral Mediterranean Savoury Dish? Really? What next, Colonel Doughnut? Squadron Leader Frappuchino? Then there's the central MacGuffin of the hypergate key. You might conceivably dispatch your only key with a fleet into enemy territory but not before duplicating it. It is an obvious course of action any leadership would take, however, the author raises the issue then ignores it. Oh, yeah, and if a writer admirably chooses to depict space combat in relativistic terms, he should not ignore the relativistic consequences of interplanetary near-light speed travel, something many other military SF writers deal with head on.

Two Stars for the turgid writing + Four Stars for the concept = A very low Three Stars.

____________________________________________________________________

CUT & PASTE

Let's rid ourselves of the sock puppets and mass review churners.

Because recent events (see the RJ Ellroy sock puppet fiasco) have exposed why so many reviews are either glowing or damming, how about making sure that your own review carries the weight it deserves? Follow these four simple guidelines, then pass them on:

1. Use your own name so that fake reviewers (and there will still be many of them) can be more easily exposed. Conversely, pay no heed to anonymous reviews.

2. Five Star reviews. Ignore them. Assume they fall into three categories: the uncritical (and therefore useless), sock puppets (cynical manipulators) or a book worthy of the Nobel Prize for Literature. If the book is in the lattermost category, then you will probably already know all about it.

3. One Star reviews. Ignore them too. They are home to the really nasty sock puppets. Let's face it, if an author gets their book published and it is not riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, it is already worth more than one star.

4. In future, rate your reads by the following:

TWO STARS: Poor. Should be avoided.
THREE STARS: Average. Worth a read.
FOUR STARS: Good to excellent. You are pleased you purchased it.

PASS IT ON
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