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4.4 out of 5 stars67
4.4 out of 5 stars
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for the uninitiated: this is a series of science fiction novels telling the ongoing story of the lost fleet, a group of spaceships in a future war between two human groups called the alliance and the syndic. the fleet comes from the former, and they got lost behind enemy lines and would have been doomed had they not found john geary. the legendary black jack, who fought in a battle at the start of the war one hundred years previously and was stuck in suspended animation ever since. geary is now in command, struggling to deal with the myth that has built up around him in the meantime, and trying to get the fleet back home. These books are not great literature by a long way, but they're capably written and feature good space battles.

you could probably pick the story up here, but to get the most out of the series go back to the first volume and read them in order.

for those who have been following this series:

this one like all of them runs roughly 286 pages, and picks up where the previous book in the series left off. like that one, it also takes about a hundred pages to really get going. the first hundred pages are taken up with more space battles, which are well described but not the most exciting ones so far.

after this, though, the book does get going. geary this time faces the threat of his enemies inside the fleet taking action. he has to try and find them, and make a few more tough decisions along with it.

subplots do move on a bit here. the romantic love triangle he's been in gets a bit of resolution. the aliens mentioned in book three don't appear but we learn a little more about them. and an interesting subplot about the course of the war begins. it will be interesting to see how it develops.

not quite the best in the series, but enough to make me want to know what will happen next
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on 28 March 2011
This fourth book by Jack Campbell is an excellent read and once the full six volumes are published they will almost make a Si-Fi classic like the thinking man's Battlestar Galactica. The first volume was brilliant. The presentation of the sequels suffer from unnecessary repitition that spoils the flow of the story dialog. If you are like me a buy all the books to read from start to finish the story resume at the beginning of each seqel, the many references to the character and story histories, and the free first chapter of the next story, mean that there is not much meat left in the sandwitch. So one starts to think are the author and publishers worried more about book sales than producing the classic that is almost there. The problem is exacerbated buy the extensive extra notes from the author at the back, interesting, but I would prefer more story.
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This book opens to a huge set piece battle, with the cliffhanger from Courageous being satisfyingly resolved. That takes probably near to half the book, in fact. But there is a reason most books don't open with a climax, and that is that its hard to follow up. Having said that, Campbell does a pretty good job by keeping us interested with Geary's other problems: women (two of them), insubordination (a lot of it) and the alien menace (the existance of whom is finally confirmed). In addition, Victoria Rione is always developing as a character: ruthless but admirable, and able to admit fault in the political system she is part of. She is Geary's political counterpart in this study of how power corrupts - or can corrupt - and is as effective a character as Geary, in her own way.

The book still works pretty well, asking the big question: "how do you be a hero when everybody already thinks you are?". It also respectfully deals in religious (but decidely not Christian, or even monotheist) themes to a surprising degree.

Finally, a word about the US Ace covers. They suck, lack internal consistency, and have nothing to do with the story told, as far as I can see (go have a look over Amazon US - really, they get shafted on covers). The UK covers are a lot better, and in fact seeing one of them was intriguing enough for me to try the series.

This is a good fun read, but dont try to start the series here: go back to Dauntless and begin at the beginning.
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on 11 October 2011
Book four takes off where book three left the reader. The Lost Fleet had just left a tolling battle in the Lakota system through a jump to the Ixion system, only to decide to surprise the Syndic battle group as they pull a u-turn and return to the Lakota system. More than half the novel is dedicated to the battle and aftermath in the Lakota system. Thence on, the Fleet passes through the pirate mining system Branwyn, then to the supposedly abandoned system of Wendig and finally the Fleet ends up in the Cavalos system, all of which are still in Syndic territory. With only two battles taking up the pages within, a large amount of the time to spent trying to find who is undermining Geary's leading position and hypothesizing about the nasty little hate triangle between the Syndic, Alliance and alien persuasions.

Much like the previous three books of the series, Campbell repeats many of the things we already know (difficult communication through ship distances, the grayness of jumping, the ultimate goal for the fleet and difficulties of battle faster than point one light speed). Also, Victoria Rione rears her ugly head again in these pages and continues to reinforce my hate for her. She's a `button-bushing pitch (read into that).' Why is it that every conversation Rione and Geary have together, I feel like tearing out my own hair? As Rione ends her emotional and physical relationship with Geary, we get to see a rise in personal communication between Geary and Desjani, much as the circulating rumors have already implied.

The over all pace has been steady since book one and continues to be brisk through book four. With all that could be said about Valiant, in the end you can stay it's a continuation of a steady and successful plot. Little surprises around some corners, deaths and destruction sprinkled here and there along with some personal tension will meet the reader in these easy 284 pages
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on 14 September 2008
Similar in plot and structure to the last three books. The love triangle between Geary and the two women in his life is becoming a bit of a soap. However, Campbell has found a formula and is sticking to it. good for him!
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on 28 December 2008
I normally don't read this kind of starship trooper stuff but after the first book bought at an airport I too am hooked. Campbell writes with authority as though he has personal experience of space warfare and has obviously done a lot of research of the factors involved. He describes tactics and battles in an approachable way but I bet if you plotted it all out in three dimensions, it would check out. His characters are also well fleshed out within the limits of the scanerio and the power politics and machinations of the envious inept against a competent man will strike a chord with any adult. His hero is also believable, filled with self-doubt and trying to balance all the factors for the best outcome. Will he save the fleet? Will he win the war? Will he get the right woman? Will he discover the secret of the myesterious aliens? Of course he will but don't miss any of the exciting episodes on the way.
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on 12 February 2009
I bought the series based on the reviews and have found them to be a good read. The author seems to be building up a lot of subplots for resolution in the final two books which I hope will cover the lost fleet actually making it back.

Having read a lot of Weber I found the authors tendency to skip over the mechanics of the ships took some getting used to. That said, the machinations of a thoroughly politicised, "professional" navy has made for good reading.

Overall I can recommend the series as a solid read for those looking for a good space yarn that doesn't concentrate too hard on how it all works but rather concentrates on character development.
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on 3 March 2013
The basic story theme was good and there were some excellent ideas along the way. Unfortunately, the story (over how many books?) was rather dragged out and could have done with some heavy editing. There was also a bold attempt to explore the central character's feelings and reactions but it was difficult to sustain over such a long series. I have to say that reading the lot became a bit of a feat of endurance.

Nevertheless, I did read them, so it can't have been all that bad.
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on 13 May 2015
Obviously well into the journey now and at the point where I look forward to the fleet reaching home. I have to be honest I have become bored of the battles which seem very similar, but really enjoying the political intrigue and the 'who done it' element. Hopefully not too much of the journey home left now so I can find out who the bad guys are and find out the reaction of the leaders of the home planet when they finally return.
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on 26 January 2014
This story continues from the previous in the series, it remains true to the approach of the previous book namely the story line is simple, the book is very easy to read and it doesn't demand huge amounts of concentration but is hugely enjoyable to read. If you enjoyed this you will read the next in the series.

Worth noting that there is a small degree of repetition but it doesn't distract from the story.
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