on 31 March 2009
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.
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
on 15 June 2009
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.
on 10 June 2007
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.
on 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.