The Lost Stars: Perilous Shield Hardcover – 1 Oct 2013
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"I struggled to put it down and didn t want it to end... Book three of The Lost Stars is eagerly awaited." --SF Crowsnest --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Jack Campbell is the pseudonym for John G. Hemry, a retired Naval officer and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. As Jack Campbell, he writes The Lost Fleet series of military science fiction novels. He also wrote the Starks War and JAG in Space series under his real name. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
Both books have very much the same ingredients. The story is told from the perspective of the former Syndicate system of Midway, a strategic hub with some eight jump points that has declared itself independent under President Iceni and General Drako, two former Syndicate leaders in charge, respectively, of its space navy and its ground forces.
Their position is somewhat unstable as they try to make the regime evolve towards something less totalitarian and (a bit) more democratic. They face multiple and unknown external and internal threats and do not know to what extent they can even trust each other, especially since they both originate from the ultra-competitive and murderous former elite of "CEOs". So suspicions, plots and intrigues, whether real or not, create an atmosphere of paranoia throughout the book where just about everyone suspects everyone else of being about to betray and murder them.
The first part of the book is similar to "Tarnished Knight", with the events seen in the corresponding "Lost Fleet" volume (which are part of Guardian) as Admiral Geary ("Black Jack's") Fleet comes back to Midway on its way home to Alliance space after having encountered (and defeated, of course) a couple of nasty alien species and allied with a third. The same story is, again, told from the perspective of the Midway leaders, with the same events unfolding. This was both well done and interesting as it showed a rather different point of view and perception. It did, however, have a strong sense of "déjà vu" and was therefore not as original.
The rest of the book is about the efforts of Iceni and Drako to ensure the independence of Midway, with the help of the Admiral Geary's liaison officer, amid plots and multiple assassinations attempts. Two of the book's strong points here were to show the challenges in having to work with the former enemy and the disorientation (to put it mildly) suffered by former prisoners of war freshly released after years of captivity.
One of the book's original features was the way the combat scenes were dealt with. There are no major battles this time, either in space or on the ground. There are however a couple of fire-fights, both part of assassination attempts (of which I will say no more) and a prolonged attack of a Midway space convoy by a Syndicate squadron (and the corresponding defence of the convoy by its escort) which, in my view, largely make up for of the lack of "big battles".
A relative weakness of this book, in my view, is that the author has felt obliged to finish it with a somewhat implausible "coup de theatre" (the last 15 pages or so) when explaining the bitter rivalry between General Drako's two main lieutenants. Despite a conscious effort to suspend disbelief, this did not work very well with me.
If this had been possible, I would have rated this book slightly above three and a half stars (perhaps 3.6). Since fractions are not possible and a three star rating would have been a bit too harsh in my view, I will give a somewhat generous four stars.
Without giving away all the details this is a "must read" for any fan of Lost Fleet, military sci fi or anybody who is looking for a good story with strong characters, a powerful setting and rapid action.
There's nothing to bring any new readers up to speed, since it continues right on from the cliffhanger ending to the first of them The Lost Stars - Tarnished Knight (book 1) (Lost Stars 1). So it's not a jumping on point. Nor was that one for new readers. Who should start with The Lost Fleet: Dauntless (Book 1) (Lost Fleet 1).
Those who have followed these books, read on.
This volume runs for four hundred and sixty seven pages. It's divided into nineteen chapters. It is not the end of the series. Not by a long way.
At the end of book one, Iceni and Drakon, the two leaders of the rebel Midway star system that had just broken from Syndic control, were facing a double threat. A syndic flotilla determined to take the world back. And an alien one.
The initial thrust of this volume is on how they deal with that.
The viewpoint does mostly jump back and forth between Iceni and Drakon. But other characters will get a look in. Most notably Marphissa, who is having to learn fast how best to fight spaceship battles.
The usual well worked battles are here, as ever taking the laws of physics and relatively firmly into account in interesting fashion. There is a fair amount of tension to the early sections as a result of what's going on. And more great character drama as the two leads have to fight against all the instincts they've been raised with to not trust anyone to try and work together for the better of their world.
A lot of the action in this part does, since it involves the Alliance fleet from the lost fleet books, duplicate stuff you will have seen in there. But since you see all these bits from Midway rather than Alliance perspective, it offers an interestingly different take on things.
Then there's lots more for the leaders of Midway to contend with. At which point the real central theme of this one hits. Which is people who have been raised to be enemies having to come to terms with war being over, with the need to hate no longer being there, and finding that their former enemies are just as human as they are. At this point in the narrative a character who has been mentioned a bit in previous books does get involved and have a lot of page time, which leads to some superb scenes all centred around this theme. People getting to know each other. And unlikely but genuine friendships forming.
Iceni and Drakon do vanish for a lot of the final third, as Marphissa takes centre stage and the story goes off on a mission. But this section is as equally involving as all the rest of it. Throughout some tension remains as the 'snakes' the syndic agents, are still out there and you can never be sure when one of them might strike.
But where this really goes up from four star to five star material is in the last thirty or so pages. With some stunning twists and plot developments - all of which have clearly been set up right from the start - that end the book with the series far from done. Leaving you desperate to know what will happen next.
Book three is, at the time of writing, due out in October. I look forward to it very much.
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This series runs in parallel with the Beyond Frontiers sequels.
The scenarios are a bit simplistic and very stereotyped but there are a few interesting twists. There are clearly about 5 books planned so the story lacks pace and I felt it was being stretched over about four books too many.
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The author Jack Campbell put lots of detail into the story
This is another great read great story and all found great book. Cheers Mr Campbell
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