- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Titan Books (6 May 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1783292458
- ISBN-13: 978-1783292455
- Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 2.8 x 13.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 59 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Lost Stars - Shattered Spear (book 4) (Lost Stars 4) Paperback – 6 May 2016
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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.
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The story is a continuation of the previous episodes with many of the same ingredients. The implication is that it is advisable to read the books in sequence. This book contains very few new features, with the main one being an implacable new warlord and female pirate with a deep grudge against Gwen Iceni, the President of Midway. However, a number of other features are further developed.
One is looming and multiple threats against the lives of both Gwen Iceni and Artur Drako, the general commanding the ground troops. There are no less than four intrusions in their high security offices and residences with three of them being attempted assassinations. These episodes are simply griping, even if not entirely original.
Another set of features are the multiple threats that converge against the independent Midway system and its forces. In addition to the female pirate mentioned above and which has captured a neighbouring system, the Syndicate forces are seeking to attempt a come-back and the very mysterious and just as murderous and hostile “Enigma” aliens are coming and intent on wiping out any and all humans that cross their path, leaving no witnesses behind. Here you can expect a number of (mostly) space battles of the type that have largely made the author’s name, and one ground battle, with the usual winners (the “goodies”, of course).
The aides/bodyguards/assassins and top operatives of the two senior leaders have both gone rogue and become a menace. While this element gets solved by the end of the book, I found that the motivations of the two operatives were somewhat less than credible and only partly explained. Also not very convincing is their extraordinary faculty to both avoid pursuit and penetrate the most secure systems of the planet without much difficulty and although they are both on the run and seem to lack any logistical support.
Another usual ingredient is a couple of romances that readers have already come across in previous episodes and which are further developed in this own. Four stars.
One gripe: I don't think that altering the trajectory of a large asteroid can be accomplished with cruisers and tow ropes, because such bodies almost always have a certain amount of spin, which would take a great deal of energy to stop, and which would wind the tow ropes to a tangle in no time. Gravitational tethers might be more realistic than an actual cable of whatever material.
This is not a good jumping on point for new readers. Who are best advised to start with The Lost Fleet: Dauntless (Book 1) (Lost Fleet 1)
Regular readers, read on.
This volume runs for three hundred and ninety two pages. It's divided into seventeen chapters. There's a brief guide to the vessels in the spaceship fleet of the story at the start, and some of the military ranks. But there's no exposition or catch up about previous volumes.
At the start of this one, the new regime in the Midway system continues to survive and prosper. But they have a few threats still to deal with it. Assassins lurking close to home. The remains of the Syndic. And, in one key star system, a warlord who really doesn't like President Iceni. And the alien Enigmas. The latter are about to become a very big threat...
Regular readers will be used to the writer's style. And this is more of the same. Readable prose with characters discussing moral dilemmas and possible actions. Then combat that tries very hard indeed to remember the laws of physics.
And if you've come this far with the series, you will find more of the same. Which won't disappoint. The bulk of it does involve action in this key system, with some good battle sequences. And some strong moments as former Syndic people have to get used to the way things are done differently now. The aliens as ever live up to their name by being kept very enigmatic, which works really well.
One plotline does go offscreen for a long time, before coming back for a satisfactory resolution. And some of the hand to hand rather than ship to ship combat sequnces are really good, in how they capture the confusion and terror of battle.
A strength of this series is that it tries to be realistic in dealing with what happens after war ends. Everything just doesn't go back to normal. New ways of living and new order develops, and yet hatred and bitterness can linger. It portrays all this very well. Which does mean that it does leave some things open ended, but that's the way it should be.
There are some good and believably done developments in character relationships. One plotline is rather hastily wrapped up at the end, but that's the only minor complaint about another enjoyable read in an entertaining series.
This does seem to be end the of the Lost Stars, as the front of the book advertises another series called the First Stars. Which will be out next year. I look forward to it.
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