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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 13 May 2017
Enjoying every book so far can't put them down
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third in a series of science fiction novels about the lost fleet. There's an interstellar war on between two human groupings of worlds, the alliance and the syndic. the alliance space fleet are trapped behind enemy lines, and only their chance discovery of captain geary, an alliance hero of years before who was stuck in suspended animation for ages till the fleet found him, could save the day.

Can geary get the fleet home? and can he live up to the legend he's become in the meantime?

all these books run for three hundred pages. and whilst not being great literature are quite decent prose and characterisation wise.

For the first hundred pages this looked like having mid book in series syndrome, in that not much happens and things continue much as before.

However the remaining two hundred pages were really rather entertaining, as the space battles carry on in earnest, and the alliance fleet really struggle to survive. this was entertaining and engrossing reading, and the book ends on a cliffhanger that was really quite rousing and makes me desperate to know what will happen next.

I'll be back for more. the aliens promised on the back of the book are only hinted at late on. Doubtless we'll see more of them in future volumes
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on 29 March 2011
Courageous is the third book in the Lost Fleet series, preceded by Dauntless and Fearless, and as such you're not going to be getting a stand alone here - this series is one big story. I've really enjoyed the first two books and was very much looking forward to get stuck into Courageous to see where it took the story and just what else could be thrown up for Geary and the fleet to deal with. While Jack Campbell sticks to a formula that has proven successful in the previous instalments, he does introduce some new aspects that help increase the tension and raise plenty of questions about the bigger picture.

As the Alliance fleet travel from system to system through Syndic space on their way home they are constantly overcoming the odds and surviving battle after battle, inflicting heavy losses on the Syndics each time. While this is the more traditional battlefield that Geary is used to, another is always present - the political and argumentative fleet conferences that take place with all Alliance fleet ship commanders. These conferences are the bane of Geary's command and it is during these that those who oppose him manipulate others to raise issues. On top of this Geary's relationship with Rionne is not what it used to be, she appears cold and distant, and rumours are spreading about the fleet of improper conduct between him and Desjani, the captain of his flagship. And then there is the discovery that humanity may not be alone in this section of the galaxy after all as evidence of mysterious foes builds and builds.

Other than the unravelling mystery of non-human intelligences that Geary and his close confidants are slowly discovering, there is a distinct feeling that Geary is playing things a little too well when it comes to avoiding the Syndic forces. He's managed to guess their actions with enough accuracy to date that the Alliance fleet has not been in too much danger, but his decisions are slowly pushing the fleet into a corner where they will have to face a significant Syndic force before too long. I liked the way this came about, and when the action finally hits it's done extremely well, but I've come to expect that from Campbell - he can write some pretty epic space battles with all sorts of twists and turns.

Once again I find myself totally drawn into the setting that Jack Campbell has created. I find the premise a good one for a military SF story, the characters are still enjoyable to read and the precision of the space battles are terrific. In short, Courageous delivers just what I wanted, but it doesn't deliver too much more than Dauntless and Fearless. Because of this it's difficult to review this book without going into too much detail or without repeating myself with what I've said in my previous reviews. If you've read and enjoyed the books to date then this should certainly be on your reading pile, and if not I strongly suggest picking them up and starting the story from scratch.

Courageous ends in such a way that Valiant, the fourth book, is going to be an immediate read. Saying that there is a cliffhanger of sorts is not giving anything away, but it also makes you realise once again that Campbell is in this series for the long haul. Highly recommended.
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on 23 March 2013
I like this series of books a lot, great characters and a good plot that's original enough to keep me wondering what's going to happen next or how the characters are going to get out of the fix they're in.

BUT!
These books and Mr Campbell have one great failing in my eyes, and that's the constant repetition of certain stock phrases and descriptions. These can be overcome for the most part with just a little gentle cursing and swearing while skipping to the next paragraph, but by the time i got to third book it had all just got too much and i very nearly abandoned the entire series. Instead after a week away from being told again and again about the sodding lights in hyperspace and what people thought they represented, i picked these books up again and ploughed on.

Three more books in and i'm glad i persisted, because the story does continue to develop nicely, and i have thoroughly enjoyed them.. . And it might be my imagination but it does seem like the repetition of those stock phrases is getting a bit less, a tiny, tiny bit less.
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on 18 January 2008
The original idea was good of a fleet stranded deep in enemy space, of a commander trying to think one step ahead of an enemy who has the advantage of semi-instantaneous travel through "gates", of a possible intervention of an alien race with its own agenda...
I have heard that Campbell has already signed for the sixth book of the series and I don't think I will wait that long expecting another time-warped space battle, another narrow escape and the end of the psychological agonies of people torn between memories of lost ones, honour and love.
I'll stop at the next one. There is only so much we can expect from a good idea.
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on 28 February 2008
I guess if you read book four when it comes out never having read this book (book 3)you would not even notice. Where are these aliens then? A great disappointment
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on 14 September 2008
I once saw a company report which had pictures of employees and managers throughout. Oddly, only the managers seemed to have names. Courageous is a bit like that. The principle characters all have identities, but everyone else is a cipher. For example, the bridge crew of Dauntless are interchangeable 'watch standers'. The losses of the ships and their casualties appear unreal. That said, the story is a good yarn which does not pretend to real psychology. It does keep you interested, although the battles can become a bit alike. I think it is the concept of mystery being slowly revealed (very slowly), that keep readers coming back.
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I've been lucky enough to come to this series late, and read it through more or less all at once, which means its more like reading one big book at times. So the fact this is perhaps a little less combat-heavy is interesting, because it also opens up some of the characterisation perhaps missing in the earlier volumes, if you were looking for it. This is probably not the best place to start reading the series: start with Dauntless and go on from there: it won't take too long, because all of these books are quite short.

The alien menace is slowly becoming clearer: its pretty much certain now that something else is out there, but it remains completely unseen and unknown. To add to that worry, Geary must deal with his troublesome captains, as well as those who more or less worship him. To make matters worse, apparently the real source of the dissent remains hidden, using a cats-paw or two to sow trouble. Add in a tetchy on-again off-again relationship with Rione, and it's a wonder Geary has any hair left.

Which brings me to an interesting point. As far as I know, there has been almost no physical description of the characetrs here: I truly have no idea what they are "supposed" to look like apart from what my mind's eye has generated based off names and personalities. This must be deliberate, for the same tactic is applied to the various warships: we are told about the ship's roles, but can only infer what they look like: again, I have ideas in my head but there are no descriptions of shape, size, weapons complement, or anything else. If anything, the part of the fleet that gets the most attention is the decidely unsexy auxiliaries who can repair, rearm and refuel the fleet: perhaps a big nod to the old "amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics" axiom.

This book is a little slower than its breakneck predecessors in places, but ends on a real cliffhanger promising immediate action in the next book.
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on 12 July 2015
This is really a review for the whole series, rather than just this book. I was minded to give it a lower rating, because I seemed to finish the books quite quickly, which made me wonder about value for money; having used the Kindle versions, I hadn't seen the physical copies until I visited a bookshop recently. The books are a fair size, they just sucked me in so that I couldn't put them down, and THAT is why I finished quickly.
Unlike many science fiction films, where combat in space looks like combat in an atmosphere, Jack Campbell has applied real world physics to his combat sequences. Fleets close at significant fractions of the speed of light, rely on automated systems for weapons targeting and the moment of contact is a tiny fraction of a second in which ships and crews die. It then takes half an hour or more to change vectors for another attack run. This is science fiction that puts its grounding in science, but that doesn't get in the way of reading it. It is also not afraid to depart from real world science to allow interstellar travel.
As with any series, it suffers from the fact that the author has to assume that a reader is picking up a book without having read the ones before. If you read it all, it can get tedious to read about the virtual conferencing software, the maximum relative speed at which systems can target enemy vessels, the time it takes to observe and react to events occurring at light hours of distance and so on, but this repetition is a necessity in any series, so I cannot mark it down for that.
The main themes of the series are the military conflict between the Alliance and the Syndicate and political conflicts within the Alliance. Personal relationships are explored to the extent that they support the main themes, so they don't become a distraction. Campbell rarely gives detais of thing like physical appearance, leaving the reader to fill in the blanks. This means that there is a significant amount of action, one reason the books are hard to put down.
One thing that I found very refreshing is that this is a universe where military officers are actually portrayed as professionals, instead of the sorts of offerings we have on television today, where some people are unable to open their mouths without saying something that would get a film rated "15" in the UK ("R" in the USA?). These books seem to suggest that, whatever mistakes humanity may make along the way, such as the war that is being explored here, humanity can eventually learn to be better than it is.
Having got to the end of the review, I am now thinking, is there anything in here that an Alliance politician would construe as a veiled criticism? I hope not, because I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these books.
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on 17 January 2008
These books are fantastic reads and hard to put down. Don't expect in depth literature, instead expect high adventure. The latest instalment follows Captain Jack as he attempts to avoid the main Syndic battle force and instil a sense of moral discipline and leadership into his command. Sweeping battles there are, and I always like the way the author takes into account time dilation and yet more hints are provided that there may be a worse enemy than the Syndics. I can't wait for the next instalment.
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