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on 9 October 2013
First off I'm a big fan of Jack Campbell. I've read (and re-read) the Lost Fleet series, am reading the Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier series and now the Lost Stars series. Within those series there are some real classics but, to my mind, this latest addition is the best yet. It really does have everything. Firstly, it has some really strong lead and support characters - the action around President Iceni and General Drakon is excellent. Particularly the antics of Drakon's two closest assistants Roh Morgan and Bran Malin. There is also lots of intrigue as the former Synidic CEO's negotiate with Admiral John Greary (of Lost Fleet fame) and also a really fantastically written space battle between - which is an area Jack Campbell has always excelled.

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.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 October 2013
This, the second volume in the "Lost Stars" series, was a good and a rather exciting book, although I enjoyed it a bit less than "Tarnished Knight", the previous one, which it is preferable to read before.

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.
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A military science fiction novel. From the writer of the popular 'Lost Fleet' novels, this is the second in a spin off series from those which shows events from a different side of the conflict.

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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on 20 April 2016
This volume has a really good mix of space warfare and land based intrigue. All of the foregoing make a really good exciting read with enough loose ends to make the next volume a must! Bring it on!
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on 20 October 2013
Moves on the story of the Syndicate worlds after Black Jack's victories recounted in the lost fleet series. Think: break up of Soviet union, re-emerging democracy etc. and you have the basic picture.

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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on 21 August 2014
A little slow to start but worth the read. Shows the different thinking from the Alliance people, a scary way to live but interesting nevertheless. Surprising ending, so can't wait for the next book. Should be interesting reaction from Iceni.
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on 20 November 2013
Lets put this on the table at the outset - Jack Campbell is never going to win any book prizes. None of his books are epic works of the English language, so its a little unfair to compare it to something well written, deep and meaningful.

I've been through all of his Lost Fleet books and you do notice it is improving though, albeit at a glacial pace.

That aside, I thought the Lost Stars was an interesting direction to pursue for him and I enjoyed the first one.

This one, I have mixed feelings about.

Initially, I really enjoyed being back with the President and the General, it felt like old friends I'd not seen for a while and I eagerly lapped up every word from every page.

The action pieces, well, those were ok too.

What I did notice though is that the whole General-President-I-Don't-Trust-You-Are-You-Going-to-Kill-Each-Other-or-Make-Out thing to have become a little tiresome by about three quarters of the way through this book. I know what Campbell is trying to construct, its just a little ham fisted (I guess, what else could I expect really)

The thing which really finally did it in for me though was the ending of this book... I'm not going to give it away, but really? That's rubbish Campbell!

This book, the entire series I guess, is one notch above self published e-books, just about scraping the bottom of proper publisher published work. If it was a dollar a shot and you could buy the entire lot in one go I'd say do it, otherwise its for addicts only really.

Two stars, quality and value for money letting it down a lot.

For the people, Andy out.
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on 13 November 2013
When an author continues to write about a universe they usually stay on the same 'side'. For example Tolkien never wrote a story from an orc's point of view. Hemry's 2nd book of the Lost Stars series continues to develop his universe from the other side of the Lost Fleet. It is also very nice to see how the sides overlap in the books. Much of the overlap in this book is with The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Guardian. For example, if you've read Guardian and want to know why the stealth shuttles and destroyers are out at Varandal this covers it.

I also like how Hemry deals with the political / sociological differences and how the drive both the big picture and the smaller decisions that make up the story. I continue to enjoy the characters and their development, including the romantic interests. While one of the twists at the end of this book is somewhat predictable, it is the final twist / cliff hanger that has left me hoping that Hemry can write and publish the follow on book faster!
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on 5 November 2013
While Tarnished Knight appeared slow and sometime lacked direction, Perilous Shield certainly makes up for it.
It can be argued that Tarnished Knight merely laid the groundwork for Perilous Shield (and possibly the following). The political machinations surrounding our two unlikely good guys are perhaps not groundbreaking, but they do make the story flow very well. And despite wanting more space battles, or even ground battles, the overshadowing darkness of both the Syndicate Worlds and the Enigmas make for a very frontier feeling. Sometimes I had to remind myself that Midway is a fairly populous world, and not just a single city with a port.

Unlike Tarnished Knight the pace is kept up with new developments all the time. Even if they are ultimately not very big I didn't feel any of them were out of place.

The only significant downside is that the people are generally very simple in regards to the other gender.
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on 26 December 2013
I devoured this book, the latest in the lost stars spin of story from the main lost fleet universe.

I loved the insights into the syndicate worlds, and the minds and interactions of their leaders.

I chose the title because, although I loved this book, it is deriving a lot of inspiration from the tales of Camelot, the author doesn't try to hide this at all, naming his main characters after figures from the myths, presumably to acknowledge his inspiration for this series.

But if you are familiar with the story of Camelot, you will see that it is basically that, but in space. Written by a talented author. I'd definitely recommend reading it, although I am somewhat worried that this might mean, unlike his earlier works, that this story may end in tragedy for his protagonists, given how the story of Camelot eventually ended.
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