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Jack Campbell

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 lives with his family in Maryland.

Dauntless: Black Jack Geary makes a great reluctant hero

Dauntless by Jack Campbell

John “Black Jack” Geary’s escape pod has just been rescued from deep space. He’s been in cold-sleep for a century after he single-handedly held off enemy spaceships while letting the rest of the Alliance fleet escape. Everyone thought he was dead, but his brave sacrifice went down in the history books and many people still whisper that Black Jack Geary will come back to save the Alliance in a time of great need. And so he has... or at least that’s what many soldiers of the Alliance believe. Geary himself is bewildered to learn that not only is he alive, but that his one famous deed was exaggerated and now he’s a hero of legend. All he really feels like doing is grieving over the loved ones he left behind a century ago. But duty calls.

Now Geary finds himself again trying to save the Alliance fleet. They’re still fighting the Syndicate Worlds — the same enemies they’ve been fighting since Geary’s ... Read More

Fearless: Mutiny!

Fearless by Jack Campbell

Fearless is the second book in Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET series about Captain Jack Geary who has recovered from 100 years of cold sleep just in time to try to save the Alliance fleet from certain annihilation by the Syndics. As I explained in my review of the first LOST FLEET book, Dauntless, many soldiers in the Alliance fleet think Black Jack Geary is a hero returned from the dead to save their skins. To them, Geary can do no wrong, and they’re willing to follow him deeper into Syndic space as he tries to find an unguarded pathway home. Other officers, however, resent Geary’s attempt to instill order on a military that has become unprepared and undisciplined over many years of war. These aggressive glory-seekers are causing a lot of trouble and when they find someone to rally around, Captain Geary has a mutiny on his ha... Read More

Courageous: The lost fleet is still wandering…

Courageous by Jack Campbell

In Courageous, the third book in Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET series, the Alliance fleet is still wandering from star system to star system, trying to get back home by some path the Syndics won’t predict. It seems like a hopeless situation, but the legendary Black Jack Geary, who’s been revived out of cold sleep after his suicidal mission 100 years ago, is just the hero they need. He’s proved himself so capable so far that some of his commanders want to help him secure a dictatorship when they get home, and others just want to get rid of him. Geary could decide to be a dictator, get rid of the people who are causing him problems and do things the way he thinks they should be done, but then how is he different from their enemies?

Geary isn’t as confident in his own abilities, however. He’s still uncomfortable in this new military where the pursuit of self-glory is tolerated and the bes... Read More

Valiant: The Alliance fleet is still wandering around

Valiant by Jack Campbell

Black Jack Geary, the crew of the flagship Dauntless, and the other ships of the Alliance fleet are still wandering around in enemy territory, trying to get home (and reminding me a bit of that stupid show I loved when I was a kid: Lost in Space). They’re worried about their stores of fuel, food and the material they need to create weapons. They’re also worried about the Syndicate fleets, but they’ve been successful enough so far that the Syndics are equally afraid of them. In Valiant, there are more Syndics to fight, civilians to rescue, and sabotage to discover. The Alliance fleet will also witness the terrifying collapse of a Syndicate hypernet gate and learn the truth about their suspicions of an alien presence that may be influencing the war from afar.

Personally Geary is still dealing with some treacherous ship captains and he must make some hard decisions about how to handle th... Read More

Relentless: Good deeds are bearing fruit

Relentless by Jack Campbell

In Relentless, book 5 of Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET series, Captain Black Jack Geary and the Alliance fleet are jumping through a Syndic star system, trying to evade the Syndics, as usual, when they happen to be in a position from which they can rescue some Alliance POWs from one of the Syndic planets. Here the Alliance force sees the consequences of their past honorable behavior which Captain Geary has insisted upon, despite earlier protests from many in his fleet. Their good deeds are bearing fruit.

Because of this, most of the other captains now trust Geary completely and some of the more reluctant ones are starting to buy in. Unfortunately, Geary himself is feeling very insecure and is sometimes paralyzed by fear of failure. He’s also still dealing with a few secret saboteurs who clearly don’t want him returning home in glory. While some of his colleagues are ready to crown Geary empe... Read More

Victorious: The fleet is finally found!

Victorious by Jack Campbell

Victorious is the sixth and last book in Jack Campbell’s original LOST FLEET series. (If you haven’t read the previous books, you’ll want to read them before reading this review.)

Captain Black Jack Geary and the Alliance fleet have finally arrived, battered and bruised, to their home in the Alliance system and Geary’s feet touch ground for the first time in 100 years. Not surprisingly, the Alliance senate is leery of Geary (ugh, that rhyme!) and suspect that he may be planning a coup. But all he wants to do is deliver the ominous news from space about the aliens who’ve been driving the Syndic-Alliance war all this time. Surely they have bad intentions toward the human races they’ve been manipulating.

So, after only a brief respite, Captain Geary, Tanya Desjani, Victoria Rione, and many of the other officers of the Alliance fleet, head back out in space to end the war... Read More

Dreadnaught: Nothing new

Dreadnaught by Jack Campbell

Warning: Contains spoilers for Jack Campbell’s original LOST FLEET series.

Dreadnaught is the first book in Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET: BEYOND THE FRONTIER series which is a spin-off of his LOST FLEET series, but really Dreadnaught is just book seven in the LOST FLEET series. You don’t need to read the previous six books, but it would help. Dreadnaught follows the same characters and begins shortly after the events of Victorious, book six in the original series.

Admiral Black Jack Geary and Captain Tanya Desjani are now married. Thanks to their actions during the war, the Alliance and Syndic Worlds have finally come to a peace agreement, but things are still tense and Geary is seen as a threat to many of the Alliance politicians. And so they send him away again, this time to gather information about the unknown... Read More

Invincible: Things are getting exciting again

Invincible by Jack Campbell

Invincible is the second book in Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET: BEYOND THE FRONTIER series which is a spin-off of his LOST FLEET series. Essentially, it’s just book eight in the LOST FLEET series. It follows the same characters that are beginning a new chapter of life after Captain Black Jack Geary finally got them home to Alliance space. Now they’ve been sent back to space to discover what they can about the alien species that lives “beyond the frontier.” Why would the same crew be sent back to space after they’ve been gone for so long? Because the Alliance government fears them. Geary is seen as a hero with old-fashioned ethics, and his enormous fleet is fiercely loyal to him. Some people in the government are afraid that Geary plans a coup attempt and they just want him out of their way. This might have been a good move because in this book we begin to learn more about the Alliance g... Read More

Guardian: Trying to get home… again.

Guardian by Jack Campbell

Guardian is the ninth book in Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET series and the third in the subseries called BEYOND THE FRONTIER. You really need to have read the previous eight books to fully understand the background, so I’ll assume you’re familiar with the series if you’re reading this review.

Admiral Blackjack Geary and his wife Tanya Desjani (captain of the warship Dauntless which is the admiral’s flagship) are once again far from home and trying to get back. Now that the war with the evil Syndicate Empire is supposed to be over, Geary’s fleet has been sent by the Alliance “beyond the frontier” to investigate the first alien species that humans had ever encountered. (It’s a little hard to believe that the Alliance government would se... Read More

Steadfast: Episodic and teachy, but fun

Steadfast by Jack Campbell

Steadfast is the tenth book in Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET series and the fourth in the BEYOND THE FRONTIER subseries. You really need to read all of the previous nine LOST FLEET books to best enjoy Steadfast. I’ll assume you have. There will be spoilers for previous books in this review.

Steadfast has an episodic and teachy feel. Geary and his crew have several different missions, some more exciting than others, and each seems to give Campbell a chance to speak to something going on in our world today. I agreed with Campbell’s “lessons” more often than not, but I was always aware that the lessons were there and that Campbell was using his story as a platform.

Recall... Read More

Leviathan: What Would Jack Do?

Leviathan by Jack Campbell

Leviathan is the most recent book in Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET: BEYOND THE FRONTIER series. It wouldn’t make any sense to read Leviathan before reading the ten books that precede it. This review will contain spoilers for the previous books, but not for Leviathan.

At the end of Steadfast, Admiral Blackjack Geary’s fleet had been escorting their new alien friends back to the hypernet gate to their own star system when they discovered a fleet of invisible ships laying waste to a nearby planet. They realized that a virus in their own software made the ships invisible, that the “dark ships” were nearly invulnerable, and that when Geary’s ships engaged them, they seemed to be programmed to... Read More

Tarnished Knight: Intellectual puzzle and space adventure

Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell

As a fan of the LOST FLEET series by Jack Campbell, I was intrigued by a book written from the perspective of the “enemy.” With the Alliance victory over the Syndicate and the series moving on to another conflict, it’s a great time to start looking at what is going on with the Syndicate worlds. Thus, Tarnished Knight is the opening volume of LOST STARS, a spin-off series which runs parallel to events in the LOST FLEET series. Reading LOST FLEET first is probably a good idea because Tarnished Knight assumes you’re familiar with that background information.

Artur Drakon is a Syndicate CEO: an emotionless, driven, scheming, selfish rising star in the Syndicate firmament. People are useful commodities to him as they enhance his career and personal satisfaction. CEO Drako... Read More

Perilous Shield: Worth the effort if you’re a fan

Perilous Shield by Jack Campbell

The planet of Midway has seen some pretty intense activity since the fall of the Syndicate worlds after their fleets were defeated by Admiral Jack Geary, the legendary Black Jack. Former COEs Gwen Iceni and Artur Drakon now have control of the political machine that was in place under the Syndicate and are crafting something new. They also control the local fleet, have rooted out most of the Syndicate internal spies (known as Snakes) and have successfully worked with the Alliance as they have transited the Midway star system twice. It’s been a busy time for two former CEOs who had been relegated to backwater duty because they were not quite the same as their peers.

Perilous Shield focuses on a couple of key elements and some of those things are so repetitively discussed that it becomes boring. After Tarnished Knight, the first book in this Read More

Imperfect Sword: A wonderful action-packed installment

Imperfect Sword by Jack Campbell

After the last book in Jack Campbell’s THE LOST STARS series, I was really almost dreading Imperfect Sword. I felt like Campbell had lost touch with the meaning of Military Science Fiction and was wandering in the land of Science Fiction Romance. Well, fortunately I have been rebuked; with Imperfect Sword, Campbell delivers a wonderful action-packed installment and restores my belief in him as an author who knows when to blow something up with a plasma cannon or take someone down with a sharp knife in the dark. 

General Drakon and President Iceni have been up to their necks in intrigue since they broke with the Syndicate Worlds. Through a very, very fortunate series of interactions with Admiral Jack Geary, the hero of the LOST FLEET series, they have avoided being destroyed by the Enig... Read More

The Last Full Measure: An alternate history by Jack Campbell

The Last Full Measure by Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell, a retired U.S. Navy officer, is best known for his military science fiction novels which he writes under the pseudonym Jack Campbell (the LOST FLEET series) and his real name, John G. Hemry (STARK’S WAR, JAG IN SPACE). With his latest offering, a novella called The Last Full Measure, he brings his military mind back down to earth.

In this alternate history, the U.S. government no longer upholds the constitution. The president’s free use of the Alien and Sedition Acts have put the military and the press in the ruling party’s hands. To protect itself, the government no longer allows U.S. citizens to learn true American history, so most Americans don’t realize that the freedoms their ancestors enjoyed have gradually been eroded.

Even though the Constitution is no longer easily available for U.S. citizens to read, Joshua Chamberlain, a ... Read More

More science fiction by Jack Campbell

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsAd Astra — (2013) Publisher: In Jack Campbell’s New York Times bestselling Lost Fleet series, Campbell’s hero Captain Black Jack Geary explores the furthest reaches of space. Here, Campbell explores what kinds of problems mankind might face as our horizons expand. The third in a series of collections of Campbell’s short stories includes some of Campbell’s favorite stories, and some of his earliest. A brand new author’s note accompanies each story. “Lady Be Good” is one of Campbell’s most popular stories, winner of Analog Magazine’s “AnLab” reader poll for Best Short Story and cited in Gardner Dozois‘ Year’s Best SF.  The Lady Be Good is an old ship, running obscure routes, not all on the right side of the law, with her loyal first officer Kilcannon and reclusive captain. When Kilcannon decides to rescue the survivors of an attack on a Vestral Company ship, a mysterious new passenger thanks him by asking difficult questions about the Lady, with unexpected answers. In “Kyrie Eleison,” the Verio shipwrecked centuries ago on an out-of-the-way planet, and the descendants of the ship’s survivors have gotten along as well as they can by following the orders that were passed on to them. But those orders weren’t intended to govern life on the planet’s surface, and when the Bellegrange arrives on a rescue mission, her captain will have to reckon with the unexpected social order on the planet. In “Do No Harm”, a ship is so technologically advanced that it can repair itself — but turning over the keys might not be the best idea. And in “Down the Rabbit Hole,” a series of failed attempts at faster-than-light travel lead to a novel approach: sending an untested Naval captain out in a space ship to see if he can figure out what’s gone wrong. With eleven stories in all, AD ASTRA is the most multi-faceted introduction to the short fiction of Jack Campbell, and an essential complement to his bestselling book-length work.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsBorrowed Time — (2013) Publisher: In Jack Campbell’s New York Times bestselling Lost Fleet series, Campbell takes his readers through a grand adventure in space. In BORROWED TIME, seven stories take readers on an equally grand journey through time. A new author’s note accompanies each story. The centerpiece of BORROWED TIME is “Betty Knox and Dictionary Jones in the Mystery of the Missing Teenage Anachronisms.” When you’ve traveled through time and are stuck in the body of your 15-year-old self, it isn’t the best time to have some other time travelers looking to kill you. Especially when the person who’s supposed to be keeping an eye out for the bad guys is stuck in his own 15-year-old body. And it’s 1964: when you’re both 15 and your parents don’t want you spending time alone, how are you going to save your lives? SFRevu called this story “one of the most enjoyable reads I’ve had in a long time.” In four interlinked short stories, Temporal Interventionists Tom and Pam meet cute, then work together to solve some of history’s greatest mysteries. Discover the real origin of the Spanish Flu. Learn why a massive and mysterious explosion in 1908 happened to occur in the world’s least-inhabited region. Consider the possibility that the development of ironclad warships by both the South and the North at the exact same time during the American Civil War might have been more than coincidence. And why don’t we know exactly who fired the Shot Heard Round the World, the lone gunshot that started the American Revolution? In “Joan,” Kate is a time-traveling researcher who’s gotten a little too close to Joan of Arc both in time and emotionally. With no distance, scientific or otherwise, what will happen when she has a chance to rescue Joan from being burnt at the stake? Our journey through time concludes with “Crow’s Feat,” when a skeptical writer goes back to Elizabethan England to discover the true author of Shakespeare’s plays. BORROWED TIME is the second in a series of short story collections from Jack Campbell.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsSwords and Saddles — (2013) Publisher: In the New York Times bestselling Lost Fleet series, author Jack Campbell has taken readers and Captain Black Jack Geary on a fast-paced journey of conquest across vast reaches of space. Now, in the three novellas contained in SWORDS AND SADDLES, first in a series of short fiction collections from Jack Campbell, readers can explore the entire universe of Campbell’s fiction. A new author’s note accompanies each story. Begin by entering “The Rift.” Answering a distress call from a colonized planet, a combat team finds themselves ambushed. They manage to scrabble their way to a remote research facility in the countryside, joining a group of schoolchildren that have holed up with the researchers — three groups united in fear that their lives will last only as long as they can avoid discovery by the aliens that have come to their planet. When the aliens do come, it becomes clear that despite all the years of research, the humans’ understanding of the aliens is woefully incomplete. “Swords and Saddles” is one of several alternate history stories that Jack Campbell has written. When lightning strikes Captain Ulysses Benton and his US Cavalry Fifth Regiment, they recover to find an ancient structure in the desert that they’ve never seen before — and writing in a language none of them recognize. When the next find themselves skirmishing with soldiers wearing armor more appropriate to Roman centurions than 1870s Kansas, it becomes clear that wherever it is they are, it isn’t Kansas. But where are they, then? And how do they make their way home? The Lost Fleet isn’t the only Jack Campbell series full of outer space intrigue. “Failure to Obey”is a novella in his Paul Sinclair series. When Lieutenant Jen Shen saves the day after a terrorist attack on a space station, she gets a medal, but Ivan Sharpe, a fellow officer and Paul’s former master-at-arms, gets a court martial. In a classic court martial scene that rivals the best in American literature, Paul has to work behind the scenes to save Ivan’s military career.

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