Fearless: Mutiny!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsFearless by Jack CampbellFearless 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 hands.

But that’s not all he’s dealing with. There’s an underlying problem that affects everything he’s trying to do — the soldiers of the Alliance used to fight with honor, but now they have become just as ignoble as the Syndics. They wipe out civilians and non-military targets, use terror tactics to dishearten their foes, and generally revel in the slaughter of their enemies. Geary realizes that with this sort of attitude, there will never be peace. At first his only like-minded ally is Senator Victoria Rione who is traveling with Geary and the crew of Dauntless. She’s a politician, so none of the military folks trust her, but she is a much-needed voice for restraint. That’s why Geary can trust her with his provocative suspicions that there may be outside forces malevolently influencing the Alliance-Syndicate war, and with his discovery about the powers that can be unleashed when a hypernet gate implodes.The Lost Fleet (6 book series) Kindle Edition

Geary has some relationship issues as well. Since he’s been asleep for 100 years, he has lost everyone he ever loved. He’s depressed about this, though he doesn’t have much time to think about it. He worries about going “home” and wonders if he can find a way to fit into society other than just as a fleet commander. In this installment, Geary begins a romantic relationship that is only partly rewarding and may or may not be significant when he finally gets home.

Fearless is another entertaining installment in the LOST FLEET series. Some of Jack Campbell’s characters are a bit two-dimensional, and one of them (Captain Falco) is totally over-the-top, but Captain Geary is an admirable character who’s easy to root for. Some of Geary’s personnel problems — especially those involving the mutinous officers and his new lover — seem contrived to elevate emotions, but Geary’s plight is compelling enough to make me feel rather forgiving. Campbell’s space battles are awesome, which is surprising since there’s actually more waiting around and getting in position than actually shooting at things.

Christian Rummel does a great job with the narration of the audio version I’ve been listening to. I think he has a lot to do with how much I like Black Jack Geary. I’ve already downloaded the third LOST FLEET book, Courageous.

Published in 2007. Captain John “Black Jack” Geary tries a desperate gamble to lead the Alliance Fleet home through enemy-occupied space in this novel in the thrilling Lost Fleet series. Geary is convinced that the Syndics are planning to ambush the fleet and finish it off once and for all. Realizing the fleet’s best (and only) chance is to do the unexpected, Geary takes the offensive and orders the fleet to the Sancere system. There, a multitude of possible routes home give the Alliance fleet a better chance of avoiding their pursuers—and an attack on the Sancere shipbuilding facilities could decimate the Syndic war effort. Weary from endless combat, the officers and crew of the Alliance fleet can’t see the sense in charging deeper into enemy territory—prompting a mutiny that divides them, and leaving Geary with the odds higher against him than ever before…

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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  1. Brian G. /

    I love this series!

  2. Kevin S. /

    I was really excited about this series after the first book but not so much now. This book has much of the same action and military texture as Dauntless. However, there is no progress in character development and Campbell has already introduced the obligatory sexual relationship between two of the main characters. Not sure if I’ll continue the series. It’s certainly good so far but I fear Campbell is going a very predictable route.

    • Kevin, it does tend to get slow and repetitive after this point. I think this is one of those series where fans just keep reading because they love to hang out with the characters. It feels like it’s being milked for profit. Some readers love those sorts of series. I don’t. I keep reading the books to review them for this site, and I certainly don’t mind hanging out with Black Jack but, as you can see from my ratings, I thought the first two books were the best.

      • Kevin S. /

        This series has a ton of potential. Black Jack is a terrific character. I love his integrity and leadership. He reminds of some great commanders I served under in the Air Force. IMO the author could also do a lot with Desjani and the other “good” characters who support Black Jack. However, the lack of depth in this book says a lot about Campbell’s approach to his characters. It felt like he could have done SO much more with this story.

        I’m also curious why the cover shows a character (presumably Black Jack??) carrying a futuristic weapon but he never does that in the story. It’s like a comic book with the wrong cover.

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