fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsPerilous Shield by Jack Campbell science fiction book reviewsPerilous 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 LOST STARS series (a spin-off of Campbell’s over-arching LOST FLEET series) we understand that Syndicate CEOs don’t trust each other…. or anyone who they can’t completely control, and even then they don’t trust them. For Iceni, newly installed President, and Drakon, General in command of the ground forces, they just can’t seem to get past this. They want to trust each other, but they don’t trust each other, but they try to trust each other, but something happens to thwart that trust in each other. Is this a freaking Soap Opera or a military science fiction novel? Even the constant antagonism between some of Drakon’s subordinates gets old. I just want one of them to kill the other so that I can stop reading about them.

Where Campbell shines is when he is integrating alien life forms into the story and when he’s describing battles in space. I like trying to imagine why a formation of ships angled into another formation would be so devastating. The very important technical details are implied, but he doesn’t drown us with them. It’s very cool.

Some of the character development is outstanding. Kommodor Marphissa and her evolution from sub-CEO with almost too much initiative to a fleet commander who is learning to think creatively and growing into one of those very special Officers who earn their subordinates respect through brilliant choices and hard work. There are a few others who also make the story worth reading, but some of the plot elements make me cringe, such as the two feuding Officers who can’t get along because one is the long lost biological son of the other and she doesn’t even know he was born.

On the whole, Perilous Shield is a normal Jack Campbell book. The universe he has created is full of things to marvel at, and his ability to depict both positive and negative aspects of society remains a strong suit in his writing. It’s not breakneck action all the time, but if you are a fan then Perilous Shield is worth your time and effort.

Published October 1, 2013. A thrilling spin-off from Jack Campbell’s The Lost Fleet series, The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight delivered “excellent tales of space battles and struggles against tyrants and aliens.”* Now the New York Times bestselling author returns with the next chapter in the overthrow of the Syndicate Worlds’ oppression… Following a successful coup, the leaders of the rebel Midway Star System struggle to forge a government free enough to please its citizens yet strong enough to secure power. But in a world where former rulers have become new foes, an alien threat to humanity may turn old adversaries into uncertain allies.General Artur Drakon knows three words describe someone who confides in a Syndicate CEO: Stupid. Betrayed. Dead. Despite his misgivings, he partnered with another former CEO to overthrow Syndic forces. Now, with an enigma fleet menacing their hard-earned independence, he can ill afford to trust her—or lose her support. President Gwen Iceni believes Midway is humanity’s defense against the enigmas. Syndicate training taught her self-preservation in a crisis, yet she’s determined to fight for the star system’s fate…even if it means joining forces with Drakon—and an officer of the hated Alliance. Their plan places the Midway flotilla at great risk in hopes of greater reward: recruiting the personnel necessary to man warships against the enigmas. But before facing the alien advance, Drakon and Iceni must survive hidden dangers closer to home: all-too-human threats that could jeopardize Midway’s freedom…and their own lives.


  • John Hulet

    JOHN HULET is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of. John retired from FanLit in March 2015 after being with us for nearly 8 years. We still hear from him every once in a while.