fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsscience fiction book reviews Valiant by Jack CampbellValiant 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 them. He also has a problem with the women in his life — co-president Victoria Rione and Tanya Desjani, captain of Dauntless. Up to this point I mostly appreciated Campbell’s depiction of the women in his space fleet, but now they’re starting to act unprofessional. For such strong women, they sure can be catty!The Lost Fleet (6 book series) Kindle Edition

Overall I continue to enjoy Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET series. Valiant is the fourth book and while some of it is repetitive in both language and plot, and while some of the plot is really far-fetched (most of that having to do with how they manage to guess the intentions of their enemies and the aliens) it does serve to increase tension as we find out about the aliens and the potential danger in the hypernet gates. The romantic jealousies add emotional drama, though I could have done without some of that (or at least I would have preferred for the women not to be so silly about it).

Tanya Desjani is given more development in this installment — we’re finally shown some agreeable aspects of her personality. When we first met her she was rather bland. Her two main personality characteristics seemed to be blind devotion to Captain Geary and an almost bloodthirsty lust for battle. Now that she is a potential love interest for Geary, Campbell has decided to give us someone to love. The devotion has been toned down — Tanya will now offer her opinions and will display skepticism or even disapproval of some of Geary’s plans. She has also acquired a touch of snark and a much-needed sense of humor.

Speaking of humor, there were actually times I laughed aloud while reading Valiant, and I’m not sure that has happened before in this series. Campbell is most funny when he’s poking fun at navy officers, intelligence officers, engineers, and Marines.

I’m moving on to the fifth book, Relentless, but I can’t shake the feeling that this series should have been condensed to a total of four rather than six books.

Published in 2008. Legendary war hero Captain “Black Jack” Geary fights to stay ahead of his enemies in the fourth novel in Jack Campbell’s New York Times bestselling military science fiction series. Deep within Syndicate World space, the Alliance fleet continues its dangerous journey home under the command of Captain John “Black Jack” Geary—revived after a century spent in suspended animation. Geary’s victories over the enemy have earned both the respect—and the envy—of his fellow officers… Geary has made many risky decisions as commander of the Alliance fleet, but ordering them back to the Lakota Star System where the Syndics nearly destroyed them has his officers questioning his sanity. It’s a desperate gamble that may buy the fleet just enough time to prepare for the Syndics’ inevitable return. Even as he struggles to give the fleet a fighting chance at survival, Geary faces dissent from within. An unknown number of officers want a change of command, but Geary knows that the Alliance fleet must stand together, or else the Syndic forces will tear them apart…


  • Kat Hooper

    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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