Book Reviews

Fearless – A Fearful Walk Through the Second Book of the Lost Fleet

Fearless

Fearless – The Lost Fleet Book Two – Yawn

Fearless is the second book of the Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell and I’m starting to yawn. Yes, you heard it, my mind is wandering while going through this book. Not a very good sign.

First, let me explain a lot about my reading habits for some people just don’t understand why I put myself through these exercises. I love to read! So much so that I go out of my way to read as much as possible. A friend recommended the series to me and I agreed it sounded well thought out. For the most part, that friend loves to read as well. He goes out of his way to find well thought out books and has the ability to make them sound fantastic.

Knowing this, you’ll understand why I’m reading the whole series and not just stopping at book two.

The premise of the series is John “Black Jack” Geary commanded a battle ship during the start of the war between the Alliance and the Syndic’s. He performed well and gained a reputation for being a well grounded strategist. During a battle, his ship was disabled and he escaped in a life pod. Fast forward one hundred years and the war is still going on. A fleet of ships, almost all the remaining ones for the Alliance it seems, finds and rescues the now god like commander. All those years have elevated his legend beyond that of a good commander to an outright killing machine.

After all the current command is killed, Geary finds himself in charge of a fleet of ships deep in enemy territory trying to get back home. This is a really good premise for a series! Problem is, an ex-navy is writing the story.

The Good

In Fearless, you’ll find a lot of good research and intelligent information. Yes, Campbell knows a lot about tactics and researched much before he wrote the books. This much I’ll give him. He came up with a plausible reason for the ships taking so long to get around and what the downfalls for space battle would be. I agree with much of this, but a lot of it stretches the idea of common sense.

The Bad

Try as I might, enjoying the stilted writing in Fearless is difficult. Many of the characters are one dimensional, but that is not entirely the fault of the writer. We only see some of the characters for a short time, then we are just on the flag ship with two other characters being the focus of his thoughts. When another character is introduced, we see very little of them, and what we do see is not enough to make an opinion or understand the motives driving them.

Yes, we have a battle in space and there will be a lot of lag between the fleet due to that distance, even when communication travels at the speed of light. How far apart does he have his fleet? Just how far do the ships need to be from the system when they enter or exit jump space? During battle, the author explains that Geary needs to wait 30-60 seconds for answers from different parts of his fleet because of the distance they are from him. Really? They keep that far apart? Knowing light travels at 299,792 km (186,282 miles) per second he has his fleet spanning six million kilometres apart! Ouch! You couldn’t see the other ship even if you tried. And with the way the ships come out of jump space that would mean the jump point is about one million kilometres wide.

Okay, so we can stretch a little, but with the explanations of the battle scenes you are led to believe the fleet is between six and twelve million kilometres apart during battle. So how do such things work? I don’t know, maybe the author just wanted to make suspense with the amount of time it took to communicate, thus adding issues.

Wrapping up

Though some of the time the writer does a good job in pulling the threads of the characters together, there are just a lot of issues with the way it is done. The mutiny does not make sense. A commander they rescue from prison, who’s been away for ten plus years, is able to talk so many ships into leaving? I don’t think so. The path of the military losing the ability to come up with tactics? Doubt it. A legend being created in one hundred years? Probably, knowing people.

It can be a good read, but it could be a lot better.

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