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The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Guardian Hardcover – May 7, 2013
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“Absorbing…Neither series addicts nor newcomers will be disappointed.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Campbell combines the best parts of military SF and grand space opera to launch a new adventure series…Geary’s Star Trek–like mission of exploration sets the fleet up for plenty of exciting discoveries and escapades.”—Publishers Weekly
“The story line is, as always, faster than the speed of light…Jack Campbell creates a terrific, unexpected spin to his great outer-space saga.”—Alternative Worlds
About the Author
- Publisher : Ace; 0 edition (May 7, 2013)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 042526050X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0425260500
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Item Weight : 1.35 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.36 x 1.4 x 9.32 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #732,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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About my reviews: I try to review every book I read, including those that I don't end up enjoying. The reviews are not scholarly, but just indicate my reaction as a reader, reading being my addiction. I am miserly with 5-star reviews; 4 stars means I liked a book very much; 3 stars means I liked it; 2 stars means I didn't like it (though often the 2-star books are very popular with other readers and/or are by authors whose other work I've loved).
The series keeps you in such suspense that I literally have a hard time putting it down! I listen to the book while doing dishes, driving etc. You really can't go wrong. Highly recommend the series, and recommend you start at the beginning!!
Once again, Admiral "Black Jack" Geary, must lead his fleet of ships through treacherous territory to find a way home back to Alliance space. Though the war is technically over, the Syndics have finally gotten smarter and are using guerrilla tactics to winnow away at his fleet. The Dancers still tag along though their intent is unclear to Geary and reader alike. (Which I find appalling. What leader in their right mind would give a technologically superior species their home address?) He loses some ships and a few good friends, but nothing ever seems to damage his flagship or those closest to him. There is a lot of talk about what kind of political quagmire awaits them, but when they finally arrive (which takes 3/4 of the book) they are immediately sent on a very special non-military mission and pretty much ignore everything else.
And why Admiral Geary doesn't use his cache and rank to get a few days with his wife after only a brief honeymoon makes him look weak. The woman stands next to him on the bridge everyday and they aren't allowed marital visits while on the ship. I'm sorry, but any normal man is going to want to drag her ass off the ship for some serious conjugal visiting after months in space.
The new tactics the Syndics use are clearly a reflection of present day military issues in the Middle East. He even touches on how progressive the Alliance treats mental health issues which makes no sense.
Think about it. Here is a culture that has been at war for over a hundred years. Before Black Jack showed up their only tactic was to attack and attack more after that. Most of those who fought didn't expect to live past a year or two. So, why would anyone bother with treating PTSD if no one lived long enough to suffer from it.
I can tell that Mr. Campbell is trying hard to treat women fairly and give them power. Most of the time he succeeds and I appreciate that. But the only battle in which Capt. Tanya Desjani is allowed to lead is a joke.
I do look forward to the next book of THE LOST STARS series because I think Mr. Campbell is doing a much better job in both character and story. It seems like he loves his character of "Black Jack" too much to let anything really bad happen to him.
Top reviews from other countries
Having mentioned this, the book also has some of the qualities of the previous volumes and a number of differences. For starters, there are no huge and desperate space battles pitting numerous enemies against Geary's veteran, worn and torn battle fleet. Instead, as the fleet struggles to return to Alliance space through the Syndicate Worlds, there are a series of smaller engagements as the latter spring one trap after another to destroy it, despite the peace treaty that supposedly ended the war against the two superpowers. These engagements are rather well thought out and well told, with these being perhaps one of the best parts of the book.
Another piece which is emphasized rather more than in previous volumes is the political upheaval in the Alliance as the "Lost Fleet" once again returns victorious from a mission it may not have been expected to survive. While the author, like many ex-members of armed forces from a number of countries that have recently been involved in wars, may (understandably) have little sympathy for self-interested "politicians", the way the squabbling senators are presented in the book felt like a caricature at times and did not entirely ring true. I was also rather confused (but perhaps was I meant to be?) and failed to identify the various factions that the senators was supposed to represent. I am still unsure as to what exactly each of them was supposed to stand for, apart from the personal rivalries that they seem to indulge in. My credulity was somewhat stretched to the limits by some sweeping generalizations, particularly when one particularly disenchanted senator "self-confesses" that they are all professional liars.
While the author does make some effort, particularly at the beginning of the book, to fill in the reader with events that have taken place in previous volumes, a number of features - such as the decision of some of the Alliance's allies to pull out, or the importance of the "errand" given to Admiral Geary - are left unexplained (or unsufficiently explained).
The "new" enemy that they encounter felt also like caricatures while the "moralizing" tones of the inhabitants of the planet that they rescue towards the end of the book felt somewhat "naïve". In any case, I would have liked to learn more about the history of the Alliance, and of Man's colonization of the stars, but there was very little about this in this volume. There is also very little new about the alien races. Apart from some moralizing lessons for humans (again!), these remain mostly enigmatic (no play on words intended).
While still a good read, I was a bit disappointed by this volume...
Thus this isn't a good jumping on point for new readers, not just because there is no exposition - beyond a quick bit of dialogue on the first page - to bring you up to speed. So you should start with The Lost Fleet: Dauntless (Book 1) (Lost Fleet 1) instead.
Regular readers, read on.
This volume runs for four hundred and eighty nine pages, and is divided into eighteen chapters.
We begin where the last book left off, with the Fleet trying to get home from it's current mission. With aliens in tow and onboard. But with Syndic systems still to get through. The collapse of the Syndic has left them in turmoil. With people and the state security service struggling for power.
As ever Geary has moments of self doubt, lots of conversations about what to do with Tanya and Rione. Space battles to fight. And Alliance politics to deal with.
It is the mixture as before. It's also a very long book. But it still manages to keep itself going very nicely and to be a good page turner without ever feeling over familiar.
The use of real time and relativity does make the space battles interesting to read. Plus, all the characters are three dimensional and nobody is evil for the sake of it. The effect of war and it's aftermath is well handled, not least via a great scene of first contact - as it were - between a Syndic and the Alliance.
With roughly a fifth of the book left it then goes off in a completely different and somewhat surprising direction, taking the story into wholly new territor. There is a point to all this though, and it is well done and well worth waiting for.
As ever, the aliens are a highlight, remaining totally non human in the way they behave and very enigmatic throughout.
This is not the end of Beyond the Frontier, though. Black Jack will be back. Book four is out in May 2014. I look forward to it.
There is an author's note at the end about the Lost Stars novels, but this is the same one that appeared in Beyond the Frontier book Two.
It is truly wonderful space-opera. It's not just full of the hardware and the wonder of deep space, but it also has as an essential ingredient the character and emotions of the intrepid humans undergoing the experiences. You have to have both in good space opera.
But at the end of the series, in "Victorious" (2010) there are of course many loose ends. Will Black Jack become a Sulla, and cleanse the house of the Allies? In the light of it, the decision to send him off on a very clear suicide mission is about as good a political settlement as one may wish for. It is the working out of this deeply flawed strategy that occupies the three volumes of "Beyond the Frontier." The last volume, "Guardian" came out just as I finished my stint of re-reading the "Lost Fleet" series, so I plunged on, re-reading the first two volumes of "Beyond the Frontier", and the third for the first time.
Incredibly credible and inscrutable aliens which the humans try to understand, the war-wearyness of these battle-scarred humans (and their ships - Hemry scores a major master-stroke with this theme) and of course ugly political intrigue which ties poor Victoria in knots... and a very credible near-nervous breakdown for Black Jack. I can't help feeling though that the last volume, "Guardian", is Hemry's way of tying this basically untiable knot up in some semblance of completeness. It avoids the blood-bath of Sulla but one cannot help feeling that there will have to be a Pilsudski-style "Sanacja" regime sooner or later and that Hemry is simply too good a soldier to want to even contemplate this turn of fate. Perhaps if the politicians elected on the historical war-time platforms are really very very bad in peace-time then democracy will find a way and elect future politicians who will do it right? Can we dare hope? As my father (who was a regular soldier in WW2) used to say, politicians are very good at contriving miserable endings despite the best their soldiers can do for them.
The flavour of "Beyond the Frontier" is different to that of "The Lost Fleet." One should not make the mistake of assuming simply more of the same. "Beyond the Frontier" is still good, rattling space opera no whit inferior to "Lost Fleet" but the tensions and the themes which require resolution are different. Don't expect more of the same. Expect many different challenges (delightful to the reader but not so much to Black Jack and his men.) I suspect that once he's worked his way through his "Lost Stars" Hemry will have to revisit Black Jack in his destiny as the Alliance's Cincinnatus.