THE LOST FLEET: DAUNTLESS by Jack Campbell – Chapter One

I finally got around to reading by John Hemry (writing as Jack Campbell). Normally anyone reviewing the book would wait until he actually, you know, read the book before commenting on it. Not I.

I’ve just got done with the first chapter, and it is great, simply great. I could wait and read the rest, and form a proper, balanced, and objective judgment, but I am too enthused.


This is the kind of writing that has been lost to science fiction since the early days, and I for one am glad to see it back.

The writing style is crisp and lean without lyrical frills, the characterization sharp and simple, and the plot set-up for Chapter One is well-knit and well paced.

In Chapter One we discover one ‘Black Jack’ Geary, recovered from lifeboat hibernation after one hundred years in cold sleep, has been posthumously awarded the rank of Captain. While he slept, his actions have grown from historical to mythical proportions, until he is like Frederick Barbarossa asleep beneath Kyffhäuser  or Arthur in Avalon. With all he knows and loves a hundred years dead, Jack Geary is in the vice-grip of despair, as if his heart never thawed from cold sleep.

Meanwhile the discipline and rigor of the military has eroded to the point where saluting is optional.

He is placed temporarily in charge of the damaged, defeated, trapped and outmaneuvered fleet by its Admiral, because technically, albeit absurdly, his commission date has seniority over all other captains in the fleet by a five to ten decades; or perhaps because the Admiral believes the lies of the legend.

The temporary command becomes suddenly permanent when the surrender negotiations take an unexpected turn for the worse, and the living legend ‘Black Jack’ must overcome despair and insubordination, must overcome his ignorance of the modern universe, and some how live up to the legend he never asked to become.

So that is just the first chapter of the first volume. John Hemry is a friend of mine, so I had to write something praising his book, but I would have written the same praise, or more fulsome, were he a stranger.

On to Chapter Two …