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The Lost Fleet: Dauntless by Jack  Campbell
Review by Harriet Klausner
Ace Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 0441014186
Date: 27 June, 2006 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

During their journey the Alliance finds an escape pod containing Captain "Black" Jack Geary, a man revered by all the Alliance because a century ago he got his convoy away from the Syndicas and was able to save all his men from falling into the enemies hands. Geary is not pleased to be considered a legendary hero whose return to life immediately becomes mythological as an omen that victory is theirs.

Before they arrive at the Syndica homeworld, they run into the enemy's armada and realize they fell into a trap that the devious adversary cleverly devised. The commander calls for the Alliance fleet's surrender. They demand that the armada's leadership come to the Syndica's command ship to discuss terms but before the Admiral leaves, he turns command over to Geary. Shortly after the alliance fleet sees their leaders gunned down and knowing that they are overwhelmed and the hypernet will be guarded, Geary decides to use the slow jump points to retreat to the Alliance system. It takes the Syndics completely off guard. When a double cross is planned, Geary, instead of killing the enemy, he disarms them and returns the men to their planet. From there they jump to the lifeless Kaliban system where they mine ores to make weapons and replacement parts. Geary teaches his troops a way of fighting lost a century ago so they might compete with their deadly foe in the upcoming battle.

Geary is a complex man who hates that others think of him as a legend because he knows he did nothing that any good soldier in his time wouldn't do. He wants off the pedestal, but his people need him so he takes charge and adds to the legend as he uses his fame to convince the people under his command to follow his lead. There are two camps regarding the resurrected hero, one who believes he came back at the Alliance's darkest hour to lead them to victory and those who believe he is an outdated has been. He is determined to return to Alliance territory no matter how long it takes because that is the only way they will win the war. Readers will admire and like this man who believes in honor, team work and civilized behavior. This "dinosaur" teaches the new soldiers not to become like the enemy by leading by example.

This is a hard military science novel with space battles out of Star Wars. The battle scenes are so intricately described that readers will be able to visualize them. This is the first book in what looks to be an exciting series because the armada has to take the long way around to avoid more battles with the Syndics who don't know the mindset of the leader of the armada who does not fight as expected. A fast paced but intricate storyline and fully developed characters, except the enemy who are stereotypes, turn this novel into a fun reading experience. Fans of David Webber, Elizabeth Moon and Peter F. Hamilton will find The Lost Fleet: Dauntless thoroughly enjoyable.

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