SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1686 The Lost Fleet: Relentless, by Jack Campbell Book Review |

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The Lost Fleet: Relentless, by Jack Campbell
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Ace Books
Published: 2009
Review Posted: 8/7/2014
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

The Lost Fleet: Relentless, by Jack Campbell

Book Review by Joshua Palmatier

Have you read this book?

This is the fifth book in the Lost Fleet series from Jack Campbell.  I don't generally read military SF, tending more toward epic fantasy, but everyone now and then I try some for variety.  Overall, I enjoy the story, but then head back to the fantasy.  Not with this series.  I was hooked on the Lost Fleet and its situation and characters from book one and am almost done reading the last book in the series already.
The premise is that John "Black Jack" Geary is woken from 100 years of hibernation to discover that the war that had just begun when he scrambled to get into the escape pod of his ship is still being waged and the Alliance fleet has run into an ambush far behind Syndic enemy lines.  Geary is forced to take command and has been leading the fleet back toward home, with some significant loses along the way.  Now, only three jumps from Alliance space, the fleet has entered a system with Alliance POWs.  Geary refuses to leave them behind, even though he's just learned that the Syndics have pulled a previously unknown "reserve" fleet from their far border and it's waiting between the current system and the only route available toward home.
Again, the characters and the plot of this series continue to evolve and engage.  Since the series is winding down, you know that a final confrontation is inevitable, since there are only so many routes Geary can take the fleet in order to reach home.  However, the fleet has managed to destroy most of the Syndic's known forces.  So it looked like Geary had a decent shot at simply taking the fleet straight home.  This book threw in multiple twists to that expectation, including the sudden appearance of this "reserve" fleet.  Such a device would normally come off as author manipulation, but in this case, the existence of such a reserve fleet, one that the Alliance had never heard of, and of such size, made complete sense, due to the presence of the aliens on the Syndic's far border.

So, just when the reader has started to relax, and the characters have begun to think they're going to make it back alive, we get a new force for them to deal with, one that they can't simply roll over.  Throw in the assault on the planet--something that hasn't happened in any of the previous books--in order to save the POWs, and of course the continued threat of saboteurs in the fleet, and this fifth book is chock full of tension.
The only reason I didn't give this book five stars is because some of the threads mentioned above get resolved in this book in a way that was slightly disappointing.  Basically, after the build-up of the past four books, the resolution just felt . . . quick.  One thread in particular ended rather swiftly and without any possible complications that Geary or the others may have overlooked.  But the majority of the threads continued on and/or were resolved with great satisfaction, so I was not disappointed with the book at all.
This series is still highly recommended, and as I said, I've already nearly finished the last book in the series.  I have moved Jack Campbell to my "must read" author list, and will be buying his books as soon as they come out for the foreseeable future . . . even though I'm an "epic fantasy" reader and writer.
Joshua Palmatier/Benjamin Tate
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