The Lost Fleet: Victorious (Book 6 of 6)
by Jack Campbell
Cover Artist: Peter Bollinger
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Ace Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780441018697
Date: 27 April 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Well, not necessarily. Black Jack Geary is back for the exciting conclusion of the Lost Fleet series. He knows that the enemies of the Syndicate worlds are not his friends. They have destroyed star systems in order to keep the war going and they are likely to pull out all of the stops to prevent peace from breaking out.
At the end of Relentless the Alliance forces decisively defeat the syndics. Now Geary is prepared to take the war back to the Syndic home world. The CEO's have been willing to sacrifice planets to achieve their goals; the trap they set for Geary goes beyond imagining. Planning and daring will see the Fleet through once more, but with Syndic space devoid of ships, their alien enemies are making a push to claim new space. Geary is forced to decide whether to get involved or let the Syndics suffer.
The aliens are unknown, but some of their technology is definitely superior. Risking the Alliance fleet to save the Syndics would be risky. But the aliens are not the enemy of the Syndics, they are the enemy of humanity, so Geary must go once more into the breach.
The political realities that develop during the course of a hundred years of war are stark but interesting. Geary is viewed as a savior, but doesn't feel that he fits the mold. He was a low ranking captain when he went into stasis. The attrition of experienced officers and the loss of tactical knowledge has limited the fleet of the future. Geary has the most tactical training and experience when he returns. Geary is a hero's hero. You know he will do the right thing, don't expect him to break type.
One of the strangest subplots revolves around Geary's officers. They all want him to take over, but that would be a betrayal of everything he holds dear. It is odd that they can't seem to grasp that aspect of his personality because it is always up front. It is understandable when you consider the depths that the Alliance plunged over the course of the war. Geary's firm commitment to doing things properly, should have indicated to his supporters what he expected. The fear of the politicos is understandable as the tension between the fleet and the civilians ratcheted up.
The weakest point is the relationship between Geary and Desjani. Their constant denial and avoidance can get a bit tedious. I accept that it is character driven and the proper thing to do, but the constant tension was tiring and distracting.
This is the sixth book in the series and should not be the starting point. I believe that the whole series is worth a read. This is a series of fast paced adventure. Battles take into account the vastness of space and the time involved in an engagement. Fans of Ian Douglas, David Weber, and David Drake will enjoy this similar quality series.
Good news for fans of this series, Black Jack will be back. There are planned new adventures set in this universe, that continue the loose ends that remain at the conclusion of this entry. It will be interesting to track the war with the aliens and the struggles humanity will face as it rebuilds and forgives after 100 years of animosity. I also look forward to the exploration of the relationship between Geary and his flag captain, Desjani.