The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Dreadnaught
by Jack Campbell
Cover Artist: Michael Komarck
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Ace Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780441020379
Date: 26 April 2011 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Once again, Black Jack Geary is back, and the honeymoon is over. The Syndics are defeated, but a new enemy is in the wings. The Alliance Government is happy the war is over, but a hundred years of constant war have impacted the views of most planets' populations and devastated the economies. The rulers also fear the power and loyalty of those that have followed Black Jack. So they determine to scale back the navy and send fleet off to find out more about the hidden enemy.
Having to go back out to explore the unknown is daunting enough, but the fleet will have to do it without proper leave time for the crews. The ships also face an additional challenge, planned obsolescence. When ships are lucky to survive a handful of months, the components don't need to be a durable as a ship that will be used for decades. Now the hard use is coming against the life span of most components, the fleet will need to build and replace most of the ships components.
Even after getting out past Syndic space, the problems continue to mount. The enigma race continues to suicide rather than allow capture of individuals or equipment. Even with few clues, a picture begins to develop of a species that is completely different from humans in beliefs and culture. Geary's relative Jane Geary is acting strange but is unwilling to say what is wrong.
Dreadnaught is the start of a new series that is set in the Lost Fleet universe. Although reading the prior six books would be useful, it is not essential to this story. One thing that has remained constant, Jack Campbell can write a fast-paced page turner.
This new series takes the Alliance First Fleet into the unknown. This is in the spirit of the Original Star Trek. The search for answers will keep readers entertained for years to come. Since the bulk of the action takes place in space, this series most closely resembles the Dark Wing series by Walter Hunt. Ian Douglas's Star Carrier is also similar.
The novels are now exploring the aftermath of a war that no one ever expected to end. The war weariness is something that people can relate to as the war on terror reaches a decade. The overreaction and overreaching of politicians, as well as the short-sighted policies, are something that is familiar to audiences worldwide.