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The Lost Stars: Perilous Shield by Jack Campbell
Cover Artist: Craig White
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Ace Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425256312
Date: 01 October 2013 List Price $26.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

When Black Jack's away, the remnants will play. General Drakon and President Iceni broke away from the Syndicates when they saw an opportunity. Now they are fighting to survive, but they don't want to become what they left behind. In order to have a future, they will have to risk trusting an old foe.

Just when things seem to be going well, everything changes. The forces of Midway have captured a large capital ship and are working hard to get it ready for action. A small Syndicate force arrives and threatens the Gate. Things look bad, then the Inigma race shows up. Badly outnumbered, Iceni and Drakon prepare for a final battle. Black Jack returns at that point as detailed in Beyond the Frontier: Guardian.

After surviving the battle, the Midway forces have ships and need crew. They send a mission to recover the prisoners that were taken by the Alliance from the reserve fleet. The success of that mission could greatly improve the chances of Midway staying independent. Trust between CEOs is rare and Iceni and Drakon want to trust one another. Making it more difficult is that there are attempts on both of their lives. Their subordinates also work to undercut any goodwill that develops. If they survive, they will come out stronger than before, but a trap waits in the end.

The Lost Stars series is much more political in nature than the stories that follow Black Jack. There is still a lot of space action, and a couple of naval engagements. I like the way Campbell lays out his battles with time and speed changing the way ships fight. The inclusion of a Trojan Horse moment was also a nice touch.

The major problem facing Iceni and Drakon is trust. Their whole lives have revolved around cut throat politics where no one, even family is trusted. That makes for a difficult environment, one I am glad I don't live in. Imagine if your every move was watched by those around you. Any slip could lead to your end. In some ways, I fear that the current War on Terror could lead our country into this kind of mindset.

This is the second novel in The Lost Stars series that runs concurrently with the Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier series. As a second book in a series set in an established universe, it is not the best starting point for new readers. All three series are worth reading. All of the novels are fast paced with lots of action.

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