The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Leviathan
by Jack Campbell
Cover Artist: Michael Komarck
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Ace Kindle Edition ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425260548
Date: 05 May 2015
Sometimes the greatest enemy is the one inside. This enemy grows from a lack of trust and faith. When trust and faith are lost, actions are taken to prevent damage in a worst case scenario. The Alliance has won the war, but those in power don't trust the military that won the war. If you can't trust the soldiers, how do you protect your leadership? The answer is the start of the next problem.
Black Jack Geary has won nearly every battle he has fought since emerging from a deep hibernation. He has consistently fought to uphold the honor of his ancestors and home. The hundreds of years of continuous warfare also took a toll on the leadership of the Alliance, not just the fighting capability of the fleet. Geary has tried to return honor to that part of society as well by living to the standards of which he speaks. Unfortunately, some see this as a ploy to lull people into a false sense of security. At some point Geary will lead the fleet to overthrow the Alliance. To stop this, they cut funding to the active fleet while creating an automated fleet as a backup.
This new fleet would seem perfect, it follows order perfectly. As many a person making a wish has discovered, sometimes the wish isn't clear enough. Orders can be followed too perfectly and literally, with predictable outcomes. In this case a rogue fleet. Geary and his fleet must find the fleet and neutralize it. But the fleet is hidden in the most secret base in that part of the Galaxy. Fortunately, the alien Dancers are there to help prevent the rise of a machine empire.
This is another entry in the continuing sage of Black Jack Geary that started with The Lost Fleet: Dauntless. With the ongoing plotlines, Leviathan is not the best starting point for new readers. But fans of Military Science Fiction will find a lot to like here.
Author Campbell does a nice job with the mechanics of space battles. He writes a heck of a good action scene and keeps finding new tactics and challenges for his protagonist. Although the enemy is new, the fight falls back on the traditional Geary tactic of knowing the enemy and doing something that they wonít expect. Sometimes military science fiction can fall into using the same tactic trap. The hero uses the same tactic, with a slight variation in every major encounter. This can get a bit repetitive, with The Lost Fleet series, some new tactic is used or rediscovered creating a large body of tactical options.
The story isnít all lasers and missiles. Campbell also develops the relationships between Geary and his crew through their adventures and overcoming challenges. The Beyond the Frontier novels are more focused on the exploration of the galaxy than the first series, but doesn't lose the focus on military action. The exploration and discovery come each time the fleet jumps to a new system or encounters a new race.