The Lost Stars: Shattered Spear
by Jack Campbell
Cover Artist: Craig White
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Ace Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425272275
Date: 03 May 2016 List Price $27.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The fledgling Midway Star System is facing new challenges even as it grows more powerful. The Syndicate does not want to let any systems break away. A new warlord is rising on an edge of Midway's influence. Always lurking and a threat are the Enigmas.
General Drakon and President Iceni are a good team. They have overcome the backbiting and treachery that they learned as CEOs in the Syndicate. They also have very loyal followers, some too loyal. Drakon and Iceni are ready to take their relationship to a new level. One that the people may approve of, but is unprecedented and worrying to their closest allies.
When trying to develop more ties to close systems, they offer support and materials. This creates opportunities for other former Syndicates. It also causes them to reach out to the new warlord. On the way they discover that the Enigmas have destroyed a Syndicate base. This destruction portends an invasion. One that Midway would be hard pressed to defend against. But there may be a slim chance to learn more about the secretive alien race.
I really enjoy how this series explores the growth of Drakon and Iceni as they overcome their former lives and training. They have talents that complement each other and are more formidable together than apart. The focus on one small area of the galaxy allows for greater knowledge of the area and people. Although he doesn't make an appearance, the shadow of Black Jack Geary looms over Midway and its people. He is both a talisman and an ideal to live up to. His presence is slowly dragging the human worlds back towards civilization.
This is the forth book in The Lost Stars series set in the Lost Fleet universe. As a later book in an ongoing series it is not the best starting point for new readers. There is a large amount of background which this series builds upon. The action runs of the series is concurrent with the action of The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier. There are now fifteen books set in the Universe and many more coming. But this is a good thing and catching up will lead to hours of entertainment.
There are great battle scenes, but also a lot of character development as well as a few twists. The balance of power is switching, but it takes time. If Midway can gear up and grow its economy it will eventually be safe from attack, but that development takes time and partners. The story of the planning for the future is what truly drives the action and puts Midway as the beacon of light in a descending darkness.