Warning: Contains spoilers for Jack Campbell’s original LOST FLEET series.
Dreadnaught is the first book in Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET: BEYOND THE FRONTIER series which is a spin-off of his LOST FLEET series, but really Dreadnaught is just book seven in the LOST FLEET series. You don’t need to read the previous six books, but it would help. Dreadnaught follows the same characters and begins shortly after the events of Victorious, book six in the original series.
Admiral Black Jack Geary and Captain Tanya Desjani are now married. Thanks to their actions during the war, the Alliance and Syndic Worlds have finally come to a peace agreement, but things are still tense and Geary is seen as a threat to many of the Alliance politicians. And so they send him away again, this time to gather information about the unknown alien race that may eventually threaten both the Alliance and the Syndics, and to pick up any POWs they may find. Since the “sailors” of the fleet are also risky for the politicians (they might back Geary in a coup attempt), they are all sent back to space, too, and since some civilian experts would be handy for learning about, communicating with, and possibly negotiating with the aliens, Victoria Rione (Geary’s former lover) is also on board.
Many fans of Campbell’s LOST FLEET series will be pleased just to spend some more time with Black Jack Geary — a likeable reluctant hero — but others are likely see Dreadnaught as just another bloated LOST FLEET installment that barely advances the plot and doesn’t do much that’s new. We’ve got the same characters in nearly the same situations as before — meetings with senators and ship captains, rescues of POWs, threats of mutiny, reckless spaceship captains, software worms, failing equipment, fear of collapsing hypernet gates, and finally (finally!) a spaceship battle. You’d think now that Jack and Tanya are married that we could finally ditch the contrived sexual tension and the love triangle, but no, that’s still here, too, because Jack and Tanya are not allowed to act as if they’re married while they’re on board and Tanya is still beating herself up for her inappropriate feelings for Jack before they were married. (Come on, Tanya, get over it!) To ratchet up the tension further, this time the love triangle is expanded into a rectangle.
Christian Rummel continues to narrate the audio versions of this series and he’s terrific. Brilliance Audio has been sending them to me and I’ll continue to listen to them so I can review them, but I really hope the next book, Invincible, does something new.
Update: I am halfway through Invincible and it is notably better than Dreadnaught.