Fearless is the second book in Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET series about Captain Jack Geary who has recovered from 100 years of cold sleep just in time to try to save the Alliance fleet from certain annihilation by the Syndics. As I explained in my review of the first LOST FLEET book, Dauntless, many soldiers in the Alliance fleet think Black Jack Geary is a hero returned from the dead to save their skins. To them, Geary can do no wrong, and they’re willing to follow him deeper into Syndic space as he tries to find an unguarded pathway home. Other officers, however, resent Geary’s attempt to instill order on a military that has become unprepared and undisciplined over many years of war. These aggressive glory-seekers are causing a lot of trouble and when they find someone to rally around, Captain Geary has a mutiny on his hands.
But that’s not all he’s dealing with. There’s an underlying problem that affects everything he’s trying to do — the soldiers of the Alliance used to fight with honor, but now they have become just as ignoble as the Syndics. They wipe out civilians and non-military targets, use terror tactics to dishearten their foes, and generally revel in the slaughter of their enemies. Geary realizes that with this sort of attitude, there will never be peace. At first his only like-minded ally is Senator Victoria Rione who is traveling with Geary and the crew of Dauntless. She’s a politician, so none of the military folks trust her, but she is a much-needed voice for restraint. That’s why Geary can trust her with his provocative suspicions that there may be outside forces malevolently influencing the Alliance-Syndicate war, and with his discovery about the powers that can be unleashed when a hypernet gate implodes.
Geary has some relationship issues as well. Since he’s been asleep for 100 years, he has lost everyone he ever loved. He’s depressed about this, though he doesn’t have much time to think about it. He worries about going “home” and wonders if he can find a way to fit into society other than just as a fleet commander. In this installment, Geary begins a romantic relationship that is only partly rewarding and may or may not be significant when he finally gets home.
Fearless is another entertaining installment in the LOST FLEET series. Some of Jack Campbell’s characters are a bit two-dimensional, and one of them (Captain Falco) is totally over-the-top, but Captain Geary is an admirable character who’s easy to root for. Some of Geary’s personnel problems — especially those involving the mutinous officers and his new lover — seem contrived to elevate emotions, but Geary’s plight is compelling enough to make me feel rather forgiving. Campbell’s space battles are awesome, which is surprising since there’s actually more waiting around and getting in position than actually shooting at things.
Christian Rummel does a great job with the narration of the audio version I’ve been listening to. I think he has a lot to do with how much I like Black Jack Geary. I’ve already downloaded the third LOST FLEET book, Courageous.