Guardian: Trying to get home… again.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsGuardian by Jack Campbell science fiction book reviewsGuardian by Jack Campbell

Guardian is the ninth book in Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET series and the third in the subseries called BEYOND THE FRONTIER. You really need to have read the previous eight books to fully understand the background, so I’ll assume you’re familiar with the series if you’re reading this review.

Admiral Blackjack Geary and his wife Tanya Desjani (captain of the warship Dauntless which is the admiral’s flagship) are once again far from home and trying to get back. Now that the war with the evil Syndicate Empire is supposed to be over, Geary’s fleet has been sent by the Alliance “beyond the frontier” to investigate the first alien species that humans had ever encountered. (It’s a little hard to believe that the Alliance government would send them away again after they’d been lost in space for so long, but the explanation is that the Alliance fears Blackjack Geary’s legendary status. They think he may try to take over the government and that his crew will back him, so they want him gone.)

While on their current mission, Geary et al. discovered a couple more alien species! They fought with one of them and the other they are bringing home to meet the family. (This is also really hard to believe — that they’d decide to invite the aliens to their space without thinking through the consequences and getting permission from their government. But, whatever.) They also have captured an alien warship called Invincible that they are bringing home to study. It has some interesting features including unknown technology and… ghosts?

All the way home, Dauntless and her escort are harried by Syndics, their former enemies who seem to be trying to provoke them into attacking. Geary’s fleet has to deal with all sorts of issues such as non-functioning hypernet gates, ambushes, mutinies, Kamikaze spaceships, prisoners to rescue, and various traps. (This would be a lot more interesting if we hadn’t already seen most of it in previous books in the series.) Once they get home, they are immediately sent out again, this time to escort their new alien friends to… well, that would be spoiling, so I’m not going to tell.

This series continues to be repetitive, and a little preachy in places (especially toward the end of Guardian), but Blackjack Geary and his crew are fun to be with. Geary, particularly, is an excellent hero who’s strong but vulnerable and has a great team of advisors. I also love how Campbell’s women are truly equal to the men, and I like how he keeps reminding us that space is huge and the mechanics of war work differently because of that.

Christian Rummel continues to do a great job with the narration of Audible Studio’s audio version of the LOST FLEET series. His female voices really do sound like women, and I’ve kind of got a crush on Blackjack Geary because of the way Rummel portrays him. Guardian is 14 hours long.


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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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