Victorious is the sixth and last book in Jack Campbell’s original LOST FLEET series. (If you haven’t read the previous books, you’ll want to read them before reading this review.)
Captain Black Jack Geary and the Alliance fleet have finally arrived, battered and bruised, to their home in the Alliance system and Geary’s feet touch ground for the first time in 100 years. Not surprisingly, the Alliance senate is leery of Geary (ugh, that rhyme!) and suspect that he may be planning a coup. But all he wants to do is deliver the ominous news from space about the aliens who’ve been driving the Syndic-Alliance war all this time. Surely they have bad intentions toward the human races they’ve been manipulating.
So, after only a brief respite, Captain Geary, Tanya Desjani, Victoria Rione, and many of the other officers of the Alliance fleet, head back out in space to end the war with the Syndics and then to deal with an alien race that they know almost nothing about. This time many of their crew are newbies who are ill-prepared for war and who don’t understand the new ways that Geary has brought to the military. (Or, I should say, the old ways that Geary has brought back to the military.) Geary can’t completely trust them, but he can’t afford to offend them either. There’s a sensitive balance.
Well, from the title of the book, we all know how it’s going to end, but the journey is what we’re interested in. How can Geary end the war? What are the aliens like and what do they want? Can he stop them? Is Michael Geary still alive, and if so does his survival depend on what Black Jack does? What about Victoria Rione’s missing husband? Will Geary and Tanya end up together? Will Geary be able to have a relationship with his grandniece? Some of these questions will be answered in Victorious, some I suspect are answered in the spin-off series, and some we may never know…
I’ll wrap up my review of the LOST FLEET series by summing up my main impressions. This is an engaging story with a great protagonist, a few likeable secondary characters (though they are not as interesting or as well fleshed out as Black Jack Geary is), an exciting but often repetitive plot that occasionally strays into unbelievable territory when our characters are able to anticipate the enemies’ plans, and a touch of appealing humor. It would have benefitted by having is length reduced by about a third. I slightly resent that I had to shell out money for six books when I feel like it should have been only four books long, but based on reviews at Amazon and Goodreads, most readers were happy to do so.
I read the audio version of THE LOST FLEET which was produced by Brilliance Audio and wonderfully narrated by Christian Rummel. One thing I have neglected to mention in my previous reviews are Jack Campbell’s (John G. Hemry’s) delightful introductions to the book. These are short information-filled pieces in which he may answer a question from a reader which gives us insight into some aspect of his creation of the story. Often he compares his created world with his experience or knowledge of the modern American military. For example, in the introduction to Victorious, he mentions that readers have asked why his spaceships don’t have back-up power generators and then goes on to explain how and why they’re often not included in current designs for military equipment. I enjoyed these little nuggets of information. If you’re going to read THE LOST FLEET, I highly recommend the audio version.