29th Apr2011

Book Review: The Lost Fleet – Valiant

by Jack Kirby

Valiant-CVR

John G Hemry, also known as Jack Campbell, continues his interstellar saga in this fourth instalment of The Lost Fleet series. Having reviewed the first of the books earlier in the year and having interviewed the author, I was more than happy to catch up with ‘Black Jack’ Geary and his fleet as it attempts to return home through hostile enemy territory.

Having missed the second and third books, I was expecting to have more trouble catching up than I did. It is to Hemry’s credit that I was able to get up to speed with new events in the plot (Geary’s been sleeping with Rione?! Captain Whatshisface is in prison?!) with relative ease throughout the course of the book. Of course, it could also be said that the action is a little samey – the fleet arrives in a new system, salvages what it can and usually encounters the enemy, engages it and wins, more or less – and thus not too much of a challenge to take on board.

The Lost Fleet: Valiant begins much like the first book – there’s been a battle that the Alliance have not come out of well, though instead of retreating, Geary is leading the fleet back to the scene of the combat. Through some excellent strategy, Geary is able to claim a massive victory and continue his quest. Other developments in the plot involve sabotage attempts by Geary’s detractors, an incident that causes the Alliance to consider its position on enemy civilians and further development on the alien conspiracy hinted at in the first book. The only downside plot-wise is the continuing argument and tension between the love triangle comprising of Geary, senator Rione and Captain Desjani, which is somewhat repetitive and mostly just boils down to people bickering, which becomes tiresome pretty quickly.

There’s quite a lot of politicking too and some of the movements of fleet formations get somewhat muddled but these are mere quibbles in what is a continuingly engrossing saga, which as it draws ever nearer to its conclusion, is only getting more and more interesting and exciting.

The Lost Fleet: Valiant is out now from Titan Books.

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