Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review: Dauntless by Jack Campbell

Dauntless by Jack Campbell
Ace Books, Reissue Edition June 2006
Genre: Science Fiction

Official Description:

The Alliance has been fighting the Syndics for a century, and losing badly. Now its fleet is crippled and stranded in enemy territory. Their only hope is a man who has emerged from a century-long hibernation to find he has been heroically idealized beyond belief.

Captain John "Black Jack" Geary's legendary exploits are known to every schoolchild. Revered for his heroic "last stand" in the early days of the war, he was presumed dead. But a century later, Geary miraculously returns from survival hibernation and reluctantly takes command of the Alliance fleet as it faces annihilation by the Syndics.

Appalled by the hero-worship around him, Geary is nevertheless a man who will do his duty. And he knows that bringing the stolen Syndic hypernet key safely home is the Alliance's one chance to win the war. But to do that, Geary will have to live up to the impossibly heroic "Black Jack" legend.

My Thoughts:
The premise of this science fiction tale is one that I found very intriguing and even better, it was skillfully executed. Campbell throws you straight in the action because the protagonist, John Geary, is thrown straight into the action. Since Geary wakes up from stasis in the middle of the war, Campbell is able to introduce the current situation to the reader by way of briefing Geary. Some of the chain of events that lead to Geary taking command of the fleet are a tad unbelievable but if you suspend belief the story takes us into a very believable retreat behind enemy lines.

Dauntless has a couple of the characteristics that tend to endear science fiction novels to me: the battles are described with as few technical terms as the author can get away with and don't dominate the novel, and the focus is on the social and political interactions within the crew and the fleet.

I found this to be an excellent and enjoyable read. It certainly did the job of enticing me to read the next book and I'd gladly recommend it to fellow science fiction fans.

Written as Part of the Speculative Fiction Challenge

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