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The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight Hardcover – October 2, 2012
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“A rousing adventure with a page-turning plot, lots of space action, and the kind of hero Hornblower fans will love.”
—William C. Dietz, national bestselling author of A Fighting Chance
“Jack Campbell has written the most believable space battles I’ve ever seen anywhere.”
—David Sherman, coauthor of the Starfist series
“Jack Campbell’s dazzling new series is military science fiction at its best.”
—Catherine Asaro, Nebula Award–winning author of Carnelians
“A solid, thoughtful, and exciting novel loaded with edge-of-your-seat combat.”
—Elizabeth Moon, Nebula Award–winning author of the Vatta’s War series
- ASIN : 1937077829
- Publisher : Ace; 1st edition (October 2, 2012)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781937077822
- ISBN-13 : 978-1937077822
- Item Weight : 1.4 pounds
- Dimensions : 8.25 x 1.25 x 5.75 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #987,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Leaders of the Syndicate Worlds are called CEOs, ruthlessly destroy anyone they fear is a threat to their power, and live in constant fear of such threats. They are rich, but friendless, and can expect short lifespans. This is self-interest? This is efficient? The story frequently comments on the inefficiencies, waste, and incompetence produced by this system of oppressive government.
Leaders of the breakaway Midway star system work at creating political freedom, democratic procedures, and gaining the support of the people. They develop trusting and loyal friendships and subordinates. This is not self-interest? This is not a better life? This is self-sacrifice? The story actually shows that this is a better life and results in a more efficient and profitable society capable of protecting itself from the Syndicate threats.
Great story, but Campbell needs to read Ayn Rand’s exciting sci-fi novel, “Atlas Shrugged,” to resolve conflicting notions regarding free market societies, personal self-interest, power hunger, and such.
One of the strongest points of the book is the atmosphere of total paranoia that is a given in the Syndicate society. At every turn, for every move, even the simplest ones, the senior commander of ground forces and the senior commander of space forces wonder whether the other one, or any of their senior officers, or any of the partisans of the regime that they have just overthrown, is not starting to make a move against them to take them out. Even some of their own officers' behaviours are somewhat ambiguous; as they give the impression they may be playing both sides and/or also having their personal agendas.
The second strongpoint is the battles. Here again, the author has clearly wanted to introduce some variations, possibly to prevent some readers from getting bored with yet more naval battles, but also because the two ex-CEOs do not have much of a fleet to begin with. So there are a couple of space engagements, but there are also a couple of land engagements. In fact, my favourite battle scene happens to be right at the beginning of the book when General Drakon assaults the enemy headquarters at the heads of his storm troops and has to take control of it before its defenders trigger off weapons of mass destruction.
The other strongpoint of this novel is the horrific picture it draws of a society and of worlds dominated by a ruthless, cruel, totalitarian and somewhat inefficient dictatorship. The security services (the ISS) composed of "snakes" and their shock troops (the vipers) cannot but remind the reader of some kind of cross between the Gestapo and the SS, on one hand, and the KGB and its own shock troops, on the other hand.
There are, however, also some drawbacks. While having a story that differs from what was becoming the "usual" space battles in which the "goodies" almost always win, it is possible, but only just, to read this book without having read the whole of the previous Lost Fleet series (some 8 other books!). It is highly preferable to have read all of them first, or the last two (Dreadnaught and Invincible), at the very least. Needless to say, however good this book may be, it becomes somewhat of a problem when a lot of it only fully makes sense when you have read a number of others before it!
Another little issue is the romance that you see starting to develop in this volume. It is slightly different from what we saw in the Lost Fleet series, but, somehow, I found it even less credible, given the circumstances, although I will stop here to avoid spoilers.
A good book, but not Jack Campbell's best. If Amazon did quarters, I would probably rate this one 3.75 stars. Since this is not possible, this one is just scrapes into the four star bucket for me.
This book is the first in a new spin-off series (The Lost Stars) from Jack Campbell’s The Lost Fleet series. I quite enjoyed The Lost Fleet series and, so far, it looks like I will enjoy this series as well.
I have to admit that I was a bit hesitant at first given that this series, to some extent, deals with a view from the side of the bad guys in the previous books. I usually never find that kind of story as amusing to read since I am always somewhat biased by the fact that the previous books, if they were any good, have instilled a certain animosity towards these guys in me.
One issue I had with The Lost Fleet series was the politics and bickering by useless commanders who thought the military was some kind of democracy and even their own political playground. This was another thing that I was afraid might be the case with this book since the two main characters obviously was not exactly going to be best buddies from the start.
Luckily none of my fears came true, at least not true enough to be a problem. I found the book quite enjoyable. Maybe not as enjoyable as the best of the Lost Fleet books but nonetheless, quite enjoyable.
It becomes quite clear from the start that the two main characters, Drakon and Iceni, are not Syndicate goons and wants nothing more to do with the Syndicate government. There are quite a bit of politics, mistrust and some behind the back scheming in the book but it is well managed in the plot and, unlike the plonkers in some of the Lost Fleet books, these two people are skilled professionals who are victims of a corrupt and totalitarian system.
Both of them struggle to trust other people, something which could not be done during the Syndicate rule, at the same time as they are trying to hold together and defend the star system that they have wrestled out of the syndicate hands.
There is of course a reasonable amount of action both on the ground and in space. As usual the author creates believable physics and, consequently, believable battles between space ships.
It’s definitely a good start. I’m looking forward to read the continuation of this and I hope the author manages to keep a balance between the politics and the real action. With this opening salvo it can go either way and personally, I would vote for the action and not so much for the politics as usual.
Top reviews from other countries
This is a book that you might be able to get into if you haven't read that, as there is some exposition, but you would probably be much better off having read that series first. If you haven't, start with The Lost Fleet: Dauntless (Book 1) (Lost Fleet 1) .
If you have, read on.
This volume runs for four hundred and forty seven pages, and is divided into eighteen chapters.
It details events in the Midway star system. A place that was seen and mentioned in the Lost Fleet novels. Where, as the Syndic system of worlds and government starts to crumble, people start to rebel.
The two leaders of the rebellion are Artur Drakon and Gwen Iceni. They are both viewpoint characters in the book, and the narrative does flash back and forth between them. Since Drakon spends most of his time planetside and Iceni spends most of her time in space, this is a pretty effective approach.
The syndic system has been enforced by the ruthless ISS security service. As the would be rebels make their play for freedom, they have these vicious, fanatical and highly skilled warriors to contend with. Even once they win through, that's just the start of the battle. The syndic won't let them go without a fight. How do they bring freedom and democracy to a place that has never known it? Can all the rebels trust each other? And those enigmatic aliens are still out there somewhere...
Written very much in the same style as the Lost Fleet books, this has characters going through a lot of moral introspection and space battles that conform to the law of physics. We join the story just as the rebellion is about to start, and it does take about fifty pages to get going. But once it does, it's a good read. Although the style is the same as the other books, having new characters makes for a fresh approach. It does make the reader think about the moral dilemmas they encounter. And you do get interesting scenes of Black Jack from the lost fleet being viewed and thought about by these characters. And how his influence has rubbed off on them.
There are some decent space battles that manage to grip, and it all ends on a very big cliffhanger indeed.
Well worth it if you're a fan of the Lost Fleet.
Several of the characters from the original series have cameo roles in Lost Stars - Tarnished Knight but mainly whole new set of characters and very different aspects on life in the Syndicate Worlds. Campbell writes as well as any author I have read and retains a grip on the reader that is a true delight. I never want to put the book down until the end and then I want the next book NOW!
I see at least a couple more in this series (at least) and also some more Lost Fleet in the offing.. Fantastic!!