The novel “The Lost Fleet: Fearless” by Jack Campbell was published for the first time in 2007. It’s the second in The Lost Fleet series and follows “The Lost Fleet: Dauntless“.
Captain John Geary is looking for the right course to bring home the Alliance fleet he found himself commanding due to a number of circumstances. A pause in a seemingly unimportant system leads to a battle against small enemy forces and above all leads to the discovery of a prison camp.
The rescue of the prisoners of war is a success but creates an unexpected problem with the discovery that the ex-prisoner of the highest rank is the legendary Captain Francesco Falco, aka Fighting Falco. Convinced that he has the seniority necessary to take command of the fleet, when he realizes that he can’t compete with John Geary, Falco tries to influence him by proposing a much more aggressive strategy. Can the fleet work with two legends who have extremely different ideas about how to run it?
“The Lost Fleet: Fearless” continues the military science fiction series that began in “The Lost Fleet: Dauntless” with what remains of an Alliance fleet that, after a severe defeat, tries to return home. Captain John “Black Jack” Geary, found after a century spent in stasis, must live up to the legend that was created in that long time and teach a bit of strategy to officers sent to war without adequate preparation.
In the first book of The Lost Fleet series, the adventurous side was definitely the most important. There was very little room to talk about the two warring coalitions and character development was also limited. I must say that “The Lost Fleet: Fearless” builds on the foundations of the first novel by offering at least some depth.
The release of many prisoners of war and above all of Captain Falco is used by Jack Campbell to develop the ethical and moral element linked to the war. A clash between two legends begins because John Geary fought in a period in which officers learned strategy and tactics but also honor while Francesco Falco learned to fight based only on aggression and moreover, before being captured, he tried to undermine the power of duly elected political authorities. Mind it, “The Lost Fleet: Fearless” doesn’t offer deep reflections and Falco is a totally one-dimensional character, but certainly the novel goes a bit beyond the simple space adventure.
The war between the Alliance and the Syndic remains at the center of the plot but John Geary wonders about the hypernet. Some oddities add to the ones noted on a planet visited in the first book. It seems that only John Geary can have thoughts that are not obvious.
There are also flaws in “The Lost Fleet: Fearless”. After reading the first book you can’t expect a lot of character development and there aren’t many improvements from that point of view. Captain Falco and his contrast with Geary is simply functional to some plot development but offers nothing as far as the two characters are concerned. The relationship between John Geary and Co-President Rione is simply weird.
Ultimately, in “The Lost Fleet: Fearless” there’s more to it than the adventurous side but the battles against the Syndic forces remain the main part of the story. In this book, the positive thing is that John Geary tries to take the initiative with rationality. There’s some improvement over the first book but the impression remains that this is a saga military science fiction fans can like, bearing in mind that this book has an open ending like the first one, being one part of a bigger story.