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Dauntless (2006)

by Jack Campbell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Admiral John Geary (1), The Lost Fleet (1)

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1,678637,638 (3.77)53
The Alliance has been fighting the Syndic for a century-and losing badly. Now its fleet is crippled and stranded in enemy territory. Their only hope is Captain John "Black Jack" Geary-a man who's emerged from a century-long hibernation to find he has been heroically idealized beyond belief. Now, he must live up to his own legend.… (more)
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» See also 53 mentions

English (61)  French (1)  All languages (62)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
Not great ( )
  frfeni | Jan 31, 2021 |
This is one of those page turner books. The main character, Jack Geary, finds himself recently thawed in a major space fleet. As he was frozen in an escape pod, 100 years earlier, a war between the Alliance ("good") and The Syndics ("bad") had just erupted. Now 100 years later it is still going on, and an Alliance fleet has found his escape pod as they are about to do a sneak attack at the bad guys.

From there on, not everything goes as planned. Instead of in a sick bay, Geary has to actually do some work and he finds the Alliance changed since he last was awake. ( )
  bratell | Dec 25, 2020 |
Fantastic idea, worked out pretty well. (This review is for the whole series; it does not make that much sense to discuss them independently since it is one big long story, and the book divisions are more or less arbitrary.)

Geary has been in survival sleep since his ship was destroyed in a first battle of a war that turns out to have lasted for a hundred years. Thanks to seniority accruing while he is in survival sleep for a century, he is far and away the most senior captain in the fleet, and therefore command devolves on him after the Alliance's greatest military disaster ever left it shorn of admirals.

In the mean time, while everyone thought he was conveniently dead, the politicians made unscrupulous use of his heroic status, blowing it far beyond what he ever did. His name has been used to endorse all kinds of strategies and policies that he would never have endorsed while living, and also has become so proverbial that all subsequent leaders are now measured to his legacy.

And now, never having commanded a fleet before, and faced with an enemy fleet which is overwhelmingly superior, he has to somehow beat a retreat (even though thanks to shameless exploitation of his legacy, his name is synonymous with never retreating) and save the fleet from the enemy--and from itself.

It's a pretty absorbing story, even though it was long. In this series, I never felt like the author was drawing it out excessively far (though I have definitely felt that in other multi-volume series--like the end of the Honor Harrington series, if it ever does end).

In addition to attention-grabbing plot action, the author also raises a number of moral issues which ten years ago I would never have thought about. I was surprised, though, when I read the novels recently, how close some of these issues are to hot issues in American politics (not family/gender issues, by the way; other moral issues). Frankly, it was refreshing to hear about those issues in the context of a society far removed from ours, where it is easier to think coolly. It was also interesting to realize that he wrote about these issues a few years before they exploded on the national scene.

There were a few points in the story where I felt it was unrealistic (for example, would you really lose all knowledge of tactics if you'd been fighting a war for a hundred years?), but this did not detract much from the book.

As others have pointed out, this also has a very interesting take on space battles. The science seemed more realistic to me than a lot of other recent military sci-fi. (Ok, travelling between stars isn't realistic with what we know, but you gotta give an author that 'cause staying in one system is boring. But all the in-system action seemed like something the laws of physics as we know them wouldn't prohibit.) The tactics seem decently thought out given the limitations of physics (at least as far as I can tell--what do I know? but at least it wasn't obviously stupid to someone with a science degree). Again, this was a refreshing change. ( )
  garyrholt | Nov 5, 2020 |
A fresh take on military science fiction that not only contains great characterization, plot, and thrill, but also addresses how space naval warfare would actually occur given the physics of our universe. Fleets of ships battle against one another against the firepower of their adversaries as well as the light time-delay of the location information of them, showing the true complexity of a naval officer aboard one of these vessels.

Where the book doesn't hold through is in the plot specific moments of obvious placeholder "what if" and "why" scenarios, in which one-dimensional flat, and exist solely to allow the main character to elucidate future space naval warfare strategy.

That being said, if you're looking for an awesome space science fiction space naval warfare thriller, look no further. I got my hands on the book last week, stayed up well past my bedtime that night reading it, unable to put it down until I finished it last night. Fun read for anyone that likes to think about "what would it be like" sort of thing. ( )
  lostmonster | May 19, 2020 |
Pretty easy read; but not real deep
  JohnLavik | Mar 29, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack Campbellprimary authorall editionscalculated
del Rosario, KristinDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fiore, AnnetteCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcos, Roberto GeladoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reichert, FrankTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rummel, ChristianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sander, RalphÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szmidt, Robert J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turner, PatrickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Dedication
To Christine and Larry Maguire, Good people and good friends who've made our lives richer by their being here.
For S., as always.
First words
The cold air blowing in through the vents still carried a faint tang of overheated metal and burned equipment.
Quotations
. . . "Democracies and republics cannot live with indispensable men . . ."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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The Alliance has been fighting the Syndic for a century-and losing badly. Now its fleet is crippled and stranded in enemy territory. Their only hope is Captain John "Black Jack" Geary-a man who's emerged from a century-long hibernation to find he has been heroically idealized beyond belief. Now, he must live up to his own legend.

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