Next up: “Dreadnaught”, “Invincible”, “Guardian”, “Steadfast”, and “Leviathan” by Jack Campbell
This is a continuation series of The Lost Fleet (reviewed here), so there will be spoilers for that one coming up. “Leviathan” may not be exactly the ending of the series, but Campbell does say he’s taking a bit of a break right now to figure out where next he wants to take the story.
While Geary returned triumphant at the end of The Lost Fleet, the Alliance government wasn’t exactly thrilled to have their hero back. “Black Jack” was a legend that could inspire the whole Alliance, and the government was worried that he would use his position to stage a coup, or that they would not be able to control him and use him as they wished. But they certainly could not kill him to remove the problem; instead, they send him out with a new fleet, to test the boundaries of human space, to seek out the unknown alien race that they’d discovered during the events of The Lost Fleet.
This series follows this new fleet and Geary leads them beyond the frontiers of human-occupied space. Since the Syndics had surrendered to him, they have been undergoing rapid governmental changes and civil unrest, the populace rising up against their corporate leaders. Since Geary has to travel through Syndic space to get to the ‘frontier’, he has to deal with some of this. He also ends up having to deal with strange new dangers once they push out beyond known space.
Beyond the Frontier builds on the interesting mystery of the aliens introduced in The Lost Fleet, and does some interesting stuff besides that, but I think I like the first series better. This is still good and I really want more of Geary’s story (especially because some interesting things are introduced in this series).
Poor Geary is just a simple military man with no political aspirations, but nobody seems to believe that. But really, if they keep pushing him, he might just end up becoming exactly what they don’t want. In any case, because of this plot thread, there is a fair amount of politic-y maneuvering and discussions in these books. I never got to the point where I thought it was boring, but people all have different levels of tolerance in that regard. I do think this series is worth a try, if you’re on the fence.
I’m never entirely certain that I like Tanya, at least in her personal interactions with Geary. She very much believes in him, in the slightly-creepy ‘you were sent by our version of religious higher power’ way. It’s weird sometimes. There’s also a fair amount of (understandable) tension between them because they’re married but they get sent out with the fleet as officers of differing rank. There’s a reason that’s not especially allowed (or at least very much frowned upon) in militaries.
As I mentioned above, this series isn’t exactly over, but Campbell is taking a break from Geary for now as he plans more of the story.