Leviathan by Jack Campbell

Vertigo

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Leviathan is the fifth and, I believe, the last in The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier series though Campbell has certainly left himself plenty of scope to return and continue with another chapter in the life of Black Jack Geary separate from the spin off Lost Stars series. Throughout the two Lost Fleet series I have been impressed by Campbell’s ability to take stories centred on big fleet actions and present them in a way that somehow manages to create the suspense and drama of small scale individual actions. Battles that should feel slow, distant and remote instead feel fast, immediate and intense and yet utterly convincing and believable. That’s not an easy thing to accomplish and this last book – Leviathan – excels in this regard. A real page turner.

Leviathan also explores the dangers of putting too much military power in the hands of AIs, in this case each ship in the enemy fleet is fully automated and controlled by AIs with no human oversight. A mistake described by the Alliance’s alien ‘Dancer’ allies as ‘an old one.’ How do you fight an enemy that never makes the same mistake twice and mimics your own tactics? That’s the dilemma faced by JACK Geary in Leviathan and his solutions are clever but just not quite enough. In the end the final solution is a bit of a deus ex machina but that only serves to emphasise just how hard it would be to contain and defeat such an enemy.

A good end to the series and I look forward to reading the Lost Stars spin off next. And maybe some future instalments in this thread; after all there is quite possibly still much unfinished business with some of the aliens encountered earlier.

5/5 stars
 

J-Sun

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I've just realised that I was waiting for a follow-up - but now I think back to it, it clearly had an ending.
Me, too - I'll grant that it ended one of the threads but it never occurred to me it might be the end. For one thing, we can't be anywhere near done with all the aliens (as you say, Vertigo). And I had just been assuming (while being aware that it was just an assumption) that it'd be another set of six. According to his site, "Leviathan marks not an end, but a pause point." Alas, he didn't have the second set all planned out and now he's coming down with a case of prequelitis. Despite how much I've enjoyed it, I still feel there are already too many books in the multi-series and I'm only interested in going forward and wrapping it up soon. Then I'd be happy to see him try something else (science fictional, I mean - not so much the self-published (I think) fantasies).

As far as the Lost Stars (which I'm actually sort of enjoying more at this point) he's being coy and sounding unplanned there, as well: "Shattered Spear marks both an end and a beginning." (I haven't read that one yet, as I wait on the paperbacks.)
 

Vertigo

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That's interesting @J-Sun, I've not been to his site so hadn't seen that "not an end, but a pause" comment. I agree with you that there is a danger of doing the whole Black Jack Geary idea to death though. My personal preference, if he takes it further, would be to step away from Geary and Desjani and move the POV over to an individual ship captain or other officer. Give it a totally different feel. Maybe keep it a bridge officer so we would still see the fleet overview but with a different emphasis.
 

J-Sun

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My personal preference, if he takes it further, would be to step away from Geary and Desjani and move the POV over to an individual ship captain or other officer. Give it a totally different feel. Maybe keep it a bridge officer so we would still see the fleet overview but with a different emphasis
That's kind of what the Lost Stars does, only in an even more extreme way (no spoilers). It's still in-universe and there are still momentary Geary crossovers but it's a very different viewpoint, being set in ex-Syndic space and largely being ground-based. But it still has plenty of superb space action and I like Kommodor Marphissa who commands Midway's "flotilla." In a way, (speaking of Campbell's odd plan of prequels) if somebody did want a prequel these would kind of already satisfy that, without actually being prequels. It is smaller scale and has people learning things rather than being experienced vets (at least at doing the things they're called upon to do in these books), so it almost has a prequel vibe in that way. It even has a kind of retro feel in that we learn about the Syndic view of their history, recapping what we've learned of the Alliance view. But it doesn't address early Alliance/Syndic history in the full, direct way the prequels will, I'm sure.
 

Vertigo

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That's kind of what the Lost Stars does, only in an even more extreme way (no spoilers). It's still in-universe and there are still momentary Geary crossovers but it's a very different viewpoint, being set in ex-Syndic space and largely being ground-based. But it still has plenty of superb space action and I like Kommodor Marphissa who commands Midway's "flotilla." In a way, (speaking of Campbell's odd plan of prequels) if somebody did want a prequel these would kind of already satisfy that, without actually being prequels. It is smaller scale and has people learning things rather than being experienced vets (at least at doing the things they're called upon to do in these books), so it almost has a prequel vibe in that way. It even has a kind of retro feel in that we learn about the Syndic view of their history, recapping what we've learned of the Alliance view. But it doesn't address early Alliance/Syndic history in the full, direct way the prequels will, I'm sure.
Yes that's more or less what I'm expecting with the Lost Stars books and, indeed, that's really why I'm looking forward to them. My point was that if he continues the Geary series with more fleet action stuff then I'm afraid it's going to get very tired.
 
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