Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell


Mad Mountain Man
Jun 29, 2010
Scottish Highlands
Though set in the same universe as his successful Lost Fleet series, Campbell has here produced something very different; where Lost Fleet was dominated by big fleet battles, the battles in Tarnished Knight are on a much smaller scale and the ground battles are every bit as important as the space battles. Following the Alliance success in the century long war with the corporate run Syndicate Worlds, the more remote star systems are starting to fight for their independence and the Syndicate Worlds, fighting their own internal political turmoil and with most of their fleet destroyed, are struggling to enforce their despotic will over them. Stalling in the face of a summons to face the central government – a summons almost certain to finish with their deaths – two CEOs join forces in an alliance of mutual suspicion to take over the star system of Midway.

The Syndicate Worlds’ culture is one of suspicion and avaricious ambition. There are really one two rules: never do anything to benefit anyone but yourself and never trust anyone but yourself. Drakon has control of Midway’s ground forces and Iceni the space forces; between them they are determined to create a better world but to do this they must learn to trust each other and, even harder maybe, trust the populace they seek to rule. Something neither has ever before dared; how can they nurture that trust without losing everything they are fighting for? Campbell explores this dilemma as all parties struggle to achieve a successful independence, creating an interesting backdrop for an action filled, fast paced story.

Campbell presents the reader with an intriguing mix of political and character development that builds into a satisfying first step towards a new better system of government in this remote outpost, with plenty of intrigue and solid action. Woven in throughout are tantalising suggestions of threads certain to be developed in the sequels. A solid start to this spin off from the Lost Worlds universe.

4/5 stars