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Tarnished Knight is a real step forward for Campbell [Hemry] in my opinion. More than in any other of his books in the Alliance/Syndic universe, we the reader actually get some genuine depth to the main cast of characters. When there is introspection it is worth while in the majority of cases. Whilst the earlier novels made for good military Sci-fi they at times they came across like a commentary.
This might a controversial statement to fans of the series, however after reading this i think i like Gwen Iceni's character over Geary or Desjani and Rione's nowhere by comparison. I hope that Iceni continues to receive dur prominence and is treated well by the author.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I remember when the author first announced his signing a deal for two spinoff series to follow The Lost Fleet about three years ago. Since then, Lost Fleet has come to a close and Beyond the Frontier has been through two volumes, and what was originally referred to as The Phoenix Stars has just seen the light of day.
As the first reviewer notes, this book adds little to the Lost Fleet narrative, but succeeds quite well at expanding the universe through which the Alliance Fleet has rampaged since Dauntless's publication half a decade ago. The Lost Fleet was the author's third series, and the fact that its characters and geography have made it into further stories beyond the Alliance Fleet's escape from Syndic space is a wonderful thing, even if at first blush that is only to add greater depth to the snapshots of life in one system through which the Alliance fleet has passed through in the last three Lost Fleet novels.
Though it is technically the beginning of a new series, Tarnished Knight leans heavily upon the original Lost Fleet series and its continuation, Beyond the Frontier. The events in the Midway star system occur after those depicted in Dreadnaught.
This entry features more space battles and ground combat from the Syndic perspective, as the Midway system battles various internal and external threats. But where the Lost Fleet series proper often turns on fleet politics and combat logistics, Lost Stars deals with the aftermath of revolution and the tenuous balance maintained by two strong leaders with complementary power bases, who both need one another and have the means to bring about the other's undoing. The problem is that we already have the outlines of this story by virtue of the glimpses we've received through Dreadnaught and Invincible, thought it can be interesting to see just how things came to change between visits. Meanwhile, the author dangles the prospect of further developments in Alliance space in the next Beyond the Frontier entry, titled Guardian and due next year as usual.
The perspective of this story is a bit different given that there are two point of view characters. The author maintains a style similar to Lost Fleet though, with great tactical details, scheming, and occasional humorous interludes.
Mark Vietor is terrific as always. For those who have come to associate the voice of Christian Rummel with this universe though, be prepared for slightly varied pronunciation of some character and place names. My wish that Rummel would have been tapped for this series is the only reason for four stars as far as the performance goes.
I can't imagine why one would read this without having read the eight Lost Fleet and Beyond the Frontier books first. If you have though, I think you'll find enough of what made those stories winners to satisfy with this new slant to the universe. Little gems about the Syndic way of doing things like the one referenced in the title are almost worth the price of admission alone.
36 of 40 people found this review helpful
What a great spinoff concept. Prior to this book the Syndicate, controlled by nefarious CEO's, were nothing more than relative stick figures. In this case we get to delve deeper into Syndicate society in the post-Geary age. The main characters were tangentially introduced in the main series, but now we have a chance to see the desperate fight of the leadership of Midway to separate themselves from the central control of the Syndicate.
This is much more of a political novel than the Lost Fleet books. Yes, there is space combat as well as ground combat, but a lot of the book is devoted to the truly twisted political realm of the CEO's, where you cannot trust anyone. Even though they must work together to wring a small hole of safety for both themselves and the people of Midway, the sheer level of scheming is intense (where every move is never taken at face value and no one is what they seem to be). But the two leaders, Drakon and Iceni, seem to see the value of cooperation and realize that the system that they were born into needs to be changed (but realizing that it cannot be done overnight).
A very solid book and I very much look forward to the next (with a cliffhanger like Jack dropped at the end of the book, it is a given that there needs to be another book).
6 of 6 people found this review helpful