Captain John "Black Jack" Geary received his field promotion after everyone thought he'd died in battle. Instead, he'd been in suspended animation for a hundred years when he was found and revived. During that century of warfare that passed, the Alliance struggled against the Syndic, falling prey to the same kind of methodology employed against them by their enemy. Promoted to Fleet Commander after a Syndic betrayal, Geary wants to save as many of his people as he can. Boldly, he begins a campaign that will strand them light-years from home, with the only way back through enemy-held territory. If the Alliance had been the same Alliance he had died for, the chances would be slim. But now the Alliance is a shadow of its former self, no longer a competent force, broken down into segments of selfish officers who won't take orders.
Jack Campbell is the pseudonym for an accomplished SF author. THE LOST FLEET: DAUNTLESS is the first book in a new series.
The authors handling of the military is pitch-perfect. He knows the rules and regs, and he conveys the feeling of battle and being under fire really well. More than the sheer action, move and counter-move, though, he also understand the politics of running a large force and dealing with the enemy in an honorable fashion. The "science" that he's set up to deal with his universe is intact and he adheres to it. Not only do readers learn that the rules of engagement do allow mercy to an enemy, but also that anything over .1 light-speed leaves every other starcraft blurred and in uncertain positions. The military and scientific applications of the story, dealing with honor and command as well as real physics regarding how fast light travels, come across as real. For a science fiction author, it doesn't get any better than that.
Geary's character is a little thin, as is the whole background of the Alliance and the Syndic. Hopefully future installments will illuminate a little more of what Geary gave up, where he came from, and what the societies are like -- other than just opponents.
Readers who enjoyed Robert Heinlein's STARSHIP TROOPERS, Joe Haldeman's FOREVER WAR, John Ringo's Posleen novels and John Scalzi's OLD MAN'S WAR will enjoy THE LOST FLEET: DAUNTLESS.