Victorious by Jack Campbell (Lost Fleet 6)

I have been following the Lost Fleet since about 2006. Lost fleet is coming to an end with Victorious but a new series with Admiral Black Jack Geary is under contract Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier. Jack Campbell also has a contract for another series in the same universe called Phoenix Stars. Back to Victorious, here are my thoughts.

Title: Victorious
Series: The Lost Fleet 6
Author: Jack Campbell (John G. Hemry)
Cover Art: Peter Bollinger
Genre: Military Science Fiction | Space Opera
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: ACE April 2010
Order: ACE | Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

As war continues to rage between the Alliance and Syndicate Worlds, Captain “Black Jack” Geary is promoted to admiral-even though the ruling council fears he may stage a military coup. His new rank gives him the authority to negotiate with the Syndics, who have suffered tremendous losses and may finally be willing to end the war. But an even greater alien threat lurks on the far side of the Syndic occupied space.


The book is dedicated to Paul Parsons and S.

As usual the book starts with a six pages long list of the ships in the fleet. It also says where ships have been lost in battle.

The protagonist of this series is Captain John “Black Jack” Geary.

The Alliance has been fighting the Syndics for a century – and losing badly. Now its fleet that was crippled and stranded in enemy territory back home again. They were saved by a man who’s emerged from a century-long hibernation to find he had been heroically idealized beyond belief . Captain John ‘Black Jack’ Geary’s legendary exploits are known to every schoolchild. Appalled by the hero-worship around him, Geary is nevertheless a man who will do his duty. And he knows that bringing the stolen Syndic hypernet key safely home is the Alliance’s one chance to win the war. But to do that, Geary will have to live up to the impossibly heroic ‘Black Jack’ legend.

The Author

John G. Hemry (LCDR, USN ret.) is an American author of military science fiction novels. Drawing on his experience as a retired United States Navy officer, he has written the Stark’s War and Paul Sinclair series. Under the name Jack Campbell, he has written six volumes of the Lost Fleet series. He has also written over a dozen short stories, many published in Analog magazine, and a number of non-fiction works. The only thing I read by John is the Lost Fleet series, but that is going to change.

World building

The world building is good enough for the story. We learn the bigger world as seen by John Geary, back from a century long hibernation. Much have changed and not for the better. Knowledge and finesse have been lost. The world is much cruder but also more built on the brutal necessities of a century long war.

The tension between the civilian leadership and the military is obvious when John Geary returns to the Alliance. The changes for the worse, the degradation of civil rights and freedom have gone far. John doesn’t solve the problems but he shows them there is another way with his ironclad integrity. It is a bit stereotypical but not more than one would expect.

The same is true for the Syndics but they didn’t have that much cohesion to begin with so there the results are worse. The Syndic Empire starts to crumble under their failed leadership. But the Alliance don’t want the Syndic to go under, they need every human they can get to fight the aliens responsible for this war.


John first has to deal with the political leadership of the Alliance to get the clout to negotiate a peace with the Syndic hopefully saving them from themselves at the same time. But they won’t give up without a fight.

Then there are those aliens to deal with.


Captain John Geary have to deal with the love of his second life. She is untouchable as his flag captain, the way he deals with that is enjoyable and emotionally satisfying. He continues to be human and to doubt himself while doing his duty. That gives him a more real feeling and it is also a good contrast to the Legend of Black Jack.

The characterization is what makes Lost Fleet great, there is both strength and weaknesses in the characters that makes them come alive.

My View

Victorious is a satisfying conclusion to The Lost Fleet, a fast paced Long March kind of military science fiction series about a man having to live up to the impossible historical legend of himself. It is not Great Literature but it is a fun read. I am lucky the author got a contract for two new series in the same universe, I am sure to get those too. If you like military space opera like Honor Harrington you should take a look at Lost Fleet.

The New Series

Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier is a new series that follows Black Jack and his companions after the events in Victorious. It will deal with the mysterious aliens.

The Phoenix Stars is a new series set in formerly Syndic star system as the people there cope with the ongoing collapse of the Syndic Worlds