When Admiral Geary brought the Alliance’s starships home from the heart of their enemies star systems, at the end of Jack Campbell(1)’s “Lost Fleet” series, that should have meant the chance for him to get some long-delayed rest. There were obstacles to that. One was that there was no home for him to go back to, as he was a man one century out of time. The other obstacle was his having accomplished the impossible by reminding the Alliance of what it had forgotten – not just military strategy, but honor and qualities of mercy that eventually were taken up by the rest of the Fleet(2) and led to the Syndic Stars ultimately surrendering. Geary did such a good job that the Alliance’s leaders feared that he would want their job, a notion favored by some among the military, much to his displeasure.
In “Dreadnaught”, first book in the “Beyond the Frontier” series, Geary is sent out again, with the Fleet ill-prepared, their mission to establish contact with the secretive aliens who had instigated the long war between the Alliance and the Syndic. Things emphatically did not work out as Geary had hoped. The Fleet barely escaped, and the only way out took them further away from the human stars, to a region of space occupied by even more hostile aliens.
In new novel “Invincible”, those new aliens show that *they* have no intention to let the Fleet go away, in spite of Geary’s assurances of peace, and there’s no solution but to fight their way back home in a way that makes it very clear that Humanity is not to be trifled with. One of the aliens’s gigantic ships is captured, but is crew commits suicide rather than falling under the claws of what they see as predators. That still isn’t enough to convince the remaining pursuers to give up and, much to Geary’s shock, the Fleet runs into *another* alien species, one even stranger(3) than anything encountered before.
(1) Nom de plume for John G Hemry.
(2) And by Rione, a politician who’d been part of the Fleet’s original diplomatic mission, and who was stranded along when things went wrong. In fact, Geary was such a ‘bad’ influence on her that, when they made it back to the Alliance, she lost her re-election because she told the truth. ‘That woman’ as Geary’s wife, Captain Desjani calls her, remains my favorite character along with Geary.
”Contrary to popular belief, there are methods that I will not countenance.”
He couldn’t help smiling at her. “And, contrary to popular belief, you do have a heart.”
“That is a lie, Admiral. I would thank you not to spread it though I doubt anyone would believe you if you tried.”
(3) And, a crewmember observes, uglier than a Marine.