Book Review: The Lost Fleet: Relentless by Jack Campbell


We’re just going to jump right into what appears to be the biggest sticking point in this otherwise wonderful story by Mr. Campbell. Throughout the engagement and traveling at appreciable fractions of the speed of light, the author continually reminds the reader of how much relativity must be corrected for the faster a ship travels.

After all of the accumulated time travelling at those speeds, there should be significant age differences between the crew members on the fleet, versus the people left behind in the Alliance home systems. That’s the other effect of the same General Theory of Relativity that Mr. Campbell kept quoting to us.

But even with that, the story development and pace was well-described and smooth. It was an easy read and the romantic interest between Captain Geary and Captain Desjani was never blatant, but was hinted at very sparingly, and enough to let you know there was a spark.

The use of e-mail messages to cause a starship to explode did come across a little bit lame, but fortunately that is only a minor point that can be overlooked in the larger picture that is so well-defined by the author.

We’d rate this as a must read if you enjoy military Science Fiction and is one that we’ll be looking forward to the next installment of.


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The use of long-forgotten war tactics is a very natural use of Geary’s knowledge from ‘his days’ in the old Alliance fleet. And it was good to see that the author acknowledged that the Syndics would respond in some way to the “new” tactics being used by Geary’s fleet during battles.

The descriptions and movements of the ships in the battle sequences was well-planned and moved at a fast enough pace to hold the reader’s attention without going overboard.

The author built up the primary characters in the story well enough to give them their own personality.

The use of references to actions that have occurred in previous books in the series allow the reader to follow the action in this one without causing loss of attention due to a lack of background, basically allowing the novel to stand alone.


The use of an alien race, instigating and promoting the war between the Alliance and the Syndics is one thing. But where are the additional discoveries and reports from captured Syndics about them? It seems that more intelligence should have been discovered by now….

The sabotage of warships by sending messages to them to blow up seems a rather weak point in a good idea. It assumes that someone will open it to read and poof… warship crippled or destroyed. The author does try to make it sound plausible, but it just doesn’t ring true, even given the multiple attempts to persuade the reader that it could happen.

The author continually refers to the General Theory of Relativity in that time passes differently for those moving closer to the speed of light than those moving slower. With that in mind, the author does not, however, make any mention of the age difference from the Alliance world’s population, to the people aboard the Alliance fleet moving at those relativistic speeds, over protracted lengths of time. There should/would be a difference, according to the theory.