Audiobook Review: Dreadnaught: The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier

5 05 2011

Dreadnaught: The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier by Jack Campbell

Read by Christian Rummel

Audible Frontiers

Genre: Science Fiction

Quick Thoughts: While not the best book of the Lost Fleet series, still a fun novel full of political maneuverings and spacefaring action.

Grade: B+

There is something just plain comfortable about returning to a favorite, multi-book series. It’s like visiting your childhood home. You know the best hiding places, which steps creak and just how to jiggle the shower nozzle to get the best flow. Sure, there may be some new accouterments, furniture, pictures on the wall, but, the structure is there solid and sure and full of memories. That’s how I felt diving into Dreadnaught, the latest Lost Fleet novel, and the start of a new series of Adventures for “Black Jack” Geary and his crew beyond the frontier. The series is full of characters you have grown to love, acting how you would expect. The Politics, both interpersonal, and intergalactic are consistent. Secrets are being kept, and conspiracies are being hatched, and the lines of who you can trust are still a bit blurry. Yet, despite the comfort of the return, there are new issues as well. A Destabilized Syndic Government, a Post War Alliance footing, and the Enigma race, a race of non-human sentiments, that are pretty much unknown to humans, yet have been meddling in their affairs. Yep, the Lost Fleet may have come home, but adventure is afoot.

Dreadnaught: The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier, besides being a hell of a title, is Jack Campbell’s (John G. Hemry) latest space epic in the Lost Fleet series. It is not the best entry in the series, yet, it would have been hard to pull that off for the author. Dreadnaught is the start of a new series of Lost Fleet novels, and Campbell spends a lot of time cleaning up the loose ends of the last series and setting up the premise for the new one. Those readers who are hoping for nonstop spacefaring action will be disappointed. The first half of the book is full of the political maneuverings and intrigue of the new Alliance government, as it moves from a Wartime Power to Peace time. For someone like me, who loved the political aspects of the series, then this novel is a blast. One of the things I like about Hembry’s work is it’s a different perspective on science fiction. His JAG in Space series is one of my favorite science fiction series, combining two of my favorite genres science fiction and legal thrillers. The Lost Fleet is brilliant because it brings so many aspects into the mix, political, the physics of space flight and battle, drastic social change and it’s affect on tradition based institutions, and good old fashion space action, into an accessible and exciting series of novels. Dreadnaught may not be the best of the series, but it’s a good example of the quality of the series, and leaves the reader wanting a whole lot more.

There are a few issues I had with the audiobook version. At points, there seemed to be sudden jumps in the story, which made you feel like you were missing something. With the written versions page breaks are used to show you are moving from subject matter, to subject matter. In the audiobook, these page breaks are run together, which can cause a feeling of disorientation for the listener. Christian Rummel, the narrator does his usually excellent job. He handles the multitude of characters splendidly. If I had any criticism of his performance, it would be that it was hard to differentiate between Geary’s external and internal dialogue, until the qualifier “he thought to himself” or “he said” was said, causing the listener to have to reevaluate what they just heard. Yet these concerns where pretty minor distractions to the overall excellent production. Hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot more of “Black Jack” Geary and his crew, and having his story told to us by the excellent Christian Rummel.

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