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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell (#1)

Tarnished Knight (The Lost Stars, #1)Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb:  The authority of the Syndicate Worlds’ government is crumbling. Civil war and rebellion are breaking out in many star systems despite the Syndic government’s brutal attempts to suppress disorder. Midway is one of those star systems, and leaders there must decide whether to remain loyal to the old order or fight for something new.

CEO Artur Drakon has been betrayed. The Syndic government failed to protect its citizens from both the Alliance and the alien enigmas. With a cadre of loyal soldiers under his command, Drakon launches a battle for control of the Midway Star System—assisted by an ally he’s unsure he can trust…

CEO Gwen Iceni was exiled to Midway because she wasn’t ruthless enough in the eyes of her superiors. She’s made them regret their assessment by commandeering some of the warships at Midway and attacking the remaining ships still loyal to the Syndicate empire. Iceni declares independence for the Midway Star System on behalf of the people while staying in charge as “President.” But while she controls the mobile fleet, she has no choice but to rely on “General” Drakon’s ground forces to keep the peace planet-side…

If their coup is to succeed, Drakon and Iceni must put their differences aside to prevent the population of Midway from rising up in rebellion against them, to defend Midway against the alien threat of the enigma race—and to ferret out saboteurs determined to reestablish Syndic rule…

A decent spin-off from The Lost Fleet Series, picking up where "Black Jack" Geary comes through defeated Syndicate territory on his way to meet the alien race.  There is some assumption here that the reader has read the Lost Fleet Series. 

CEO Gwen Iceni and CEO Artur Drakon have successfully staged an overthrow of the remnant Syndicate hold in the Midway Star System, placing now President Iceni and General Drakon in charge of ground and mobile forces.  It's an uneasy truce between the two as they try to solidify their power base and preempt future Syndic attacks. 

What I wasn't expecting, in part how the previous series were written and in part due to the cover, is that this series really isn't about General Drakon.  It's about President Iceni.  Quite frankly, I'm so-so about her as the predominant character. I found General Drakon to be much more interesting.  I'm also not real thrilled about another "love triangle"/romance starting.  That trope is starting to feel a bit canned in these books.

My main complaint with the series was the over use of the terms "snakes" and "vipers" to describe the Syndic power structure being dismantled.  For example:

"Did you get the snakes in the main control room?"
"Yes, sir, we managed to kill all the snakes."

"Good, we don't want any snakes reporting back to the vipers about our activities."

"No sir, we didn't leave any snakes alive, and we'll interrogate any workers we found to make sure they aren't covert snakes."


But my quirks aside, this series has the potential to be just as interesting as Lost Fleet and perhaps a bit more interesting than Beyond the Frontier, if only because we have some new characters to follow. 

Recommended if you've read Lost Fleet series - you'll need the background information. 

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