Review copy was received from NetGalley, Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Implacable by Jack Campbell
Narrator: Christian Rummel
Series: Outlands #3
Published by Ace, Recorded Books on July 4, 2023
Genres: Space Opera
Length: 11 hours, 45 minutes
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
As far from explored space as any human has ever been, Geary and the Alliance fleet are on their own, protecting a diplomatic mission in territory belonging to an alien species with still-unknown motives. His already complex and dangerous mission is further imperiled by deadly challenges from other human factions seeking to harm or exploit the aliens. When another alien species whose technology is far more advanced than humanity’s arrives, the stakes are raised to the highest possible level.
Only the most serious danger comes from an unexpected source. When presented with orders to carry out actions he believes not only are mistaken but would be contrary to the ideals of the Alliance, Geary has to finally decide whether he must invoke the power that his long-revered name holds, all the while knowing that this might endanger his entire fleet, tear apart the Alliance, and destroy everything he has fought for.
If you have enjoyed Jack Campbell’s other series, Lost Fleet and Beyond the Frontier, and Lost Stars, Genesis Fleet series, you will love this too. I started reading Jack Campbell in 2015 when I was sent an ARC of one of the Leviathon, which was the final book in the Beyond the Frontier series. Of course with my OCD, I had to read the previous NINE books before I could read it. I was in the middle of moving from Minnesota to North Carolina, so I got the audio CDs from the library. And thus, my love affair with this world began.
Everything I have said in previous reviews is still true. I am hopelessly attached to these characters. They have been through so much with the battles and betrayals and greedy businesspeople and politicians. In spire of everything, they remain smart and compassionate. Yes, you need to read this series in order for the world-building and character developments. And you want to read every book because I love them. So much.
Our main character, Geary, has been sidelined a bit. The Council sent him off to deal with aliens, starting with the Dancers (also called spider-wolves). They’ve sent along a diplomat who is “in charge” but Geary has his own long time team who has communicated with the Dancers. They also meet the Taon and Wooareek.
Then the Syndics show up with not just their usual plan to control everything but long jump insanity as well. The Dancers leave Geary and his Alliance to handle them. Geary doesn’t want to fire on them because he doesn’t want the Dancers to see him do that but he also doesn’t want the Syndics to harm the Dancers. The Dancers are determined to stay out of it as human problem is human problem.
So goes the rest of our story. Another group from the Alliance shows up with new orders for Geary to get on with making an agreement to secure Dancer technology even if they have to battle them! But they don’t even know about the Taon and Wooareek, who also have technology well beyond the human capabilities.
The Dancers finally say they want to settle the agreement in 6 days or the Alliance should leave their star system. Everyone tried to figure out how to create an agreement they will accept. In the end, Geary comes up with an idea based on history. It’s brilliant.
Implacable is the third in the new Outlands series which is the farthest into the future of the Lost Fleet world. I love the chance to see these many beloved characters in their new mission forming relationships with other species. The politicians want Geary out of the way as he is too popular with the people and there are assassination attempts as well. Geary is outstanding in the military missions and commanding the fleet, but he is also a great strategist and is learning politics and diplomacy. I highly recommend all these series in this world.
I’m so comfortable with Christian Rummel. Since this is one of the very first series I listened to on audio, he was one of the first narrators. I don’t care if his voices are well done or not at this point – they are the voices of these characters. The characters voices are differentiated enough I recognize the different people. The narration adds greatly to my enjoyment; I don’t have to figure out how to pronounce anything! I listened at my normal 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
Everything had gone very smoothly for the last week.
As urgent alerts sounded throughout the Alliance battle cruiser Dauntless, Admiral John “Black Jack” Geary belatedly realized that should have worried him.
The Alliance fleet he commanded was, after all, orbiting in a star system controlled by an alien species, and was as far from human-controlled space as anyone had ever been. At least, as far as was known any humans had ever been. The aliens humanity called Dancers (because of the graceful maneuvers of their spacecraft) had finally provided a copy of a star chart showing how many other intelligent species the Dancers had made contact with, and the star systems they controlled. Humanity while pushing down the galactic arm had unknowingly been bumping up against space already claimed by other species. The Dancers seemed friendly, though their motives and much else about them remained unknown. But other alien species, such as the mysterious enigmas and the ruthless Kicks, had responded to human contact with murderous violence.
Which was why the Alliance had sent Geary and the fleet he commanded to escort a diplomatic mission to the Dancers. And why, even though the fleet was in a supposedly safe Dancer-controlled star system, alarms warning of danger shouldn’t be a surprise.
But as Geary walked quickly onto the bridge (because seeing the admiral running could create panic in even the steadiest sailors) and dropped down into the fleet commander’s seat, he still stared in disbelief for a moment before he could speak. “Syndics? Here?”
“Syndics. Here,” Captain Tanya Desjani confirmed. She was in the ship commander’s seat next to Geary’s, studying her display as she sized up the new arrivals. “And they have Dancer escorts.”
“The Syndics couldn’t have gotten here without Dancer escorts. But why did the Dancers bring them here instead of telling them to go home? The Dancers know what Syndics are like.” The Syndicate Worlds, a corporate-run human empire, had been falling apart in rebellion and revolt since finally losing a century-long war with the Alliance. The Syndics could still muster the resources of scores of star systems, but with so much of those engaged in internal warfare, the Syndicate Worlds no longer had the ability to field a fleet to match that of the Alliance.
Desjani sat back in her seat, frowning. “A half-dozen battle cruisers, ten heavy cruisers, and twenty-three Hunter-Killers. It’s impressive that the Syndics managed to commit a force like that to coming here, but that’s a very light force to fight your way through enigma space with. I’m surprised they made it. Maybe they took serious losses while crossing enigma-controlled star systems.”
Geary shook his head, frowning as well. The enigmas, obsessed with their privacy, assaulted every human force that tried to enter space controlled by them, and had attacked human-controlled star systems as well. Most recently they had wiped out an attempt by a small group of ships from the Rift Federation to reach Dancer space without Alliance help. “I could believe serious losses, but I’m not seeing any signs of battle damage on any of the Syndic ships that made it here.”
“Lieutenant Yuon?” Captain Desjani called to one of the bridge watch standers.
“Yes, Captain,” Yuon responded as he studied the display before his watch station. “The fleet’s sensors see some hull repairs on two of the battle cruisers, but it’s the sort of work that the Syndics only do in space docks. There are no other external signs of combat damage on any of the Syndic warships.”
“They got through enigma space without sustaining any combat damage? That rules out a big fight with the enigmas. How did they manage getting through unscathed with so small a force?” Geary wondered.
“Maybe they just got lucky,” Desjani said. “We did inflict a lot of losses on the enigmas on our way here. It’s possible at the moment the enigmas couldn’t muster enough ships to deal with a Syndic force even that small.”
“We have an incoming message from the Syndics, Admiral,” the communications watch reported.
“Maybe they’ll tell us how they did it,” Geary said. Not that he was looking forward to discussions with a Syndic CEO. “Accept the message. We might as well get this over with.”
Excerpted from Implacable by Jack Campbell Copyright © 2023 by Jack Campbell. Excerpted by permission of Ace. All rights reserved.
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