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The Lost Stars: Perilous Shield [Format Kindle]

Jack Campbell
2.7 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)

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Chapter One

THIS day hadn’t started out badly, but now it looked very much as if one of the next few days would end with him dead. The most important questions General Artur Drakon still faced were exactly who would pull the trigger, exactly when it would happen, and how many other people would die along with him.“

Two hundred twenty-two alien warships,” Colonel Bran Malin reported with an impressive show of calm. Above and behind Malin ,the planetary command center’s main display portrayed the entire Midway Star System and every ship within it in depressingly accurate detail. The warships of the alien enigma race were four and a half light-hours distant, having arrived at the jump point from the star Pele, which had been occupied by the aliens decades ago. “We face overwhelming odds even if the Syndicate flotilla commanded by CEO Boyens joins with our forces.

Our forces. Drakon focused on the depictions of those for a moment, trying not to let his gloom show outwardly. Many workers were at their control consoles in the command center, all of them supposedly focused on their work, but all of them certainly watching him for the first sign of panic or even uncertainty.

Near this planet orbited the main body of the grandly named “Midway Flotilla.” Two heavy cruisers, four light cruisers, and twelve small Hunter-Killers. A pitiful force by the standards of the recent war between the Syndicate Worlds and the Alliance, but Syndicate losses had been so heavy in the last part of the war that this now ranked as a decent-sized flotilla within the territory where the authority of the Syndicate Worlds once ran unchallenged. About a light-hour distant, at the space dock orbiting a gas-giant planet, were a battleship and two more heavy cruisers. That looked more impressive, except for the fact that the recently constructed and recently named battleship Midway (recently stolen from a Syndicate-controlled dockyard at the star Kane, where it was being outfitted) did not yet have any working weapons.

“They’re not really our forces,” Drakon said to Malin. “The Kommodor in charge of the Midway Flotilla answers to President Iceni.” She might call herself President now, but a few months ago Gwen Iceni had been a Syndicate CEO, just as Drakon had also once been. “We banded together out of necessity to overthrow the authority of the Syndicate Worlds in this star system before the Syndicate could order our deaths, but you know how little we can afford to trust each other.”

“President Iceni has not double-crossed you,” Colonel Malin pointed out.“

Yet. You know the words used in the Syndicate for CEOs who trust other CEOs. Stupid. Betrayed. Dead. Are you sure she hasn’t tried to call Boyens and make a deal for herself?” The Syndicate flotilla controlled by CEO Boyens consisted of a battleship, six heavy cruisers, four light cruisers, and ten HuKs. The Midway Flotilla had faced a desperate and probably hopeless fight against that force until the aliens called enigmas had shown up in overwhelming numbers to menace all humans in this star system.

“Absolutely certain, General. If you and President Iceni can trust each other, neither of you is likely to trust CEO Boyens to honor any deal he agreed to,” Malin insisted. “Even if Boyens wanted to play it straight, the snakes with his flotilla would demand that both you and Iceni die for your leadership roles in the revolt.

”He could see the humor in that. “I have the Syndicate Internal Security Service to thank for being certain that Iceni won’t betray me to Boyens. That’s the first time the snakes ever made me feel more secure.”

“Yes, sir. But Boyens and his flotilla are a relatively minor problem at the moment. It is possible that he will agree to a proposal from you and President Iceni that he join forces with us against the enigmas.”

Drakon shook his head. “No, he won’t. There’s no percentage for Boyens in joining with us. He came here under Syndicate orders to defeat us and retake this star system, but now that the enigmas have shown up, every human at Midway is very likely doomed. Why should he die fighting a hopeless battle trying to save us?”

“He won’t,” President Gwen Iceni answered as she walked up to Drakon, her every movement and tone of voice carefully controlled to portray a calm confidence that in a lesser person would have seemed ridiculous under these circumstances.

But, Drakon admitted to himself, Iceni could carry it off .

“CEO Boyens,” Iceni continued, “is a practical man. There is no hope for us there,” she added in a matter-of-fact way at odds with her words.

Drakon turned to Iceni. “You’ve talked to the enigmas in the past. Is there any chance of a deal with them?”

Iceni shook her head, her own expression calculating rather than fearful. Like Drakon, she knew that it was critically important for leaders not to show fear. A display of fear communicated weakness, and in the Syndicate system, weak CEOs became targets for those under them. Workers might panic if they saw their leaders openly afraid, or senior subordinates might decide an assassination-driven change in leaders might improve their own chances of survival, or believing the situation to be hopeless, the workers themselves might rise up and wreak last-ditch revenge on their leaders for past suffering.

“The enigmas,” Iceni continued, “don’t talk with us, they talk to us. When they deign to speak to us, they make demands and never respond to anything except agreement. I would be very surprised if they even bother communicating with us this time before they kill us.”

“Is this Black Jack’s fault? Did he stir up the enigmas like we feared?”

“It’s possible.” Her gaze went to the main display floating in the middle of the command center. “Black Jack did promise to defend this star system against the enigmas.”

“I don’t see Black Jack’s fleet,” Drakon replied, his voice harsh, “and I don’t think the enigmas will be impressed by our telling them that we’ve got that promise. Black Jack took the Alliance fleet into enigma territory, raised hell, very likely got blown to pieces, and now the enigmas are here to finish the job they wanted to do several months ago.”

He didn’t bother adding that, unlike that previous time, on this occasion the Alliance fleet under the command of the legendary Admiral John “Black Jack” Geary wasn’t here to stop the enigmas. Until about a year ago, Geary had been thought dead for the last century, but he had reappeared to wreak havoc on the forces of the Syndicate Worlds and compel an end to the war everyone had resigned them-selves to believing to be unending. In the process, Geary had also shattered any claim by the Syndicate government to be representing a superior system and annihilated the great majority of the Syndicate warships that had been a major factor in ensuring Syndicate control of the planets under their rule.

But Geary had taken his fleet into enigma territory to try to learn more about the first alien intelligent race encountered by humanity. No Syndicate incursion into enigma space had ever returned.

“The situation . . .” Iceni paused before continuing in a thoughtful tone “is difficult.”

“Very difficult,” Drakon agreed, surprised that he could let a trace of dry humor into his own voice at such a time. Damn, she’s impressive. “All of my ground forces in this star system are coming to full combat status, but none of them stand a chance against the enigmas if the aliens bombard us from orbit.”

“All of my mobile forces are also being brought to full combat alert,” Iceni informed him. “Those at the gas giant saw the arrival of the enigmas an hour before we did, and we just received the status update from them. They are as ready as they can be.”

“Too bad we didn’t have time to get that battleship operational.”

“Yes,” Iceni said. “It would have been useful,” she added in a masterpiece of understatement. “There’s only one thing left to do besides trying to bluff the enigmas, and that is trying to arrange a truce with the Syndicate force.”

“You just agreed with me that Boyens wouldn’t fight alongside us,” Drakon said bluntly.

“I said truce, not merger. Our very slim chance of bluffing the enigmas into leaving will be improved slightly if Boyens appears to be part of the defensive force instead of another invader. And Boyens has reason to assist us in that bluff. His masters on Prime want this star system back. If the enigmas take it, or destroy it, Boyens will not have succeeded in his mission.” One side of her mouth curved in a humorless half smile. “As you and I both know from painful experience, the Syndicate government won’t let the fact that it is impossible for Boyens to succeed in the face of the enigmas influence their decision that he failed, nor will it mitigate the punishment they mete out for that failure.”

Colonel Rho Morgan had arrived while Iceni and Drakon spoke, and now saluted Drakon. Morgan’s eyes glinted with a strange light, as if the prospect of a desperate fight excited her. “Colonels Rogero, Gaiene, and Kai report their brigades are ready for action and are stiffening the locals.”

Drakon nodded, his mouth twisting in annoyance. “The locals are nervous, I suppose.”


Revue de presse

Praise for The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight

“A fascinating and vividly rendered character study, fully and expertly contextualized.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A true page-turner as Jack Campbell takes you from one cliff-hanger to the next before you’ve had time to readjust to the newest twist.”—My Bookish Ways

Tarnished Knight is a winner, with the right mixture of action-based military science fiction and political space opera.”—The Guilded Earlobe

“As can be expected in a Jack Campbell novel, the military battle sequences are very well done, with the land-based action adding a new dimension…Fans of The Lost Fleet series will…enjoy this book.”—SFcrowsnest

“[An] imaginative science fiction novel…A chilling depiction of a society where one is always being spied upon.”—Night Owl Reviews

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1709 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 417 pages
  • Editeur : Ace; Édition : Reissue (1 octobre 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
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  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 2.7 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°79.717 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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2.7 étoiles sur 5
2.7 étoiles sur 5
Commentaires client les plus utiles
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Par Kallisthène TOP 500 COMMENTATEURS
Format:Format Kindle
Ce second tome prend la suite de L'honneur terni qui exposait la très difficile situation de Midway. D’un monde soumis à une dictature manifestement plusieurs fois centenaire qui tente de retrouver des formes de liberté.

Il est cependant délicat d’exploiter une situation originale quand cette originalité a été éventée, forcément, lors du premier roman. Je dirai que l’auteur s’en tire plutôt bien en renouvelant la nature des menaces qui pèsent sur Midway et en rajoutant régulièrement du background.
Que se passe-t-il donc ?

Les Syndics n’entendant pas lâcher Midway ont envoyé une flotte contre laquelle les forces de Midway sont totalement inadéquates, heureusement un Héros passait par là pour retourner chez lui.
Vous le connaissez, c’est un certain Black Jack !

Black Jack dont vous avez suivi les aventures dans Gardien, vous avez donc hélas le synopsis d’une partie des événements du présent tome, même si ces mêmes événements sont vus du côté des ex-Syndics.
Jack Campbell tire toujours excellemment partie de cet entre-deux, ce n'est plus la guerre mais c'est loin, très loin d'être la paix. Beaucoup aimeraient d'ailleurs qu'on en revienne à cette guerre, en particulier les chefs Syndics dont les provocations ont toutes ce but là.

Sur Midway la situation se dégrade également, des groupes inconnus menacent la Révolution toute fraîche et tentent d'assassiner les deux Leaders.
Lire la suite ›
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Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Cette branche dérivée de la série de SF millitaire "La flotte perdue - the lost fleet" se lit avec plaisir. C'est un peu étiré, un peu répétitif, ( comme le veulent les feuilletons ), les personnages n'ont pas une grande épaisseur, mais l'intrigue est bien menée, avec des rebondissements inattendus pas seulement militaires. J'attends le troisième épisode suivant (imperfect sword) avec plaisir.
Alain M.
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0 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 format poche 23 avril 2014
Format:Format Kindle
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.4 étoiles sur 5  147 commentaires
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A good read but... 13 octobre 2013
Par JPS - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This, the second volume in the "Lost Stars" series, was a good and a rather exciting book, although I enjoyed it a bit less than "Tarnished Knight", the previous one, which it is preferable to read before.

Both books have very much the same ingredients. The story is told from the perspective of the former Syndicate system of Midway, a strategic hub with some eight jump points that has declared itself independent under President Iceni and General Drako, two former Syndicate leaders in charge, respectively, of its space navy and its ground forces.

Their position is somewhat unstable as they try to make the regime evolve towards something less totalitarian and (a bit) more democratic. They face multiple and unknown external and internal threats and do not know to what extent they can even trust each other, especially since they both originate from the ultra-competitive and murderous former elite of "CEOs". So suspicions, plots and intrigues, whether real or not, create an atmosphere of paranoia throughout the book where just about everyone suspects everyone else of being about to betray and murder them.

The first part of the book is similar to "Tarnished Knight", with the events seen in the corresponding "Lost Fleet" volume (which are part of Guardian) as Admiral Geary ("Black Jack's") Fleet comes back to Midway on its way home to Alliance space after having encountered (and defeated, of course) a couple of nasty alien species and allied with a third. The same story is, again, told from the perspective of the Midway leaders, with the same events unfolding. This was both well done and interesting as it showed a rather different point of view and perception. It did, however, have a strong sense of "déjà vu" and was therefore not as original.

The rest of the book is about the efforts of Iceni and Drako to ensure the independence of Midway, with the help of the Admiral Geary's liaison officer, amid plots and multiple assassinations attempts. Two of the book's strong points here were to show the challenges in having to work with the former enemy and the disorientation (to put it mildly) suffered by former prisoners of war freshly released after years of captivity.

One of the book's original features was the way the combat scenes were dealt with. There are no major battles this time, either in space or on the ground. There are however a couple of fire-fights, both part of assassination attempts (of which I will say no more) and a prolonged attack of a Midway space convoy by a Syndicate squadron (and the corresponding defence of the convoy by its escort) which, in my view, largely make up for of the lack of "big battles".

A relative weakness of this book, in my view, is that the author has felt obliged to finish it with a somewhat implausible "coup de theatre" (the last 15 pages or so) when explaining the bitter rivalry between General Drako's two main lieutenants. Despite a conscious effort to suspend disbelief, this did not work very well with me.

If this had been possible, I would have rated this book slightly above three and a half stars (perhaps 3.6). Since fractions are not possible and a three star rating would have been a bit too harsh in my view, I will give a somewhat generous four stars.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Loved it! Until the last 15 pages... 6 octobre 2013
Par Talvi - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
The Lost Stars Perilous Shield was another wonderful Jack Campbell/Hemry novel - riveting, full of action, and with the characters we've come to know and love (even if they were once syndics!). The first half details the back story on several events occurring in the Lost Fleet: Guardian - it was great to see how it all transpired from a different perspective though admittedly some of the impetus was lost since we knew the results.

All the good Jack Campbell trademarks are here - those great space battles and machinations, traveling through gates (very little takes place on Midway planet this time), and high stakes action. Some of the weaknesses are there as well - women are still screechy, over emotional wrecks next to their calm, easily seduced, and bemused male counterparts. And yes, there is still a lot of political commentary here that can be very thinly veiled metaphors for 20th century world politics. But honestly, Jack Campbell is to military sci fi what Tom Clancy was to military fiction - one of the best out there. So I'm going to cut slack here on the above simply because I love everything else about the books.

In Perilous Shield, Midway is still teetering - CEO Boyens waits to swoop down and retake Midway once the Alliance Fleet leaves. As well, Commander Bradamont, Alliance Liason to the planet, will find herself thick in the middle of the very dangerous arena of a former syndic world - will she survive long enough to help Iceni and Drakon find the resources they need to protect Midway? Meanwhile, assistants Togo, Morgan, and Malen have secrets of their own that may end up destroying their bosses.

I am constantly surprised at where Jack Campbell can take these books and especially love that Perilous Shield had so much space action. The one thing that kept this from being a 5 star book for me was the ending (a cliffhanger for the next book in the series) which ended up playing out too much like an overwrought Mexican Telenovela soap opera. I think it would have worked better in the middle of the book rather than being the random punctuation on an otherwise wonderful read.

Greatly looking forward to the next in the series.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A spectacular read 1 octobre 2013
Par ME Kotcher - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This is a phenomenal series, I daresay slightly better than the Lost Fleet series.

Very light spoilers ahead.

I very much enjoyed watching the Midway leaders attributing Machiavellian levels of deceit to Black Jack, as though he was a master politician. A brilliant move, Mr. Campbell! I also was pleased to see the other side of events from Lost Fleet: Guardian as they were seen from the Midway side of things, since these series seem to be running concurrently.

Blew though this book in only a few hours and now the very long wait begins until hopefully the next one comes out. But I can't wait!
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Enjoyable but hated the last 5 pages 31 octobre 2013
Par Eric D. - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
I enjoyed reading this book. I like seeing the story from another view point and for the most part I like the Midway characters. If you've read the other books in the Lost Fleet and Beyond series a lot of the story is not new but it is still pretty interesting. As is I would have given 3.5 stars if it were possible. Without the last few pages I would have given the book 4 stars easily, maybe 5.

[mild spoiler]
However... the last 5 pages are awful. Both of the big reveals are just mind boggling stupid. If they occurred in the middle of the story it wouldn't be a big deal. I'd expect the conflicts they introduce to be wrapped up in about a paragraph. But by ending this book on them I now expect them to be a major focus of the next book and they are not something I care about. At all. I want to know more about Midway's work to build their fleet, fight the Syndicate, and expand their influence. I really, really do not want to read about some psycho and her dreams of doing the thing that she is doing.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 No spoilers but the ending was very off-putting 3 novembre 2014
Par Charles A. Wheeler - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I've consistently enjoyed reading Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet Series and its follow ons even though I found the obsession with "honor" and propriety rather ridiculous. It is fantasy after all and the author is free to postulate any kind of society that he likes. Nevertheless, the idea that you have this huge fleet involving millions of humans who apparently never have sex was a little over the top. I know, I know, it is OK to have sex as long as you are not in the same chain of command but if you are sex is out (or even being in "close proximity" like in your stateroom) even if you are married. Feels very puritanical and very contrived.

With that as background I thoroughly enjoyed most of Perilous Shield even though these soldiers and space cadets still were not interested in normal human activities, that is until the last few pages. The Soap Oprahesq finish to the book entirely turned me off and left me wondering if I should bother reading the next one. I won't describe the ending as that would presumably constitute a spoiler but it seriously ruined the book for me.
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