The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell

Science Fiction/Space Opera

The Lost Stars is a spin off to the Lost Fleet and Beyond the Frontier series.  Unlike both of these series, which follow Black Jack Geary, this series follows characters that were on the other side of the war.  Here is what Goodreads says about The Lost Stars – Tarnished Knight

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.

I really wondered if I would even like Tarnished Knight. Some spin-off books don’t work and I had no previous investment in the characters or in the Syndicate Worlds.  What I found was a book that I enjoyed.  Jack Campbell (John Hemry) writes are good tight story and Tarnished Knight is no exception. 

Neither Artur Drakon nor Gwen Iceni are a role model for heroes.  While they did not measure up to the ruthlessness the Syndic government wanted they were ruthless enough become CEO’s (very high ranks) in the government.  Watching them try to change and leave behind many of the behaviors they had learned to survive was interesting.  I kept pulling for both of them to survive and change.  While they were the two main characters there were several side characters that added to the tension and action in the book.  There is one in particular that needs to be watched very closely.  Even those that did not come across as untrustworthy could not be totally trusted. The title fit the characters.  While any might be a Knight all are tarnished.

Like all the books in all three series the ending was a cliffhanger so I will be looking for the next book in The Lost Stars series.

Ace published The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell in 2012.

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