It's tough enough to live up to expectations after an act of heroism. It's absolutely impossible to live up to the
results of 100 years of hero worship added to that legend. But John "Black Jack" Geary is forced to do just that,
a short time after the survival pod in which he left that famous last stand a century ago is picked up. The same
war he was thought to have died in all those years ago is still being fought, only now it's become something like
the trench war stalemate of WWI where both sides are measuring casualties more than real victories.
After another punishing engagement, the Alliance fleet commander and his senior staff are murdered when they go
to negotiate terms, leaving Geary in charge. Nominally anyway. Real command is going to require dealing with the
hero worship he hates, the ones who resent him because of it, and the vast middle ground of battle weary officers
who need a reason to hope but who aren't taking anything, even legends from the past, on faith. While those hundred
years have brought a lot of changes, with the technological ones his least concern. First challenge up - the enemy
Syndic's ultimatum to surrender within an hour or be killed. Of course to the true hero, there's always a third
option - accomplishing the impossible...
Tactics were presented so that even this non-expert could readily grasp them - I particularly enjoyed the
consideration of relativity's effect in space battles, and the need to factor a delay between perception and
reality caused by distances measured in light years when managing a battle. Just as importantly, the book is filled
with real people you care about, not just toy soldiers in a box.
That starts with John Geary, who may once again end up a legendary hero despite himself, but who is also very
human and even more appealing because of it.
This was an old fashioned military action-adventure story without cutting edge quantum, nano or cyber tech, but
still offering some food for thought and some thoroughly enjoyable reading. Recommended.