(cover image by Amazon.com)
The Lost Stars: Perilous Shield (2013) is the second volume in Jack Campbell's third series of military science fiction/space opera.
My review of the first book in the series is here. As I said then, it was a brilliant move to switch the point of view to the Syndicate Worlds' - former Syndicate Worlds' - side. And we see things through the eyes of two co-equal characters here. Indeed, this series is as much space opera as it is military SF.
The previous book ended in a cliff-hanger. However, if you've been reading Campbell's second series about John "Black Jack" Geary and the 'Lost Fleet,' you'll already know how that turned out. That's not a problem, really, but just note that, whichever series you read first, there will be spoilers for the other one.
"Black Jack" Geary is very important even in this series, though we don't see very much of him. Don't worry, these are different people with their own concerns. But the two series - The Lost Fleet Beyond the Frontier and The Lost Stars - do intersect. If I'd read the former series first, the cliffhanger in the first volume of this one wouldn't really have been a cliffhanger. :)
Just for the record, I would recommend reading all of these books in the order of initial publication. But as long as you get the order right within each series, I wouldn't worry too much about which series you read first. (But, obviously, read The Lost Fleet before you read The Lost Fleet Beyond the Frontier.)
So what happens in this book? Well, Gwen Iceni and Artur Drakon are still struggling to keep their people alive, despite attacks by the Syndic and aliens alike. To do that, they need more ships and more trained people. (And they need to stay alive, themselves.)
Luckily, the Alliance - Admiral Geary, at least - has good reason to want them to succeed, but the Alliance has plenty enough problems of its own - and little reason to trust former Syndics.
For that matter, President Iceni and General Drakon continue to have trouble trusting each other, though that's getting easier for both of them. Unfortunately, their closest associates all seem to have schemes of their own.
If you've read The Lost Fleet Beyond the Frontier: Invincible and Guardian, you'll know much of what happens in this book, but you'll see it from a different perspective - different perspectives, I should say. The details are new, as well, and it's still very entertaining.
I read this one first, and I can't say that it spoiled the other two books for me. It's not just the different perspective, but different characters and different concerns. I must say that I'm very impressed at how Campbell has kept things fresh.
Unfortunately, the next book in this series won't be published until the end of September. It's not going to be easy to wait.
Note: My other book reviews are here.