Fearless picks up shortly where Dauntless left off, with the Alliance fleet still trapped deep in Syndicate space. As the Alliance fleet slowly makes its way home, Geary continues to implement combat tactics to overcome the enemy. All the while, he still suffers from personnel problems as some fleet officers fight against his command style. This problem becomes worse among the rescue of some POWs that include Captain Falco, a war hero less like Geary and more like Zapp Brannigan. Falco is not a bad person, he has good intentions but is very much set in his ways (i.e. the poor tactical choices that have kept the Alliance in a 100+ year war).
Geary himself remains an exemplary example to the fleet throughout Fearless. All the other officers have been fighting a war their entire lives. In a war that has gone on for several times longer than any of them have been alive. Actions that we consider horrific, like bombing civilian populations, are the norm for these people. Geary goes a long way to remind his subordinates that fighting with honor means being better than your enemy. To extend a hand of mercy in situations where you yourself would not necessarily receive one.
Co-President Rione’s involvement in Fearless starts to establish The Lost Fleet as more of a space opera. The character introductions and world building in Dauntless left little room for other developments. Now with all that information established, the space opera element becomes more apparent. Specifically, Rione begins to show feelings and desires for Geary while still being wary of him. She makes it very clear that there is some attraction, but she is still ready to put a knife in him if he starts to become a threat to the Alliance. The build-up here is slow and will likely grow greater in the next book.
Character development, on the whole, is a bit stunted in Fearless. Captain Falco’s introduction helps push it along, but the main focus here is still big space battles and military tactics. For readers more interested in the military side of these stories, that works fine. But the characters do seem like that could feel more real. At this point, The Lost Fleet is still military sci-fi first and space opera second. And the series is still very enjoyable for it. Fearless was just as good as Dauntless and book #3 should be just as entertaining.