Triumphant is the finale of the Genesis Fleet trilogy, the prequel to The Lost Fleet. Going in, I did not know whether this was the last book or if the Genesis Fleet would keep going. But Jack Campbell’s original Lost Fleet series was 6 books. Then the follow-up, Beyond the Frontier, was 5 books. And the spin-off series The Lost Stars was 4 books. Now the Genesis Fleet wraps up with 3 books. I am sensing a pattern here. Are we in for a duology next? And maybe a single, standalone book that wraps up everything? Time will tell and Triumphant hints on the series future, but more on that later.
Things kick off shortly after the end of the last book, unlike the time-skip between books 1 & 2. Campbell’s other series focused on massive wars and other conflicts between powerful, established space nations. The Genesis Fleet tells the story of how those nations were first established. There is a fair amount of parallelism with the real world here. People are traveling out into the unknown to stake their claim and get land of their own. But away from established civilization, there is an increasing threat of lawlessness. Now is the time when whether the people choose to fight will determine not only their future, but the futures of generations to come.
If you have already read Campbell’s other books, you have a rough idea of how Triumphant will end. Many of the characters here are ancestors of the previous books’ casts, so assumptions can be made regarding how survives. But while the stakes in Triumphant are no less extreme than the previous series, the battles are much more small scale. It is not a fleet of hundreds of warships threatening a galaxy-spanning civilization. It is a single-digit group of ships threatening new colonies. But a single ship is more than enough to kill everyone on a world.
While the previous series focus on large-scale, broad military conflict, The Genesis Fleet is more of a revolutionary war. People are fighting with military cast-offs and makeshift weapons. But it does not change the fact that they are fighting for their homes and families. And they will fight with every ounce of strength and courage they have to see them protected. While at the same time, others put the same amount of effort into subjugating their fellow man.
This series was an absolute blast. It was low-stakes, yet it was not. It was a prequel with a semi-determined ending, yet it keeps you on the edge of your seat. There is a fantastic balance between combat, politics, personal character development, and world-building (something hard to do which Jack Campbell has greatly improved upon in his career). And it features a nice little epilogue with some more familiar characters that leaves the Lost Fleet universe very open. I am excited to see where Jack Campbell takes it next.