In the New York Times bestselling Lost Fleet series, author Jack Campbell has taken readers and Captain Black Jack Geary on a fast-paced journey of conquest across vast reaches of space. Now, in the three novellas contained in Swords and Saddles, first in a series of short fiction collections from Jack Campbell, readers can explore the entire universe of Campbell’s fiction. A new author’s note accompanies each story.
Begin by entering “The Rift.” Answering a distress call from a colonized planet, a combat team finds themselves ambushed. They manage to scrabble their way to a remote research facility in the countryside, joining a group of schoolchildren that have holed up with the researchers — three groups united in fear that their lives will last only as long as they can avoid discovery by the aliens that have come to their planet. When the aliens do come, it becomes clear that despite all the years of research, the humans’ understanding of the aliens is woefully incomplete.
“Swords and Saddles” is one of several alternate history stories that Jack Campbell has written. When lightning strikes Captain Ulysses Benton and his US Cavalry Fifth Regiment, they recover to find an ancient structure in the desert that they’ve never seen before — and writing in a language none of them recognize. When the next find themselves skirmishing with soldiers wearing armor more appropriate to Roman centurions than 1870s Kansas, it becomes clear that wherever it is they are, it isn’t Kansas. But where are they, then? And how do they make their way home?
The Lost Fleet isn’t the only Jack Campbell series full of outer space intrigue. “Failure to Obey” is a novella in his Paul Sinclair series. When Lieutenant Jen Shen saves the day after a terrorist attack on a space station, she gets a medal, but Ivan Sharpe, a fellow officer and Paul’s former master-at-arms, gets a court martial. In a classic court martial scene that rivals the best in American literature, Paul has to work behind the scenes to save Ivan’s military career.