I return to the 23rd century with this week’s book shelf with the next Star Trek title in the Pocket Book series. Penned by Diane Duane, who had previously written The Wounded Sky, this one plays like a bit of a Cold War Thriller, at least to start, rotating the Romulans in as the baddies as opposed to the Klingons.
According the an online timeline provided by Trek fans, this novel is supposed to take place between Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, so don’t be fooled by the art on the cover (though there really isn’t much in the book that couldn’t take place in the original series timeline). That era works fine for me, and I like to imagine this is shortly after the encounter with V’ger before Kirk had to turn the Enterprise back over to Starfleet, and take over as head of Starfleet Operations.
As such, there are only a couple of moments when they refer to their uniforms in terms of the series colours and not the beige, grey and white uniforms of The Motion Picture (but that, for me, was easily ignored).
When a Romulan Commander, Ael, discovers that her government is developing a terrible new weapon, as well as kidnapping Vulcans for a terrifying project, she reaches out to a nearby Federation patrol that is wandering the edges of the Neutral Zone, and leading the patrol, Captain James T. Kirk aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise.
The two ship commanders form an uneasy truce, even close to a level of friendship before the adventure is over. An incredible, and risky plan is concocted and the Federation runs the danger of war as things come to a head.
Duane ties in the tale with her previous Trek novel, the rec chief makes an appearance, and this time he tantalises the crew with 4D chess, as well as the update of the ship’s library, by converting them to 3D holograms – one of them apparently features a very familiar blue box, and a bushy haired fellow with a long, long scarf.
I rather like this one, though by the story’s end, it drops all subtlety and plays out as one big action sequence, with Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Ael leading an assault on a Romulan base, while Chekov, Sulu, Uhura and Scotty fight to keep control of the Enterprise.
The book, no matter how right or wrong with it is within the context of canon does give an interesting look at the Romulan beliefs, and their behaviours, and it ended up being one that I could easily visualise in my head.
Each of the novels, the deeper I move into the series, becomes stronger with in the framework of the Trek world, so I expect to become increasingly entertained by them.
Lets boldly go!