Before I return to my quest for the Dark Tower, I decided to take a journey with some of the characters from Star Trek: The Original Series in the next book from the Pocket Book collection of novels.
The Romulan Way is a novel I remember owning when it first came out in paperback, and I knew it centred around McCoy (something I wasn’t a fan of at the time, but he has increasingly, over the years, become my favourite character) and that for some reason it appeared to have two colonial vipers from Battlestar Galactica on the cover.
The plot itself is a very Cold War spy thriller kind of thing that sounds like a really good idea, but…
Set between the events of The Motion Picture, and The Wrath of Khan (and establishing the border ship that brings in McCoy’s occasional shipment of Romulan Ale) the story sees the Starfleet doctor being captured by the Romulans and held in one of their estates.
Where, it just so happens, there is a deep cover agent there working within the household, Arrhae, who is now troubled by the possibility of losing her cover all together should she help McCoy escape, and her loyalties are tested.
All sounds well and good.
Except that the first chunk of the book is front loaded with an alternate version of future history that reveals the history of the Romulans, there rift with the Vulcans that caused them to leave Vulcan and discover a pair of worlds for themselves.
There’s too much of it, and it weighs down the storytelling, because, honestly you want to get to the stuff with McCoy, but it takes forever to get there because of all this background, and the introduction of Arrhae and the household she works in.
The story eventually starts to roll, but by that point I was already a little disconnected from it, and couldn’t get excited about it.
And this is too bad, as generally I like Diane Duane’s Trek novels, most notably The Wounded Sky. With all the stuff going on at the beginning of the book, stuff that we know has changed (some a lot, some a little) it was hard for me to settle in for this adventure. That’s unfortunate, because I really love a good McCoy story, and this one would have been an exceptional one.
Oh well, the Human Adventure continues…