The Human Adventure continues…
I’ve mentioned before that when I was growing up in Bermuda, Trek books were a big thing for me. I would hit the local shops, tracking down novels as they were released, and hunting down ones I’d missed.
I remember when this one came out, it was the third in the Giant Novels that Pocket Book had put together. And I read it, and while I liked it, I didn’t enjoy it a lot, because it wasn’t as Kirk-Spock-McCoy story,
Now, here I am revisiting it some thirty years on, and this one may in fact be my favorite of the Pocket Book novels,
The framing story is set just after the events of The City on the Edge of Forever episode of the classic series. Captain James T. Kirk has returned to the family home in Iowa, and ruminating his future, and leaving the Enterprise and its crew behind.
As he debates with himself he reads the letters his father George sent him and his brother when he was a young boy.
And it is the story of George Kirk, his friend, and captain, Robert April, a newly commissioned starship that has now name but will become legend and a rescue mission that could turn into an intergalactic war.
Developed in secret, the constitution class starships represent a bold new venture for the Federation, and April wants to make sure that they set the right tone, one of peaceful exploration, but when the ship is sabotaged and ends up in Romulan space, the universe inches that much closer to war.
Carey tells a fun story, tying it in with what we knew of the timeline at the, well, time. And while things in canon don’t necessarily make all of this story work, it is actually really captivating and feels like traditional Trek.
The name Robert April is known to Trek fans, and he only made one appearance, and that was in The Animated Series, so Carey was able to make the characters her own, and blaze a new chapter in future history.
This one was really a lot of fun, there is the beginning of the Starfleet plan of exploration, spies, hints of what is to come, and a nice representation of Kirk’s father as his own man, one with regrets, wishes, and dreams of his own.
Pairing him, a security officer promoted to first officer, on the unnamed starship, registration number NCC-1701, with the idealistic April was brilliant, and the friendship the two share is familiar in its way to other relationships we’ve grown to treasure in the Trek-verse.
There are Romulans that can be trusted, some that will betray, and starship battles as the unnamed vessel tries to make its way back to Federation space.
If you ever wondered if you should read one of the Trek novels, I would recommend this one.