Star Trek: Faces of Fire (1992) – Micheal Jan Friedman

When I read the blurb for this book, the next in the PocketBook Star Trek series, I was a little anxious as to how they were going to walk the line of having a young, ten year-old David Marcus interact with Kirk and company during their original five year mission and how Kirk’s interaction with son, and mother, Carol Marcus, would play out.

I needn’t have worried, I enjoyed almost all of this book, but for the Klingon powerplay subplot at work throughout the novel and delivering us a prologue and epilogue that takes us away from our beloved characters.

The rest of it worked fine, and the whole Klingon appearance thing can be worked around if you let your mind play with it, and not get too hung up on it.

The Enterprise is ferrying an ambassador to a remote world of the Federation to help mediate a dispute brought on by religious differences. Along the way, the starship is required to stop at science outpost and conduct a routine medical check.


Working from this outpost, on a terra-forming project that sounds like a precursor to the Genesis program is Dr. Carol Marcus, and her young son. She attempts to keep this a secret from Kirk, but McCoy learns the truth while conducting routine checkups, but can say nothing due to patient-doctor privilege.

Spock elects to remain at the outpost to assist in diagnostics while the Enterprise continues its diplomatic mission. But much like the Genesis program, this one attracts the attention of the Klingons as well, and they dispatch a ship to the outpost. Among them, a familiar second officer, with his eyes on promotion, Kruge.

The children make off to the hills before the Klingons know they are there, and Spock absconds with an essential piece of hardware that keeps the project from working, all while Kirk, McCoy, and the rest of the crew are systems away trying to stop a religious conflict before it erupts.

As mentioned, everything works within the structure of the story, and the events that we know preceded it and followed it. I just didn’t care for the whole Klingon subplot, which just seemed in place to allow for a helpful moment near the end, and other sundries that didn’t really impact the plot.

By the book’s end our heroic trio all have knowledge of David Marcus, and while it doesn’t really change events for The Wrath of Khan, it does put them in a new light.

The voyages of the U.S.S. Enterprise continue as I explore another novel on the Book Shelf next week. Boldly go…



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