Sometimes a Trek book just works for me, and this one totally did. Set between The Motion Picture, and The Wrath of Khan, but featuring the new burgundy uniform jackets, the story despite featuring Kirk heavily on the cover, focuses more on Chekov, Sulu and Uhura, to my total delight.
Their friendship is explored, from their time together during shore leave, to this adventure that sees them dealing with Andorians and Orions when it seems the Enterprise has a saboteur aboard. Things are complicated by a group of efficiency experts aboard ship as well, getting under foot, and generally causing problems for our beloved crew.
Chekov is the central character of the tale as we see him running his security division, and dealing with the death of a friend from the Academy. He works hard to support Kirk’s faith in him, and is determined to find the saboteur that is threatening to destroy the Enterprise.
The story moves on at a brisk pace, in fact, this is one of the quickest reads of a Trek novel I’ve had in some time. And I love a story that features the crew as older characters, as much as I love adventures during the original five year mission, the film series just speaks to me as characters growing older and dealing with their careers and age in a way that didn’t happen in The Original Series. Not that there are is a lot of that going on in this novel, but it’s still an incredibly fun read.
And it’s nice to see Chekov getting a moment to shine before he leaves to join the Reliant, though it’s not mentioned in this story, we know it’s coming. In fact, Chekov, Sulu, and to a lesser degree Uhura are used so wonderfully extensively through this story, that Spock, Scotty and McCoy barely show up at all.
Instead we spend time with Sulu and Chekov, and see how Sulu is so able to leap from one hobby to another, something that isn’t really covered in the television or film series, but comes up quite often in the novels. This time around it has more to do with his plants, something that doesn’t get touched on a lot, but is fun to see come up again.
The saboteur plot, as well as the murders that arise around them, is pretty entertaining, and plays out much as you would expect it to with a space battle at the climax, while Chekov, Sulu and Uhura risk their lives for each other and the Enterprise.
The Human Adventure will continue with more journeys with the crew of the Enterprise.