Space, the final frontier…
It’s time to continue my travels with the stalwart crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise as I join them on their original five year missions to seek out new life, and new civilisations. This time, author Simon Hawke delivers a story that fits well into the style of The Original Series with a commentary on government control, the possibility of outside interference by the Klingons, and a revelation about the police force at work that comments on what should and shouldn’t be accessible and civilian rights.
What starts out as a diplomatic mission becomes a full incident when the people of Patria One reach out to the Federation for help, and possibly allow them entrance into the UFP. As Captain Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the rest investigate, they learn things about the culture, and discover that there are a group of telepaths working within the police, a special unit, that serves as judge, jury and executioner, with someone’s thoughts being considered intent for committing a crime, and are dealt with accordingly.
The story reveals that there are rebels, apparently equipped with Klingon disruptors, who are determined to overthrow the government. The Prime Directive prevents Starfleet, and the Enterprise from interfering in the cultural development of the planet, but with the possibility of the Klingons already seeking to disrupt the planet, they have a way in to help these people.
But there seems to be more going on than the crew is ready for, and not all of it is bad. Instead of Kirk being the focus of any romantic sub-plot, the story this time gives McCoy a romantic interest, which works nicely considering the things we learned about the character in Shadows On The Sun.
The revelations, once the story really kicks in, come fast and furious, and McCoy and Kirk have their work cut out for them, as they learn what is really going on here.
This is one of the novels that I could see in my head as I read them, and it looked, and played out like a classic episode. Hawke has a handle on the characters and their voices, and the story itself ends up being very engaging.
It’s unfortunate that Hawke only wrote one TOS novel (he did write two TNG novels so I have that to look forward to) as I quite like what he did with the story and how he let it play out. It was a lot of fun, and makes me look forward to more adventures with Kirk and company, as I continue to boldly go, because the Human Adventure is just beginning…