Star Trek: Recovery (1995) – J.M. Dillard

Space the final frontier…

J.M. Dillard delivers the fourth and final instalment of The Lost Years saga this week, a series of novels she started that cover the time frame between the end of The Original Series and The Motion Picture. This time out, pieces are being moved into position for where we find them at the beginning of the first film while telling an adventure tale at the same time.

Admiral Kirk is getting ready to tell Admiral Nogura that he wants command of a starship back, he’s tired of the desk work that he’s been doing at Starfleet Command. His aide Kevin Riley is rethinking his life, Spock is on Vulcan preparing for Kolinhar, and Doctor McCoy is missing his friend, Kirk, but unsure how to reach out to him after his confrontation with Nogura in the first book.

A newly designed, automated starship, the Recovery, created for rescues, medical emergencies and evacuations is entering its final testing phase. Overseeing the event on the U.S.S. Paladin is Admiral Kirk, while Riley helps out in the demonstration, Unbeknownst to Kirk, McCoy is a civilian observer aboard the Recovery.

When the tests don’t go to plan, the ship’s creator, Dr. Shulman, also aboard the Recovery, seems to go mad, and begins attacking the observing scientists, while the ship flees towards Tholian space.

On the Recovery, Riley, McCoy and a few survivors must find a way to outwit Shulman, while Kirk, in pursuit aboard the Paladin, must find a way to stop the prototype before it reaches Tholian space, creating an international incident that could lead to galactic war.

But is there more going on here? and will our heroes be able to figure it out?

Dillard delivers a fast-paced story that is woven into the fabric of the Trek universe drawing on its huge history, and tying it in with things that have happened, and events we know are coming. One could make the argument that this is Dillard’s best Trek book to date, and they wouldn’t be wrong.

I enjoy how she writes all the main characters, and how she ties in Spock to the story, even though he has nothing, really, to do with it, as he remains on Vulcan preparing to separate himself from everyone in his pursuit of expunging his emotional side completely.

It’s a great tale, filling in a piece of Trek history nicely, as the Human Adventure continues, and the Enterprise is on the horizon, preparing to boldly go. The pieces are all on the table, and somewhere, out there, at the edge of space, a cloud containing V’ger is making its way towards Earth.

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