This week, I have a look at the second book in the Discovery series from Simon & Schuster through their Gallery imprint, Drastic Measures by Dayton Ward. Ward has written a number of Trek novels, across a number of series though this is the first one I’ve read.
That being said, I’m willing to give him a lot of leeway, his past history with Trek seems to suggest he knows what he’s talking about, and the idea for his novel feels sound. I just wasn’t completely wowed by its execution, it didn’t capture me like the Picard novels, and the previous Discovery novel, Desperate Hours.
But it feels like it should have been a bit of a surefire choice.
It’s 2246, ten years before the Battle at the Binary Stars and one of the defining moments in the life of James T. Kirk, not to mention Kevin Riley is about to take place on Tarsus IV. A fungal outbreak has contaminated the food, leaving the colony with dwindling resources. They are over-populated, having taken in a number of refugees from a bereft planet, and they are apparently, weeks away from any Starfleet and Federation help.
The electing body removes their governor, and installs a new one, Adrian Kodos. And one of his first acts will go down in history, and haunt a young Kirk (and Riley) for years, until they are able to resolve those feelings in The Original Series episode The Conscience of the King.
Kodos orders the execution of half of the population, so that the other half may survive until help arrives. Four thousand people are rounded up and summarily executed.
At the Starfleet outpost on Tarsus IV, Lt. Commander Gabriel Lorca is stunned and furious at the incident, and is determined to hunt down Kodos and bring him to justice.
And Starfleet is on the way, quicker than expected, with Commander Philippa Georgiou in charge of the relief efforts. Together the pair of them are going to work to find a way to make the colony sustainable again, stop the food contamination, and capture Kodos – who history says died on Tarsus IV (but as we know, escaped into space to assume a different kind of role).
As such, the story feels a little crippled in what can and can’t happen. You know the characters are going to brush up against a young boy named Kirk, you know that no matter how the story appears to play out, Kodos is going to escape, so the only thing that can really draw you in is the characters of Lorca and Georgiou.
Here, we’re given a lot of play room because of they way we interact with them in the first season of the series. So it’s cool to see Georgiou leading this mission, and Lorca, appears to be a bad ass in almost every incarnation of his character, but because fans know the history, there aren’t a lot of surprises to be had in the story – it’s more like filling in missing details, which is very cool, but doesn’t need to be a novel of this size.
Not my favorite entry in the Star Trek novels, but it does allow us to spend some time with Lorca and Georgiou, and fills in some canon moments nicely.
Next time, Saru is front and center as I explore more of Simon & Schuster’s Star Trek: Discovery series, with Fear Itself. Boldly go…