Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Elusive Salvation

Star Trek: The Original Series
Elusive Salvation by Dayton Ward
Release date: April 26th 2016
Read May 18th 2016

Previous book (From History's Shadow-related): The Original Series: From History's Shadow

Previous book (The Original Series): The Latter Fire
Next book (From History's Shadow-related): The Next Generation: Hearts and Minds
Next book (The Original Series): Legacies, Book 1: Captain to Captain

Mass-market paperback: | |
E-book (Kindle): |

Spoilers ahead for Elusive Salvation!

Publisher's description:
An all-new Star Trek adventure across time—the latest of the acclaimed Original Series novels!

The Arctic Circle, 1845: Escaping the tyranny under which their people have lived for generations, aliens from a distant planet crash land on Earth’s inhospitable frozen wastes. Surviving the harsh conditions will pose a challenge, but over time the aliens will migrate to more populated areas, with decades passing as they work to conceal their presence from their former oppressors, who continue to hunt them at any cost.

San Francisco, 2283: When a mysterious craft is detected entering the solar system, Admiral James Kirk is dispatched by Starfleet to confront the vessel. He meets with an emissary from the Iramahl, a previously unknown alien race who have come in search of their brothers and sisters thought to have gone missing in this area of space centuries earlier. Having recently thrown off the last chains of subjugation by another species, the Ptaen, they now believe their lost people hold the key to saving their entire race from eventual extinction.

New York, 1970: Roberta Lincoln, young protégé of the mysterious agent Gary Seven, is shocked when she receives the oddest request for help—from the future…

My thoughts:

When it was announced that Dayton Ward would be writing a sequel to his wonderful From History's Shadow (which I loved, I think it's fair to say), I was pretty happy. In fact, in my review of that novel, I opined that a sequel would be most welcome. However, I did wonder how he would be able to craft another story of the same style, when the previous book covered so much with regards to time travel and alien visitations during Earth's 20th century. Would there be enough material for a sequel?

This goes to show why he writes the books, and I just read 'em.

My fears were completely unfounded, and Elusive Salvation proves once again both Dayton Ward's writing acumen and wonderful imagination. He has crafted another fascinating tale, featuring the return of many of the characters in From History's Shadow, including Mestral and Wainwright. However, the true star of the story is the intrepid Roberta Lincoln, shown here at a point in her career much later than our introduction to her in "Assignment: Earth." Here, she is a seasoned veteran who is very competent and comfortable in her role, even in the absence of Gary Seven. This was a character turn that was really great to see.

A more seasoned and experienced Roberta Lincoln features in Elusive Salvation.

Also great to see is a return to the movie-era of Star Trek. Don't get me wrong, I love five-year mission stories, but there's just something about an adventure featuring a more seasoned crew wearing the monster maroon uniforms (when they're not undercover mucking about in Earth's past). Kirk's characterization is also on point here, showing his maverick side, unafraid to jump feet first into a situation and ask permission later.

Admiral Kirk (and his monster maroon uniform) leads the action in Elusive Salvation.

The tone that Ward is able to convey, especially during the scenes set in the past, make Elusive Salvation a really great read. The feeling of paranoia and mystery evokes the same feelings I get when I watch The X-Files; the mysterious goings-on that feel right at home to our Star Trek heroes are strange and alien to the denizens of the 20th century. This is one area in which I felt that From History's Shadow excelled a little more than Elusive Salvation, but the book comes very close to replicating that same atmosphere.

Finally, I love where Dayton leaves the story at the end. I won't spoil the last line here, but for the record, it's a doozy. It comes completely out of left field, but makes a surprising amount of sense. It has the effect of tying together the disparate worlds of 20th century black ops and secret programs with the world of the future and the United Federation of Planets. If you have read the story, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you haven't, you're in for a pretty cool surprise!

Final thoughts:

An excellent entry in Dayton Ward's body of Star Trek work, Elusive Salvation is a worthy successor to From History's Shadow. Evoking that same feeling of mystery and intrigue from a unique 20th century perspective, the story is different enough from a typical Trek adventure to truly pique my interest. With the author announcing yet another follow-up to this storyline, this time with the crew of The Next Generation, it looks as though we will be getting stories in a similar vein for at least the next little while!

Because, that last line... wow.

More about Elusive Salvation:

Also by Dayton Ward:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Next up, a Deep Space Nine novel featuring the antics of Chief O'Brien and Lt. Commander Nog: it's Force and Motion by Jeffrey Lang!

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