Sunday, September 30, 2018

Captain's Glory

Star Trek
Captain's Glory by William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Published August 2006
Read March 6th 2018


Previous book (Shatnerverse): Captain's Blood

Next book (Shatnerverse): Academy: Collision Course


Purchase:
Hardcover: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Spoilers ahead for Captain's Glory!

From the back cover:
With the civil war on Romulus averted, Kirk is finally free to seek out the truth behind the death of his oldest and closest friend. Was Spock killed by the shadowy organization known as the Totality? A generous offer from Starfleet provides him with the starship he needs in order to reach his goal. Their only proviso: that they can call on his help if they need him. But what happened to Spock is not Kirk's only worry: Joseph, his son, is rebelling wildly against the restrictions placed on him as the price of Romulan peace. Is the Totality somehow also linked to Joseph's rage? But before he can find the answers to either troubling question, Kirk receives a call from Admiral Janeway, telling him she needs him to save the Federation. Torn between his mission and his duty, the cause of the Federation must claim him one more time before he can turn his attention either to his friend or to his son. 
Pop culture icon William Shatner returns with another breathtaking Star Trek adventure in which both generations must battle an unstoppable enemy for the existence of all life in this galaxy – and beyond.

My thoughts:

At the end of the previous novel, Captain's Blood, Spock is seemingly killed by The Totality, led by Norinda, in their campaign to bring "love" to the universe and unite everyone within the Totality. In the time since that event, several Starfleet officers have gone missing, replaced by the Totality. Additionally, warp drives have been malfunctioning across the quadrant with disastrous results.

On Vulcan, Jim Kirk's son, Joseph, goes missing, leading the legendary captain on a quest to get him back. Meanwhile, Kirk is convinced that Spock is still alive, despite Starfleet's belief that he is, in fact, dead. However, there remains a tenuous link between Kirk and Spock, with the former seeming to hear the latter's voice in his head saying, "we're life, Jim, but not as they know it." The meaning behind this cryptic phrase will become clear towards the end of the novel.

I found myself surprised by how much I enjoyed Captain's Glory. Readers of my earlier reviews know that I'm not exactly the biggest fan of the "Shatnerverse" novels, with their rampant Kirk-worship and outlandish plots that serve to feed the "Kirk is a god" narrative. However, I found a lot to enjoy in this novel. It's almost a shame that this is the final Shatnerverse novel set in the 24th century.

Almost.

One aspect I very much enjoyed was the facing off between Picard and Kirk. I remember when Star Trek: Generations came out, and a number of fans were disappointed we didn't get the "superhero fight" between the two captains, each on a bridge facing each other down with starships. We do get that scene in Captain's Glory, and even though the premise of the scene does bug me, I truly enjoyed the psychology at play between the characters. They match each other move for move, and because the two of them know each other so well at this point, they each are able to get into the other's head and anticipate their next move. The result is a fun scenario that uses both of these characters to their full potentials.

Fans who were looking for a Kirk vs. Picard situation in Star Trek: Generations kind of get that in this novel. While they are still friends, there is a situation that is engineered to pit the famous captains against one another.

The revelation of the nature of the Totality was fascinating as well. The idea that they make up 96% of the universe while traditional matter makes up only 4% was a fun concept, and fits well with the ideas that scientists have today about dark matter. The fact that the motivation of the Totality is not one of evil but rather one of misunderstanding and good intentions is a very Star Trek idea.

Surprising to me as well were the tie-ins to other Star Trek books in Captain's Glory. I tend to think of the Shatnerverse novels as very separate from the rest of the litverse, so it was a pleasant surprise that Captain's Glory used so much of the rest of Trek literature to fill out the universe. We see Riker's crew aboard the U.S.S. Titan, including first officer Christine Vale, tactical officer Tuvok, helmsman Aili Lavena, and others. Additionally, there was a "blink and you'll miss it" reference to the Q Continuum novels by Greg Cox!

Final thoughts:

I suppose if the Shatnerverse novels set in the 24th century are to end, this is a good one to end on. Easily the strongest novel of the back half of the series, if not the entire series, Captain's Glory finally seems to get it right. I can't exactly say that I'll miss reading about the exploits of James T. Kirk in the 24th century, as I found many of the novels to be pretty sub-par. However, Captain's Glory is a fun exception with some great character moments and excellent ideas within its pages. A very strong note to end on. 4/5.


Also by Williams Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens:

More about Captain's Glory:

My next read:

At last, the final Star Trek novel penned by William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens: Academy: Collision Course.