Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lesser Evil

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Mission Gamma, Book Four of Four
Lesser Evil by Robert Simpson
Published October 2002
Read February 23rd 2014

Previous book (Deep Space Nine): Mission Gamma, Book Three: Cathedral
Next book (Deep Space Nine): Rising Son

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E-book (Kindle): | |

Spoilers ahead for Lesser Evil, Mission Gamma, and the rest of the Deep Space Nine relaunch!

From the back cover:
Chaos erupts aboard Deep Space 9 as the crew begins a desperate search for a killer in their midst, catapulting Colonel Kira Nerys on a dangerous chase into the heart of the Federation. But the crime she seeks to avenge is part of a plot more ancient and far-reaching than anyone suspects, and that secret, if exposed, could divide worlds throughout the Alpha Quadrant.
Meanwhile, as the starship Defiant makes its way back toward the wormhole and home to DS9, a startling discovery shakes Commander Elias Vaughn to his core and brings to light the truth behind the most tragic mission of his long life. As the crew struggles with the implications of what they've found, their captain's judgment comes into question… and casts doubt on the final outcome of their historic voyage through the Gamma Quadrant.

My thoughts:

Lesser Evil is somewhat of a departure from the previous three novels in the Mission Gamma series. Whereas the previous novels in the series had a high page count, Lesser Evil is significantly thinner, and also has a larger typeface. However, the shorter length means a faster pace, which actually serves the story quite well.

Kira once again dons a Starfleet uniform and accompanies the Gryphon on a mission to capture Shakaar's assassin.
Once again, the narrative is divided between two settings: the Defiant mission in the gamma quadrant, and the on-going story back on Deep Space Nine. At the conclusion of Cathedral, Bajoran first minister Shakaar Edon is assassinated by the security officer who came with the Trill delegation to DS9. In Lesser Evil, we learn the reason behind that attack. Shakaar was not really Shakaar at all; rather, he had been taken over by a bug-like parasite, apparently the same species that nearly took over the Federation during the first season of The Next Generation. Colonel Kira must face down an officer who has been taken over by another parasite as she races toward Trill aboard the U.S.S. Gryphon.

The parasites from "Conspiracy" return to wreak havoc on Deep Space Nine and the Federation.
Meanwhile, in the gamma quadrant, the Defiant comes across a startling discovery: a crashed vessel that was infiltrated by the Borg. Faced with the alarming possibility of the Borg having encountered the Dominion, Vaughn's crew urges him to make for the wormhole and report their findings to Starfleet. However, Vaughn has a much more personal stake in the matter when he discovers a connection to a mission he ordered years earlier, which threatens to tear his newly-renewed relationship with his daughter asunder.

As I mentioned above, the faster pace in this novel serves the story. I particularly enjoyed the story of Kira aboard the Gryphon. The reintroduction of the parasites is an interesting twist, and I feel that they are handled much better here than in the episode in which they were featured. My one complaint about this story is how easily Kira was duped, as I had figured out one particular plot twist well ahead of its revelation.

The gamma quadrant story is a little slower and strains credibility somewhat, but was still interesting enough. My favorite part occurred after the main story had wrapped up, when the Defiant comes across some unexpected characters in what is an intriguing set-up for stories to come.

Final thoughts:

A faster-paced story that ups the stakes for future stories in the Deep Space Nine relaunch. Some good character moments for Vaughn and his daughter, Prynn, but the real meat of this story comes in the DS9 portions. The re-introduction of the parasites from TNG's "Conspiracy" makes for some exciting prospects for stories to come. Maybe not quite as satisfying a story as the previous entries in the Mission Gamma mini-series, but still a very solid effort and a fun read. I'm very excited for where the story goes from here!

More about Lesser Evil:

My next read:

My next review will be for this month's new release, Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel by Christopher L. Bennett. I've been looking forward to this one for some time!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

New interview with Greg Cox, author of No Time Like the Past!

We have another new interview over at Recently, I spoke with New York Times Bestselling Author Greg Cox, author of many fine Star Trek novels, and the man who brought you last month's The Original Series: No Time Like the Past, an exciting adventure bringing two generations together! Click here to be taken to the interview, and check out the reviews of written on a few of his other novels below!

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E-book (Kindle): | |

Also by Greg Cox:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Release Day! Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel by Christopher L. Bennett

A much-anticipated new release this month: Christopher L. Bennett's Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel!

Following up on last year's Rise of the Federation: A Choice of Futures, Tower of Babel continues the story of the early years of the United Federation of Planets. Check out the cover and back-cover blurb below, along with purchasing links!

My review of Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Publisher's description:
The United Federation of Planets has weathered its first major crisis, but its growing pains are just beginning. Admiral Jonathan Archer hopes to bring the diverse inhabitants of the powerful and prosperous Rigel system into the Federation, jump-starting the young nation's growth and stabilizing a key sector of space. Archer and the Federation's top diplomats journey to the planetoid Babel to debate Rigel's admission…but a looming presidential race heats up the ideological divide within the young nation, jeopardizing the talks and threatening to undo the fragile unity Archer has worked so hard to preserve. 
Meanwhile, the sinister Orion Syndicate recruits new allies of its own, seeking to beat the Federation at its own game. Determined to keep Rigel out of the union, they help a hostile Rigelian faction capture sensitive state secrets along with Starfleet hostages, including a young officer with a vital destiny. Captain Malcolm Reed, Captain T'Pol, and their courageous crews must now brave the wonders and dangers of Rigel's many worlds to track down the captives before the system is plunged into all-out war.

Purchase Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel:

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E-book (Kindle): | |

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Beautiful new cover for Seasons of Light and Darkness!

April 28th sees another e-book exclusive released by Simon & Schuster! The cover for Seasons of Light and Darkness by Michael A. Martin has just been revealed, and it's a beautiful portrait of my favorite Star Trek starship design, the refit Enterprise NCC-1701! Check it out below!

No "blurb" has yet been released, but we do know that the story takes place around the time of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and features Dr. McCoy as the starring character. Keep an eye out for this e-book, coming at the end of April. And use the links below to pre-order it from Amazon, and help out Trek Lit Reviews!

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Serpents Among the Ruins

Star Trek: The Lost Era
Serpents Among the Ruins by David R. George III
Published September 2003
Read February 11th 2014

Previous book (The Lost Era): The Sundered
Next book (The Lost Era): The Art of the Impossible
Next book (Enterprise-B Adventures): One Constant Star

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E-book (Kindle): | |

Spoilers ahead for Serpents Among the Ruins!

From the back cover:
It is a year of infamy, a year that later generations will remember as one that altered the course of history at the cost of thousands of lives. It is the year of the Tomed Incident, and its tale can at last be told.
In the midst of escalating political tensions among the Klingons, the Romulans, and the Federation, Starfleet goes forward with the inaugural flight of Universe, a prototype starship that promises to revolutionize space exploration. But the Universe experiment results in disaster, ravaging a region of space dangerously close to the Romulan Star Empire, apparently confirming suspicions that the Federation has begun testing a weapon of mass destruction.
As the military buildup accelerates on both sides of the Neutral Zone, Captain John Harriman of the Federation flagship U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-B is fated for a final confrontation with his oldest enemy at a flashpoint in history -- with the Beta Quadrant one wrong move from the outbreak of total war.

Serpents Among the Ruins features the voyages of the Enterprise-B under the command of Captain John Harriman.
My thoughts:

The Tomed Incident. First mentioned in the TNG season one finale, "The Neutral Zone," it was reportedly the last known contact between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire (minus a ret-conned encounter between the Enterprise-C and Romulan forces attacking a Klingon outpost at Narendra III). What could possibly have happened to make the Romulans retreat behind their borders and avoid contact with the Federation for decades? In Serpents Among the Ruins, we find out the answer to that question.

Never let it be said that David R. George III can't craft a compelling and engrossing story. From the first page, Serpents Among the Ruins grabbed my attention and held it. He does an excellent job at showing us a quadrant on the brink of warfare, a veritable powder keg waiting for the smallest spark to set it off. It is in this volatile environment that Captain Harriman finds himself. Both the architect and the engineer of a complicated operation to counter the Romulan threat, Harriman gambles with the lives of people on both sides of the conflict.

Captain Harriman's character recovers somewhat from his embarrassing ordeal in Star Trek: Generations.
Serpents Among the Ruins continues what I like to call the redemption of the character of Captain John Harriman. This process was begun in Peter David's novel The Captain's Daughter, where we finally get to see Harriman as a competent captain rather than the one-note foil for the awesomeness of James T. Kirk in Generations. Here, we see a veteran captain who has commanded the Enterprise for the past 18 years.

Where Serpents Among the Ruins kind of falls down a bit (for me, at least) is the cynicism with which it portrays the Federation and its dealings with its neighbors. The operation that Harriman undertakes is a massive deception which implicates the Romulan Empire in the deaths of Federation citizens. While I understand that the world is generally a messier place than we'd like it to be, Star Trek has tended to be above that. When the conspiracy became apparent in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, it was understood to be the work of a few rogue elements within the Federation. However, Harriman's deception in Serpents has the approval and blessing of Starfleet and the Federation. This, to me, is somewhat problematic. However, if we take as granted the repeated assertion that the Federation is on the brink of war and that nothing short of the plan we see in the novel would have stopped it, it becomes somewhat more palatable.

Azetbur, Chancellor of the Klingon Empire.
This is not to say that Serpents Among the Ruins is not entertaining! Of the original run of Lost Era books, Serpents remains my favorite (with the possible exception of Keith DeCandido's The Art of the Impossible). This novel is a rollicking adventure that doesn't let up until the final page is turned. David writes great scenes for all of the characters, including a lot of the secondaries such as Romulan ambassador Gell Kamemor and Klingon Chancellor Azetbur. I had a hard time putting this one down in the wee hours of the morning.

Final thoughts:

A great, fast-paced story of political intrigue and covert operations. Non-stop from cover to cover, Serpents Among the Ruins was a lot of fun to read. Some Star Trek fans might balk at the morality of the overall plan by the Federation, but if you can get past that bit of unpleasantness, Serpents is a truly great read.

Further resources:

Also by David R. George III:

My next read:

Next up, I continue my re-read of the Deep Space Nine relaunch with the final entry in Mission Gamma: Lesser Evil by Robert Simpson.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

No Time Like the Past

Star Trek: The Original Series
No Time Like the Past by Greg Cox
Release date: February 25th, 2014
Read March 1st 2014

Previous book (The Original Series): From History's Shadow
Next book (The Original Series): Seasons of Light and Darkness (e-book)

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Purchase (Kindle): | |

Spoilers ahead for No Time Like the Past!

From the back cover:
STARDATE 6122.5. A diplomatic mission to the planet Yusub erupts in violence when ruthless Orion raiders attempt to disrupt the crucial negotiations by force. Caught in the midst of a tense and dangerous situation, Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise finds an unexpected ally in the form of an enigmatic stranger who calls herself “Annika Seven.” 
STARDATE 53786.1. Seven of Nine is taking part in an archaeological expedition on an obscure planetoid in the Delta Quadrant when a disastrous turn of events puts Voyager’s away team in jeopardy -- and transports Seven across time and space to Yusub, where she comes face-to-face with one of Starfleet’s greatest legends. 
STARDATE 6122.5. Kirk knows better than most the danger that even a single castaway from the future can pose to the timeline, so he and Seven embark on a hazardous quest to return her to her own era. But there are others who crave the knowledge Seven possesses, and they will stop at nothing to obtain it -- even if this means seizing control of the Enterprise!

My thoughts:

I will freely admit that when I first heard about the concept behind this novel, I was skeptical. Seven of Nine travels back in time for an adventure with Captain Kirk and the original Star Trek characters? Doesn't that seem a little... fan-wanky?

Generations meet as Seven of Nine is
thrust back in time to the 23rd century.
I should have known better than to doubt a veteran of Star Trek writing such as Greg Cox! After reading No Time Like the Past following its release last month, I found that I had to eat my words. Mr. Cox has crafted a terrific story that is both fun and realistic despite the fantastical premise.

In fact, while reading No Time Like the Past, I remembered why the novel is such an excellent medium for Star Trek. In 1996, we got an episode that was unprecedented: Deep Space Nine's "Trials and Tribble-ations" showed us a crossover between DS9 and the original series. While that episode was ground-breaking and incredibly well-done, it still suffered from one inescapable limitation: no new footage of Captain Kirk and the rest of the original cast could be created. However, in the case of the novels, the action is limited only by the writer's imagination. So, while on the face of it the idea of Seven interacting with Kirk and company seems silly, with the right author at the helm, the end result is excellent.

The society of the infamous half-black/half-white aliens
from the episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is
explored in No Time Like the Past.
With regards to the plot of No Time Like the Past, the story is a fun romp through some of the highlights of Kirk's original five-year mission. In the pursuit of the solution to the puzzle that will allow Seven to return to her own time, we are taken first to Gamma Trianguli VI. Home of the machine-god Vaal, Gamma Trianguli VI was first seen in the episode "The Apple." From there, we get to visit Cheron, the planet of Bele and Lokai from the episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield." It is in this part of the book that I found the most enjoyment. Cox's exploration of Cheronian society is excellent, and I really enjoyed the deeper look into this strange culture that ultimately destroyed itself due to race-based hatred. Finally, we get to revisit Sarpeidon, site of another time-bending adventure, the TOS episode "All Our Yesterdays." Cox's love of the original Star Trek is apparent as he ties together a number of different adventures to craft his tale.

Greg Cox makes good use of the Orions as the villains of the piece. While the primary antagonist feels a little one-note at times, it was nice to see the Orions used instead of the usual stand-bys, the Klingons and the Romulans. Personally, I would love to see a little more exploration of Orion culture in the novels.

One other note that I would like to add: something that's been missing from Trek lit that I think would be welcome is further adventures set during the respective television series' timelines other than The Original Series. With No Time Like the Past, we get a taste of what that would be like with Seven of Nine and the Voyager crew. It was definitely enjoyable, and I have to think that there would be a market for more novels set during the run of TNG, DS9, or Voyager. The problem, of course, is what do you set to the side to make room for those stories? I would not want to give up the shared continuity we've been enjoying lately in the 24th century, nor would I like to lose some of the more unique series on the go at the moment such as Titan, Rise of the Federation, or the upcoming Seekers.

Final thoughts:

Great interactions between Seven and the classic Trek crew make this novel a memorable one. Greg Cox really captures the voices of the original cast as well as that of Seven of Nine, and the interplay between Seven and the TOS crew felt very genuine. Additionally, revisiting some of the "greatest hits" of the original series is an interesting concept that plays out well. I especially enjoyed the exploration of the culture of Cheron.

Greg Cox has certainly shown a penchant for unique time-twisting adventures that are sure to make the most stalwart Temporal Investigations agent blanch in horror. Whenever you open a Greg Cox novel, you can be sure that a fun time will be had! No Time Like the Past marks another excellent entry into his catalogue, and I'm looking forward to his next novel, due out at the end of this year!

More about No Time Like the Past:

Also by Greg Cox:

My next read:

Next up, in preparation for his Lost Era novel coming out later this year, I will be reviewing David R. George III's first Lost Era novel, Serpents Among the Ruins. Coming soon!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Interview with Kirsten Beyer, author of Voyager: Protectors!

Another new interview over at, this time with New York Times Bestselling Author Kirsten Beyer, author of last month's Voyager: Protectors. Click here to be taken to the interview, and check out my reviews of her other novels below!

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E-book (Kindle): | |

Also by Kirsten Beyer:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

New Interview! Dayton Ward on The Fall: Peaceable Kingdoms

Happy Sunday everyone! We have a new interview for you over on Dayton Ward, author of many great Star Trek novels, spoke with me about his latest novel, the final novel of The Fall, Peaceable Kingdoms. Click here to check it out!

Click here to be taken to my review of Peaceable Kingdoms. If you haven't read it yet, links to purchase it from Amazon are below!

Purchase (MMPB): | |
Purchase (Kindle): | |

Also by Dayton Ward: