Monday, December 12, 2016

Best Defense

Star Trek: Legacies
Book 2 of 3
Best Defense by David Mack
Release date: July 26th 2016
Read August 17th 2016

Previous book (Legacies): Book 1: Captain to Captain

Next book (Legacies): Book 3: Purgatory's Key

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

Spoilers ahead for Best Defense!

Publisher's description:
Just in time for the milestone 50th Anniversary of Star Trek: The Original Series, an epic new trilogy that stretches from the earliest voyages of the Starship Enterprise to Captain Kirk’s historic five-year-mission—and from one universe to another!

A debt of honor: One brave woman ventures alone into a parallel universe to save her old shipmates, exiled there decades earlier by a mysterious device called the Transfer Key. She soon learns the alternate universe harbors not just an alien invasion force, but a secret that underpins its very existence.

A mission of peace: A long-awaited Klingon-Federation peace conference convenes, led by Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan and Councillor Gorkon of Qo’noS. But both sides have enemies who would prefer the two great powers remain at war—and who will do anything to make certain hate wins the day.

An errand of justice: Captain Kirk and his crew seek the stolen Transfer Key that opens a door between universes, but their hunt is cut short by Ambassador Sarek’s plea for help. The Enterprise crew soon becomes targets in a deadly crossfire—one whose outcome will decide the fate of two universes.

My thoughts:

David Mack truly is a treasure in the pantheon of Star Trek novel writers working today. His stories are always entertaining with a depth to them that is very much appreciated. The second book of the Legacies trilogy, Best Defense, is no exception to this.

With Captain Una having traveled to a parallel dimension to rescue her crewmates, lost on a landing party eighteen years earlier, the Enterprise turns its attention to keeping relations friendly with the Klingons. They are ordered to New Athens on the planet Centaurus, where a peace conference is being held between Ambassador Sarek of the Federation and Councillor Gorkon of the Klingon Empire. Of course, various factions are doing their best to see to it that the conference fails, including the Romulans who absconded with the Transfer Key at the end of Captain to Captain.

The Romulans, equipped with the Jatohr transfer key, disrupt the Federation/Klingon peace talks on Centaurus.

The story is well-balanced between Una's experiences in the strange, twilight-esque netherworld of the other universe and the action and character drama of the crew's experience on Centaurus. The parallel universe is very fascinating, with the descriptions of the events there evoking a strange, almost dream-like quality. Time and space seem to operate very differently there, and the experiences of Una and the others in that reality were conveyed very well by the author.

On Centaurus, we get the main action and character development of the novel. Not only do we get some interesting character work with Sarek and Amanda, Spock's parents, but also with Joanna McCoy, Dr. McCoy's daughter who is attending university in New Athens. The peace conference comes under attack by the Romulan Bird-of-Prey equipped with the Jatohr transfer key technology, and several characters are transported into the other reality, including Ambassador Sarek, Joanne McCoy, and Councillor Gorkon, who is initially thought to have been killed. This part of the book was written in the fine tradition of some of David Mack's best action pieces, and was a lot of fun to read.

I loved the exploration of the relationship between Bones and his daughter. There was a surprising amount of emotional weight to this story, and it caught me a little off guard. Joanna is a fascinating character about whom I would like to know a lot more. Her relationship with Dr. McCoy is compelling, and something I would love to see more of. She does appear in an earlier TOS novel, Crisis on Centaurus, which I have not yet had the opportunity to read. I might just have to move it up in the list!

Joanna McCoy, from the cover of Crisis on Centaurus, another novel featuring this character.

Final thoughts:

A strong middle book for the Legacies trilogy! Many of the issues I had with the first book in the series have been improved upon a great deal in Best Defense. Both the action and the character work are terrific, and David Mack has written a great Star Trek story. I still have a few issues with the idea of the "transfer key" and the plot device of it being handed down from captain to captain, but the story was strong and quite entertaining. Five out of five!

More about Best Defense:

Also by David Mack:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

The final book of the Legacies trilogy: Book 3: Purgatory's Key by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore!

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