Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Seekers #2

Star Trek: Seekers #2
Point of Divergence by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
Story by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore and David Mack
Release date: August 26th 2014
Read September 5th 2014

Previous book (Seekers): #1: Second Nature

Next book (Seekers):

Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Kindle: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Spoilers ahead for Seekers #1, #2, and the Vanguard series!

From the back cover:
The Taurus Reach. Once the conquered realm of a powerful alien species, this region remains largely shrouded in mystery even as it brims with potential for exploration and colonization. The Federation has sent in two of its finest starships on a quest to uncover the secrets it may yet hold...
The Tomol are a primitive civilization occupying a lone island on a remote world. Their culture is an enigma, centered on every member’s commitment to a painful, fiery self-sacrifice upon reaching maturity. But one of their clan has shunned this obligation, triggering a transformation into a new, powerful life form. Answering the distress call of the U.S.S. Sagittarius—which has crashed on the planet following a fierce battle with the Klingons—Captain Atish Khatami and the crew of the Starship Endeavour must now attempt a rescue mission…even as they are locked in battle with the evolving, increasingly malevolent Tomol who, if allowed to escape their home world, pose an imminent threat to the entire galaxy!

My thoughts:

Among my favorite aspects of Star Trek: Vanguard were the dual crews of the U.S.S. Sagittarius and the U.S.S. Endeavour. The Sagittarius, a small Archer-class scout, was quite unlike any other Starfleet vessel seen on Trek before. The other, the Endeavour, was a little more familiar: a Constitution-class heavy cruiser like the Enterprise. The Endeavour takes center seat in this, the second of the Seekers novels.

The U.S.S. Endeavour is the focus of Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore's entries in the Seekers series.
There is a great deal to like about this novel. The writing team of Ward and Dilmore is back writing Trek together again for the first time since Vanguard: What Judgments Come back in 2011. Together they have crafted a solid second entry in this fledgling series, topping off an exciting story with a conclusion that is ultimately quite satisfying.

Much like the previous novel, one area in which this book excels is with the character work. The relationships between the characters are a joy to read, particularly the interplay between Dr. Leone and nearly every other character. Also a treat was the captain to captain relationship that developed between Captain Khatami of the Endeavour and the Klingon Captain Kang. The grudging respect that Kang initially shows towards Khatami evolves into a true recognition of her skill and honor as a ship master, and I loved Kang's comparisons of Khatami and Kirk.

The legendary Kang is the Klingon foil to Captain Atish Khatami in Seekers #2: Point of Divergence.
The pacing of the novel is quite good, and I found that I finished it quite quickly. It was a little slower than book one, but still a very engaging and a fun read. While the action sequences aren't quite as nail-biting as the ones in Mack's Second Nature, I still found the story very gripping.

I very much enjoyed the twist with regards to the nature of the Tomol and the role that both the Shedai and the Preservers played in their history. The end of the novel and the resolution to the Tomol crisis had a very Star Trek feel to it, in the best sense of the term. Throughout both books, the Changed among the Tomol have been set up as an implacable foe with no discernible reason governing their actions. However, the final resolution shows that even the most fearsome enemy can be reasoned with, and that there is no such thing as absolute evil. As I mentioned above, it is a very Star Trek ending.

Blink and you'll miss it:

On page 214, keep an eye out for a reference to Fight Club. It's not exactly subtle, but it was still a pretty cool reference to catch.

Final thoughts:

As usual, a very fun, well-paced outing from the team of Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore. With the conclusion of this two-part story, the Sagittarius and the Endeavour are ready to head out on their dual missions of exploration in the Taurus Reach. If this story is any indication, I am very much going to enjoy following these crews on their voyage into the unknown. More Seekers, please!

Further resources:

TrekBBS dicussion and review thread for Seekers #2

Also by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore:

Star Trek: Vanguard: What Judgments Come (2011)
Star Trek: S.C.E. #4: Interphase, Part One (2001)
Star Trek: S.C.E. #5: Interphase, Part Two (2001)

My next read:

Coming up: The new Deep Space Nine e-book novella by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann: Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found)!

Friday, September 12, 2014

We're on Facebook and Twitter, Too!

Hey everyone, just a quick post to let you know that Trek Lit Reviews is also on Facebook and Twitter, where you'll find posts that go beyond the usual reviews and release announcements here on the blog. Go ahead and check them out, and give us a like and a follow if you're so inclined!

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Klingon Art of War

The Klingon Art of War: Ancient Principles of Ruthless Honor
Translated from the original Klingon by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Release date: May 6th 2014
Read July 8th 2014

Hardcover: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

From the back cover:
Passed down from the time of Kahless, ten precepts have shaped Klingon culture and indoctrinated Klingons in the Way of the Warrior. With this new translation, people from all walks of life-and all worlds-can harness the ancient Klingon wisdom and learn to embody courage, discipline, and honor. 

My thoughts:

The Klingon Art of War
 (or qeS'a' in Klingon) marks an occasion I have been waiting for for some time: the return of Keith R.A. DeCandido to Trek lit... sort of. I mean, this book isn't exactly a Star Trek novel, but it is a work of fiction. An in-universe reference book, if you will. But boy is it tempting to call it non-fiction!

Using examples from throughout the history of the Klingon civilization, the book's "author," renowned novelist K'Ratak, dispenses sage wisdom for Klingons and non-Klingons alike, and for both warriors and non-warriors. The precepts and their implications are meant to be used by people from all walks of life, from the warrior on the deck of a Vor'cha-class attack cruiser to a well-known author dealing with his critics!

I very much enjoyed the "voice" of K'Ratak as he relays the original stories behind the precepts, as well as his own "author commentary" on each precept and the morals it conveys. I especially enjoyed the stories he told of his own life and times in which the lessons of the qeS'a' informed his behaviour. This was the perfect project for Klingon expert DeCandido. I have not yet read his I.K.S. Gorkon/Klingon Empire novels, but after reading this book, I realize that they have to be made a priority in the near future.

The references in the book to the wider Star Trek literature world are very welcome, including mention of the Typhon Pact, indicating that the book is written contemporaneous to the current post-Nemesis 24th century novel continuity. I love it when the lit-verse and canon Trek come together in these supplemental works. As much as I enjoyed Federation: The First 150 Years from a couple of years ago, I was disappointed when it didn't completely mesh with the modern novels. The Klingon Art of War does much better in this area.

Finally, the art work at the beginning of each chapter is very well done, and perfectly fitting for this book. The style and layout is fun to read, and I recommend The Klingon Art of War for any fan of Trek and the Klingons!

Further resources:

TrekBBS Discussion and Review Thread for The Klingon Art of War
Podcast: Literary Treks 62: From the Time of Kahless (Discussing The Klingon Art of War with Keith R.A. DeCandido)

Also by Keith R.A. DeCandido:

Star Trek: S.C.E. #2: Fatal Error (2000)
Star Trek: S.C.E. #6: Cold Fusion (2001)
Star Trek: S.C.E. #7: Invincible, Part One of Two with David Mack (2001)
Star Trek: S.C.E. #8: Invincible, Part Two of Two with David Mack (2001)
Gateways, Book Four: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Demons of Air and Darkness (2001)
"Horn and Ivory" from Star Trek: Gateways, Book Seven: What Lay Beyond (2001)

The Klingon Art of War (2014)

My next read:

Next up is my review of Seekers #2: Point of Divergence by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cover for November's Foul Deeds Will Rise!

We have a new cover to reveal today! The end of November sees the release of a new TOS novel set during the period between Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Behold,  Foul Deeds Will Rise by Greg Cox. A nicely chosen Shakespearean title, and a beautiful cover to go with it!

Check it out below, along with the publisher's description and links to pre-order from Amazon!

2288. The U.S.S Enterprise-A is on a vital peacekeeping mission in a remote solar system beyond the boundaries of the Federation, where two warring planets—Pavak and Oyolo—are attempting to end years of bitter conflict. Crucial peace talks are being conducted aboard the Enterprise, even as Starfleet weapons inspectors oversee the disarmament process. Losses and atrocities on both sides have left plenty of hard feelings behind, so Captain James T. Kirk has his work cut out for him, even as he unexpectedly runs into a disturbing figure from his past: Lenore Karidian.
Twenty years ago, the deadly daughter of Kodos the Executioner tried to kill Kirk, but she has since been declared sane and rehabilitated. Kirk wants to give her the benefit of the doubt and a second chance at life, but when a mysterious assassination threatens the already fragile peace process, all clues point toward Lenore–and the future of two worlds hangs in the balance.

Purchasing links:

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

Monday, September 1, 2014

Release Day! DS9: Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found)

Today, the first offering from Pocket Books to have the banner title "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" since 2009 is released: the e-book exclusive novella, Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found) by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann. Although no strangers to Star Trek publishing, this is their first foray into Trek fiction!

Check out the cover and publisher's description below, along with purchasing links! By clicking those links and ordering through us, you help support Trek Lit Reviews. Thanks!

Publisher's description:

Business is down at Quark’s Public House, CafĂ©, Gaming Emporium, Holosuite Arcade, and Ferengi Embassy to Bajor. Way down. Lower level of hell down. The station is bustling, but residents and visitors are spending more time (and latinum) at the new Deep Space 9's park, sports fields, theater, swimming complex, and who knows what else, than they are at Quark’s establishment. All of Quark's misfortunes just could be reversed, however, when he finds out that one of the steamiest holonovels to hit the Alpha Quadrant in years is up for grabs. And he has an inroad to acquiring it before anyone else. Or does he?

Purchase Deep Space Nine: Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found):

E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Next Release: Voyager: Acts of Contrition

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Seekers #1

Star Trek: Seekers #1
Second Nature by David Mack
Story by David Mack and Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
Release date: July 21st 2014
Read July 31st 2014

First in a new series! Leaves off from Vanguard: Storming Heaven

Next book (Seekers): #2: Point of Divergence

Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Kindle: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Spoilers ahead for Seekers #1 and the Vanguard series!

From the back cover:
An all-new Star Trek series begins! 
The late twenty-third century—Starfleet’s golden age of exploration. Desperate to stay one step ahead of its rivals, the Federation sends two starships, the scout Sagittarius and the cruiser Endeavour, to plumb the secrets of the vast region known as the Taurus Reach.
Drawn by mysterious energy readings to a lush green world, the crew of the Sagittarius find the Tomol: a species whose members all commit ritual suicide just as they reach the cusp of adulthood.
The crew of the Sagittarius wants to save the Tomol from their cycle of self-destruction, but first they’ll need to save themselves—from the most nefarious Klingon starship commander in history.

My thoughts:

Here it is: one of the most anticipated new Star Trek novels of the year: the first instalment of the all-new series, Seekers. How does it fare?

To start with, a bit of history of Seekers. After the end of the incredibly great Vanguard series, David Mack, Dayton Ward, and Kevin Dilmore were inspired by the art of Rob Caswell, who had done a series of faux covers in the style of the old James Blish Star Trek novels, which he titled The Seekers. These covers featured an Archer-class ship, just like the U.S.S. Sagittarius from Vanguard. At the end of the Vanguard series, the Sagittarius and the Endeavour were both sent out on missions of exploration in the Taurus Reach. These missions would serve as the backdrop for this new series, Star Trek: Seekers. Because of the inspiration his work had provided, not to mention the high quality of it, Caswell was invited to create the covers for the Seekers novels!

In the Seekers novel series, David Mack's novels feature the U.S.S. Sagittarius, while the novels penned by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore will showcase the U.S.S. Endeavour.

Seekers #1 is an exciting beginning to this new series. Bringing together characters we're familiar with from Vanguard along with a few new faces, the story serves as an excellent re-introduction to the Sagittarius. Under the command of Captain Clark Terrell (later seen as the commanding officer of the U.S.S. Reliant in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), the Sagittarius is unlike any of the other Starfleet vessels featured in novels or on televised Trek. Much smaller than the larger Constitution-class starships, the Archer-class scout is only a few decks tall and features some very cramped quarters, in every sense of the word. The crew dynamic is much more laid-back than the reader might be used to. With a much smaller crew, the Sagittarius seems to boast a much more informal command structure. This leads to some interesting interactions among the crew, which some readers may find a little jarring.

The story itself is a fascinating one. We're introduced to the Tomol, a species with a surprising dark side. Just as its members reach adulthood, they commit ritual suicide by casting themselves into a fire pit. The society teaches that this is necessary, and most of the Tomol don't question it. However, one Tomol resists and manages to evade being cast into the pit (with the help of some Klingon interlopers). Turning the Trek trope of "we know better than you, and your quaint beliefs are wrong" on its head, it turns out that this ritual suicide might be a good idea after all; Nimur, the Tomol who escapes the fires, undergoes a frightening metamorphosis that has some very surprising connections to a prior threat from Star Trek: Vanguard.

Mack is a master of writing action and suspense. Near the end of the novel, when the Sagittarius is plummeting towards the planet surface, I was on the edge of my seat. Of particular note is a sequence in which Master Chief Illuci is attempting to get a critical component back on-line, and the bypass line he has rigged is only a few centimeters too short to reach the port. I was terrified for the safety of the ship! While Mack can also write epic, sweeping stories, it is the very human struggles of the characters in his novels that provide the true drama.

Final thoughts:

A few months ago in an interview on Trek.fm's Literary Treks podcast, Star Trek book editor Margaret Clark said that the reason the second Seekers novel was being released immediately after the first was because readers wouldn't be able to stand it otherwise. After reading this novel, I am forced to agree. An exciting and action-packed beginning to what looks to be an extremely promising new series, this novel earns top marks from me. I can't wait to read the conclusion to the story in Seekers #2: Point of Divergence.

Further resources:

TrekBBS discussion and review thread for Seekers #1: Second Nature
Podcast: Literary Treks 73: Like Red Lantern Sith (Interview with David Mack on Seekers #1)

Also by David Mack:

Star Trek: S.C.E. #7: Invincible, Part One of Two with Keith R.A. DeCandido (2001)
Star Trek: S.C.E. #8: Invincible, Part Two of Two with Keith R.A. DeCandido (2001)
Star Trek: Vanguard: Reap the Whirlwind (2007)
Star Trek: Vanguard: Precipice (2009)
Star Trek: Mirror Universe: The Sorrows of Empire, expanded edition (2010)
"The Stars Look Down" from Star Trek: Vanguard: Declassified (2011)
Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Rise Like Lions (2011)
Star Trek: Vanguard: Storming Heaven (2012)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations, Book I: The Persistence of Memory (2012)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations, Book II: Silent Weapons (2012)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations, Book III: The Body Electric (2013)
Star Trek: The Fall: A Ceremony of Losses (2013)

My next read:

A favorite of mine from the past few months: The Klingon Art of War by Keith R.A. DeCandido!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Get Eaglemoss to make a model of the USS Titan!

Fellow blogger "8 of 5" over at The Trek Collective has started a petition to get Eaglemoss to include a special U.S.S. Titan in their Star Trek Starships Collection! Click here to sign! If they get 5000 unique signatures, they will create a special edition model of the Titan in the collection. I don't know about you, but I'd love to see Will Riker's Luna-class starship get some love!