Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Declassified

Star Trek: Vanguard: Declassified
An anthology by Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, Marco Palmieri, and David Mack
Published July 2011
Read: July 25th, 2011

Previous book (Vanguard): Precipice
Next book (Vanguard): What Judgments Come

Spoilers ahead for the four novellas in Declassified and the rest of the books in the Vanguard series!


From the back cover:

The Taurus Reach: the source of a secret that has driven the great powers of the 23rd century to risk everything in the race to control it.  Now four new adventures -- previously untold tales of the past and present, with hints of what is yet to come -- begin the next great phase in the Vanguard saga.

Witness the dawn of Starbase 47, as Ambassador Jetanien faces choices that will shape the future of Operation Vanguard; follow journalist Tim Pennington as he reaches a crossroads in his search for the truth; see how the crises on two colonies transform the lives of Diego Reyes and Rana Desai; and travel with Cervantes Quinn to a deadly confrontation that will change everything -- all in one unforgettable Star Trek collection.

"Almost Tomorrow" by Dayton Ward:

Serving as a prequel for the Vanguard saga, "Almost Tomorrow" features the arrival of a new JAG officer (Captain Rana Desai), the uncovering of a Klingon spy ("Anna Sandesjo" aka Lurqal), and the events that lead up to Starbase Vanguard being established.  I found this story to be very much "paint by numbers," and we learn pretty much nothing that we didn't know before.  It was a little disappointing, but it did fill in the blanks in the story.  Unfortunately, it didn't do it in a way that was surprising or unexpected.  I think that the story was a little unnecessary, as we already knew the outcome.  Final score for "Almost Tomorrow": 3/10.


Also by Dayton Ward:




"Hard News" by Kevin Dilmore:

As you can guess from the title, "Hard News" centers around crack journalist Tim Pennington.  The story takes place shortly after his publication of evidence of Starfleet's true mission in the Taurus Reach.  He finds himself cut off from his sources and "persona non grata" in the eyes of Starfleet.  During this troubled period, smuggler Cervantes Quinn offers to help, and a young reporter looking to make a name for herself also helps Tim in his quest to learn more about what is going on.  I enjoyed this story much more than "Almost Tomorrow."  I felt that the reader gained real insight into Tim Pennington's character.  The story made use of the first-person narrative, which really allows the reader to get inside the thoughts and feelings of the protagonist.  I give "Hard News" a respectable 7/10.  A little predictable, but it certainly held my interest.

Also by Kevin Dilmore:




"The Ruins of Noble Men" by Marco Palmieri:

When Vanguard's colonial relations officer goes missing while visiting a colony in the Taurus Reach, Captain Desai and Dr. Fisher go there to investigate.  The colony in question wishes to sever ties with the Federation, so naturally the death seems doubly suspicious.  However, the truth is something no one suspects.  When Dr. Fisher also goes missing, it's up to Captain Desai to find him and to discover the cause of the disappearances.  While this story doesn't have much to do with the Vanguard story at large, I found it a very interesting tale.  Marco Palmieri was the developing editor for the Vanguard series, and it was enjoyable to read a tale penned by him for once.  Engaging and thoughtful, "The Ruins of Noble Men" earns a 7.5/10.


"The Stars Look Down" by David Mack:

"The Stars Look Down" follows Cervantes Quinn and his partner in Starfleet Intelligence, Bridy Mac, as they undertake a mission to steal intelligence from a ship in Gorn custody.  This information could lead to the next breakthrough in Operation Vanguard's mission to study the Shedai "meta-genome."  The story is quite expansive, and while some may think that it packs too much into such a short format, David Mack is very much able to manage the pacing and tone required for this novella.  The ending is shocking, and it sets up the next chapter in the Vanguard saga.  This story alone makes purchasing Declassified worthwhile.  The events of this story will most certainly reverberate through the next chapter in the Vanguard tale.  Very well done!  "The Stars Look Down" definitely earns a high rating.  I give it a 9/10.

Also by David Mack:



More about Declassified:

My next read:

With this review, I have finally finished writing up my thoughts on the novels I read this past summer!  I have recently finished Michael A. Martin's latest Star Trek: Enterprise novel, The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm, and I will be posting a review of it soon.

Right now, I am reading the penultimate novel in the Vanguard saga, What Judgments Come.  You can expect a review of it soon!

LLAP!