Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In Tempest's Wake

Star Trek: Vanguard: In Tempest's Wake by Dayton Ward
Published October 2012
Read October 3rd 2012


Previous book (Vanguard): Storming Heaven



Click to purchase In Tempest's Wake from Amazon.com. E-book only!

Spoilers ahead for In Tempest's Wake and the rest of the Star Trek: Vanguard series!

From the back cover:
The U.S.S. Enterprise and other starships that participated in the final battle in the Taurus Reach have been remanded to a remote starbase. While evacuees from the station are processed and the ships repaired, restocked, and re-staffed as needed, Captain James T. Kirk is ordered to report to Admiral Heihachiro Nogura, Starbase 47's second and final commanding officer. Through flashbacks intercut with the ongoing conversation between Kirk and Nogura, the Enterprise's involvement in the last days of Operation Vanguard--and the conflict between Starfleet and Tholian forces at Starbase 47--is now told from the perspective of Kirk and his crew.

My thoughts:

In Tempest's Wake is an e-book novella that revisits the end of the Vanguard saga. It is primarily told from the perspective of Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise, and highlights the role they played in the culmination of the Taurus Reach meta-genome storyline. A lot of the story is rehashing events we're already familiar with through other novels, but from a different perspective. In particular, this novella ties the events of the Vanguard story into the third season of The Original Series. Some of the tie-ins are quite inventive, and it was interesting to see exactly when the Vanguard happenings occurred in relation to specific episodes of the series. Also interesting was seeing the genesis of a decision that will come back to haunt Starfleet and the Federation over a century later, in the novel Typhon Pact: Paths of Disharmony, also by Dayton Ward.

In many ways, In Tempest's Wake could be seen as superfluous to the rest of the Vanguard series. I would tend to agree, but what's wrong with a little superfluousness? I think that Pocket Books is in a bit of a quandary with regards to ebooks. They know that not everyone is going to read them, so they don't want to present a story that is vital to the on-going narrative. If they were to do that, there would be many readers who complain that they're missing out on important developments simply because they have decided to stick with "dead-tree" format books rather than embracing ebook technology. And this, of course, runs the risk of people reading this story and thinking that it's a waste of the money spent on it. However, I don't think it's a waste at all. As a novella, In Tempest's Wake is sold at a somewhat lower price than full novels. What we're presented with here can be seen as a bonus story, a little extra insight into the events of Vanguard's conclusion. Non-readers of the ebooks may not necessarily feel that they're missing out on a whole lot, and Pocket Books avoids alienating them. Would I have been more satisfied if this novella had a little more meat? Probably. But I understand the position that the publisher is in.

Is In Tempest's Wake worth reading? As a lover of the Vanguard series, my vote falls on the yes side. I'm a sucker for the "bonus features" on DVDs and enjoy getting any insights into the stories I watch and read, and in many ways, In Tempest's Wake feels like a bonus feature on the special edition blu-ray of Vanguard. I can't resist!

Final thoughts:

There are many who would say that this e-book coda to the Vanguard series was unnecessary, that it covered ground already fully explored in Storming Heaven, and that what we get in In Tempest's Wake is entirely superfluous. And they may be right. However, I personally enjoyed the alternate viewpoint we get of the events surrounding the end of the Vanguard saga. In Tempest's Wake may not be ground-breaking, or even strictly necessary, but as a bookend to one of my favourite chapters of Trek literature, I really think it works.

Also by Dayton Ward:

More about this book:

My next read:

Playing catch-up! My next review will go all the way back to a novel I read in July: Spock's World, by Diane Duane. Until then, DFTBA!