Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Trek Lit 2014: Year in Review

2014 has flown by! It feels like just a short time ago that we said goodbye to 2013, and here we are on the cusp of 2015 already!

In the realm of Star Trek novels, 2014 was certainly a banner year. We were absolutely spoiled with the quality of Trek novels this year! January saw the conclusion of The Fall, followed by another of Kirsten Beyer's wonderful Voyager novels. In fact, 2014 allowed us the pleasure of two (TWO!) Kirsten Beyer forays into the world of Voyager. My cup runneth over!

Other exciting highlights of the year included a return to The Lost Era, the ongoing adventures of the former crew of the Enterprise NX-01 in Christopher L. Bennett's Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel, a continuation of Data's journey following the Cold Equations trilogy in Jeffrey Lang's The Light Fantastic, Keith R.A. DeCandido's return to the Star Trek universe with The Klingon Art of War, and the beginning of a fun new series: Star Trek: Seekers by Vanguard scribes David Mack, Dayton Ward, and Kevin Dilmore!

2014 also featured a sharp rise in the number of Star Trek e-book exclusive novellas, a trend that I truly hope continues in 2015. I have very much enjoyed these smaller, more intimate stories. From The Original Series to Titan and my personal favorite, Department of Temporal Investigations, these novellas have allowed the exploration of corners of the Trek universe that might otherwise be ignored. Simon & Schuster, if you're listening: more, please!

After having spent most of 2014 living in Calgary, Alberta, I decided to relocate back to my hometown, Grande Prairie. It's great to be back near life-long friends and my family. However, I do have to admit, the wanderlust is beginning to creep back. I'm hoping to do more traveling in 2015 than I did in the past year!

As with last year, I have continued to hold my position as Literature Editor at TrekCore.com. There, you can find interviews with a number of authors, as well as my reviews of new releases. Here are the interviews I've had the pleasure of conducting over the past year:

James Swallow (February 2014)
Dayton Ward (March 2014)
Kirsten Beyer (March 2014)
Greg Cox (March 2014)
Christopher L. Bennett (May 2014)
Jeff Mariotte (June 2014)
David R. George III (July 2014)
Preston Neal Jones (August 2014)


Another opportunity presented itself to me this year: Matthew Rushing, host of Trek.fm's Literary Treks podcast, recently asked me to be a co-host on that show, and I happily accepted! I have been a long-time listener of Literary Treks and an occasional guest, so when the opportunity came up to play a larger role in the show, I was thrilled! So far, I've only co-hosted two episodes, but we have some great plans for the new year. Stay tuned!


Below you'll find the list of every Trek book I reviewed this year, along with links to those reviews.

New releases are in bold and marked with an asterisk.


January

Mission Gamma, Book Two: This Grey Spirit by Heather Jarman (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
*Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward (Star Trek: The Fall, Book Five)
*Star Trek: The Fall - The series as a whole
The Captain's Daughter by Peter David (Star Trek)







February

*Protectors by Kirsten Beyer (Star Trek: Voyager)
Mission Gamma, Book Three: Cathedral by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
*Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller (Star Trek: Titan)









March

*No Time Like the Past by Greg Cox (Star Trek: The Original Series)
Serpents Among the Ruins by David R. George III (Star Trek: The Lost Era)
Mission Gamma, Book Four: Lesser Evil by Robert Simpson (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)









April

*Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel by Christopher L. Bennett (Star Trek: Enterprise)













June

*Serpents in the Garden by Jeff Mariotte (Star Trek: The Original Series)
*Seasons of Light and Darkness by Michael A. Martin (Star Trek: The Original Series)










July

*One Constant Star by David R. George III (Star Trek: The Lost Era)
*The More Things Change by Scott Pearson (Star Trek: The Original Series)











August

*The Light Fantastic by Jeffrey Lang (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
*Second Nature by David Mack (Star Trek: Seekers #1)











September

*The Klingon Art of War: Ancient Principles of Ruthless Honor by Keith R.A. DeCandido
*Point of Divergence by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore (Star Trek: Seekers #2)
*Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found) by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
*These Are the Voyages: TOS, Season Two by Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn







October

Terok Nor: Day of the Vipers by James Swallow (Star Trek: The Lost Era)
Rising Son by S.D. Perry (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
*Acts of Contrition by Kirsten Beyer (Star Trek: Voyager)
*Q Are Cordially Uninvited... by Rudy Josephs (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Terok Nor: Night of the Wolves by S.D. Perry & Britta Dennison (Star Trek: The Lost Era)








November


*Disavowed by David Mack (Star Trek: Section 31)
The Left Hand of Destiny, Book One by J.G. Hertzler & Jeffrey Lang (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
Terok Nor: Dawn of the Eagles by S.D. Perry & Britta Dennison (Star Trek: The Lost Era)
The Left Hand of Destiny, Book Two by J.G. Hertzler & Jeffrey Lang (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)








December

*Foul Deeds Will Rise by Greg Cox (Star Trek: The Original Series)
Intellivore by Diane Duane (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
*The Collectors by Christopher L. Bennett (Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations)












Best Trek novel of 2014:

This was a difficult year to pick a winner for best Trek novel! There were so many top-notch entries. Runners-up included Christopher L. Bennett's Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel, Greg Cox's The Original Series: No Time Like the Past, Kirsten Beyer's Voyager: Protectors, and Jeffrey Lang's The Next Generation: The Light Fantastic. And, although it's not exactly a novel, I'd like to give a shout-out to Keith R.A. DeCandido's The Klingon Art of War, to which I gave serious consideration.

However, the finest example of Star Trek fiction this year was most definitely:

Star Trek: Voyager: Acts of Contrition by Kirsten Beyer!

Acts of Contrition was the perfect blend of character development, action, and world-building. This novel truly moved me, and I was blown away by the quality of the story Beyer told in its pages. Truly a stellar example of the heights that Star Trek fiction can reach!

Acts of Contrition by New York Times bestselling author Kirsten Beyer: the best of 2014!

Additionally, due to the large number of e-book novellas published this past year, I've decided to have a separate category for them. In my opinion, the best Star Trek e-novella this year was this month's Department of Temporal Investigations: The Collectors by Christopher L. Bennett! With his usual wonderful writing, wild imagination, and genuine laugh-out-loud moments, The Collectors was a highlight of the year in TrekLit for me!

Department of Temporal Investigations: The Collectors. A highlight of 2014 in Trek Lit!


Let's take a look ahead at what we can expect for Trek literature in 2015!

The post-The Fall 24th century books continue with the January novel, Deep Space Nine: The Missing by Una McCormack, already released yesterday. I've just started reading this one. Look for my review soon!

February featured the TNG side of things when Riker and Picard face off against one another in The Next Generation: Takedown by John Jackson Miller. This one looks exciting!

March features a double dose of Trek with The Original Series: Savage Trade by Tony Daniel, as well as an e-novella: The Original Series: Shadow of the Machine by Scott Harrison. The latter takes place shortly after Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Looks interesting!

April sees a continuation of what is fast becoming one of my favorite corners of the Trek universe: Christopher L. Bennett's Rise of the Federation series continues with book three: Uncertain Logic.

May has another TOS novel with Dave Galanter's Crisis of Consiousness. I was a big fan of his earlier novel, Troublesome Minds. High hopes for this one as well!

June features a return to the 24th century with Dayton Ward's The Next Generation: Armageddon's Arrow.

July has another Deep Space Nine novel by regular Trek scribe David R. George III: Sacraments of Fire. Also this month, something very exciting: a continuation of the New Frontier saga by Peter David! Return #1 is an e-book exclusive novella continuing the adventures of Captain Calhoun and the rest of the New Frontier story!

August features the next book in the new Seekers series. Long Shot is by David Mack and showcases the crew of the Archer-class U.S.S. Sagittarius. The e-novella New Frontier: Return #2 continues the New Frontier story from the previous month.

In September, the latest entry in Kirsten Beyer's Voyager series is here! Atonement forms the final part of a loose trilogy of which Protectors and Acts of Contrition were a part. Also, Peter David's New Frontier trilogy wraps up with Return #3.

October sees James Swallow return to the world of Star Trek: Titan with his novel Sight Unseen.

In November, the fourth Seekers book by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore will be published.

And finally, December has a new TOS novel by veteran Trek author Greg Cox: Child of Two Worlds.

You can check out all of the new releases for 2015 by clicking here. You can also pre-order all of them from Amazon!

Here's hoping for all the best in 2015! May you and yours have a wonderful year filled with joy, happiness, and lots of Star Trek!

Happy New Year, and don't forget to be awesome!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Release day! The Missing by Una McCormack

I hope your holiday season is going well, filled with friends, family, good food, and merriment! In Star Trek book news, we have a new release today: Deep Space Nine: The Missing by New York Times bestselling author Una McCormack.

The Missing can be found in bookstores and is available for download from your preferred e-book vendor.

As usual, look below for links to order The Missing from Amazon. Help support Trek Lit Reviews!

My review of Deep Space Nine: The Missing





Publisher's description:
The entire sector is waiting to see what the newly reopened Bajoran wormhole will mean for the shifting political landscape in the Alpha Quadrant. On Deep Space 9, Captain Ro Laren is suddenly drawn into the affairs of the People of the Open Sky, who have come to the station in search of sanctuary. Despite the opposition of the station's security officer, Jefferson Blackmer, Ro Laren and Deep Space 9's new CMO, Doctor Beverly Crusher, offer the People aid. But when Dr. Crusher’s highly secure files are accessed without permission—the same files that hold the secrets of the Shedai, a race whose powerful but half-understood scientific secrets solved the Andorian catastrophe—the People seem the likeliest suspects.

As tensions rise on the station, the science vessel Athene Donald arrives as part of its journey of exploration. The brainchild of Doctor Katherine Pulaski, this ship is crewed by different species from the Khitomer Accords and the Typhon Pact. Pulaski’s hope is that science will do what diplomacy has not: help the great powers put aside their hostilities and work together. But when the Athene Donald is summarily stopped in her voyage by the powerful vessel of a hitherto unknown species, Pulaski begins to wonder—will this first contact bring her crew together or tear them all apart?

Purchase Deep Space Nine: The Missing:

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


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cover for TOS: Savage Trade Revealed!

I hope everyone's holiday season has been spectacular so far! 

Today, the cover for the upcoming Original Series novel, Savage Trade, has been revealed! Savage Trade is by author Tony Daniel, who penned 2013's Devil's Bargain. Look below for the newly-released cover art, as well as the back-cover blurb and links to preorder from Amazon. Savage Trade is set to be released on February 24th.


The U.S.S. Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, is en route to the extreme edge of the Alpha Quadrant, and to a region known as the Vara Nebula. Its mission: to investigate why science outpost Zeta Gibraltar is not answering any Federation hailing messages. When the Enterprise arrives, a scan shows no life-forms in the science station. Kirk leads a landing party and quickly discovers the reason for the strange silence—signs of a violent firefight are everywhere. Zeta Gibraltar has been completely raided. Yet there are no bodies, and the entire roster of station personnel is missing...


Pre-ordering links:

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

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Literary Treks 85: Jurassic Park of the Billionth Century

We have a new episode of Literary Treks to present you this week!

In this episode, co-host Matthew Rushing and I discuss the new e-book novella by Christopher L. Bennett, Department of Temporal Investigations: The Collectors. Click below to check it out. Thanks for listening!

Literary Treks 85: Jurassic Park of the Billionth Century - Matthew and I discuss The Collectors by Christopher L. Bennett

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Kirk's Autobiography, Coming Next Fall!

Set for release in September of 2015, it's The Autobiography of James T. Kirk: The Story of Starfleet's Greatest Captain. Ostensibly written by the man, the myth, the legend himself, this book is actually written by David Goodman, who brought us Federation: The First 150 Years back in 2012. StarTrek.com has a first look!

Looking forward to this one! Rest assured, I will have a review of it shortly after release. Check out the cover below, as well as links to pre-order from Amazon.


Kindle E-book: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca


The Collectors

Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations
The Collectors by Christopher L. Bennett
An e-book exclusive novella
Release date: December 8th 2014
Read December 9th 2014


Previous book (Dept. of Temporal Investigations): Forgotten History

Next book (Dept. of Temporal Investigations): Time Lock



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


Spoilers ahead for The Collectors!

Publisher's Description:
The dedicated agents of the Federation Department of Temporal Investigations have their work cut out for them protecting the course of history from the dangers of time travel. But the galaxy is littered with artifacts that, in the wrong hands, could threaten reality. One of the DTI's most crucial jobs is to track down these objects and lock them safely away in the Federation’s most secret and secure facility. When Agents Lucsly and Dulmur bring home an alien obelisk of incredible power, they are challenged by a 31st-century temporal agent who insists they surrender the mysterious artifact to her. But before they know it, the three agents are pulled into a corrupted future torn apart by a violent temporal war. While their DTI colleagues attempt to track them down, Lucsly and Dulmur must restore temporal peace by setting off on an epic journey through the ages, with the future of the galaxy hanging in the balance...

My thoughts:

I am a huge fan of Christopher Bennett's Department of Temporal Investigations novels. The first book, Watching the Clock, was published very shortly after I began writing for Trek Lit Reviews. I remember that novel being one of my most-anticipated reads that year, and it definitely did not disappoint. I enjoyed Watching the Clock immensely, and when the second book, Forgotten History, was announced, I was over the moon. Again, Bennett delivered a quality work based on an exciting and unique premise.

This time around, rather than a full novel, we are treated to an e-book exclusive novella. The Collectors is an adventure centering on our hapless DTI duo, Dulmur and Lucsly, introduced in the wonderful Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations." Although this format is much shorter than the typical paperback novel, there is a lot going on in this story. Dulmur and Lucsly are drawn into a time-twisting adventure with one of their counterparts from the 31st century, Jena Noi, and eventually end up millions of years in the future, where they confront a race of beings who are attempting to preserve all extinct species from every time period across the galaxy. These "Collectors" come under attack from a timeline that has been corrupted due to our characters interfering with one of their collection units. Trapped millions of years "uptime," the three agents must set right what has gone disastrously wrong.

Agents Lucsly and Dulmur are thrust into an adventure that goes beyond the usual bureaucratic duties they're used to.

Whereas the previous two novels featured cameos and larger roles for Star Trek personalities besides the members of the Department of Temporal Investigations (for example, Janeway and others from the 24th century feature in Watching the Clock, while Forgotten History features the TOS crew quite heavily), The Collectors focuses solely on the DTI and other uptime counterparts of the agency. I feel as though this particular format gave Bennett the freedom to maintain this focus. I may be wrong in this assumption, but it seems likely to me that for a full-size novel to be marketable, it would need more "anchors" to the wider Trek continuity in order to attract readers. In this smaller, more "niche" format, it's possible that the author is able to have more freedom to tell a "smaller" story.

This, of course, makes me incredibly thankful that this format exists. I truly enjoyed this story, and I am very happy that we are able to read stories like this from the more obscure corners of the Star Trek universe. In fact, I would be in full support of a Department of Temporal Investigations e-book series. Maybe not as prolific as the prior Corps of Engineers series was; one story a year would be plenty!

Watch for:

There is a moment near the climax of the story in which two extinct species come together to form something from the nightmares of paleontologists and Starfleet officers alike. Pulling this off in a way I didn't think was possible, Christopher L. Bennett had me crying with laughter at one particular moment. I don't want to give it away, but you will know it when you read it!

Final thoughts:

At the heart of The Collectors is a debate between two opposing ideals: constancy and conservatism versus fluidity and change for the sake of change. Which is better? It is interesting that the character of Lucsly, a man notorious for his desire to maintain the status quo including his unassailable belief in the one true unadulterated timeline, is the one to come to the conclusion that everything must eventually change and move on. The eponymous Collectors are concerned with the preservation of what was with no thought given to the changes they themselves have instigated. Co-host Matthew Rushing and I have a very interesting discussion about this battle of ideas on the latest episode of Literary Treks. If you're interested, you can check that out by clicking the link below, under "Further resources."

This battle between maintaining the status quo and moving forward is one that touches all aspects of life. It is funny that this novella, seemingly small and innocuous, talks about such grand themes. This story really made me think as well as laugh uproariously at times. I highly recommend The Collectors, especially if you enjoyed the previous two DTI novels. However, even if you haven't read them, The Collectors is a fun and exciting read.

Further resources:

Also by Christopher L. Bennett:

My next read:

Look for my review of the Deep Space Nine relaunch novel, Unity by S.D. Perry, coming after Christmas. Until then, happy holidays to you and yours! May the season be filled with happiness and good cheer.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Intellivore

Star Trek: The Next Generation #45
Intellivore by Diane Duane
Published April 1997
Read November 13th 2014


Previous book (The Next Generation): #44: The Death of Princes

Next book (The Original Series): #46: To Storm Heaven

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

Spoilers ahead for Intellivore!

From the back cover:
The Great Rift lies between the Sagittarius and Orion arms of the galaxy. Stars are scarce there, beyond the authority of the Federation, and legends abound of lost civilizations and of ancient monsters that prey on those who dare to venture into the vast darkness between the stars. When several ships and colonies mysteriously disappear into the Rift, the USS Enterprise leads an expedition to investigate various disturbing reports. Accompanied by two other Federation starships, Picard and his fellow captains discover a bizarre menace of unimaginable power. And the only way to trap this destructive entity is to use the Enterprise as bait.

My thoughts:

Reading a previously un-read book by an author you've come to love is like slipping on an old pair of really comfortable shoes. They may be old and somewhat left behind by newer models, but there's just something about how comfortable, how "right" they feel. Such is the case with reading a Diane Duane novel I've never before had the pleasure of reading. A few years ago, I fell in love with Duane's depiction of the Romulan people and their culture, as well as her singular style of writing. While Intellivore features the TNG crew rather than the classic Trek gang, Duane's style still leaps off the page, feeling both fresh and familiar at the same time.

Intellivore is one of the very few Diane Duane Trek stories I had not yet read prior to reading it for the purposes of this review. As such, I was not sure what to expect. Most of her stories have involved the original Star Trek crew, and I hoped that her wonderful writing style would translate well to the Next Generation setting. For the most part, I was not disappointed. I feel as though Duane's grasp on the original crew is slightly stronger, but I had no problem hearing the voices of the TNG cast in her writing.

In the novel The Romulan Way, the ancient legend of the Intellivore is mentioned almost in passing. Intellivore picks up on that legend and explores the entity behind it. The Intellivore turns out to be a massive, warp-driven planet that consumes the mental energies of intelligent species. In a region known as the Great Rift, the Intellivore has hunted, consuming civilizations and hapless colony ships who wander into its vicinity, leaving its victims as mindless shells with no hope of recovery. Promising a fate more terrifying than death, the Intellivore is a true horror of deep space.

Diane Duane brings her particular brand of intelligent and beautiful prose to the pages of Intellivore. I have always loved her ability to take a scientific idea and create real jeopardy around it, all the while drawing the reader in with her colorful descriptions of the depth and loneliness of deep space. It's difficult to describe the exact feelings that her writing elicits, but I always get a sense of wonder and enchantment while reading Duane's work, whether it's her explorations of the history of Vulcan, or a depiction of the battle of wills between the Intellivore and one of its humanoid victims.

Final thoughts:

Diane Duane novels are always a treat to read, and in that respect, Intellivore did not disappoint. In some ways, it is a "smaller" story than her other novels, such as the Rihannsu series or Spock's World. However, the stakes are high, and Intellivore comes replete with the numerous character moments that I love. There is real emotion in this novel, and while it is most probably Diane Duane's least-known Trek work, it holds to the high standard of writing I've come to love from her.

Look for my review of her novel Dark Mirror in the coming months!


Also by Diane Duane:

Star Trek #13: The Wounded Sky (1983)
Star Trek #18: Rihannsu #1: My Enemy, My Ally (1984)
Star Trek #35: Rihannsu #2: The Romulan Way with Peter Morwood (1987)
Star Trek: Spock's World (1988)
Star Trek #50: Doctor's Orders (1990)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Dark Mirror (1993)
Star Trek #95: Rihannsu #3: Swordhunt (2000)
Star Trek #96: Rihannsu #4: Honor Blade (2000)
Star Trek: Rihannsu #5: The Empty Chair (2006)

My next read:

The brand-new e-book exclusive novella from Christopher L. Bennett, Department of Temporal Investigations: The Collectors. Really looking forward to this one!


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Literary Treks 84: The Maroon Jacket Era

Hi everyone! Recently, I was honored to accept a permanent co-host position on Trek.fm's Star Trek books and comics podcast, Literary Treks! This is a huge honor, and I am eager to sit down each week with Matthew Rushing and talk about the latest Star Trek novels and comics. We often interview authors on the show, too, which I am extremely excited about as you can well imagine!

In the first episode in which I co-host, Matthew Rushing and I speak with New York Times bestselling author Greg Cox about his latest novel, The Original Series: Foul Deeds Will Rise. Click below to check it out, and take a look at my review of this novel by clicking here!

Literary Treks 84: The Maroon Jacket Era - Greg Cox on Foul Deeds Will Rise

Monday, December 8, 2014

Release Day! DTI: The Collectors

A new story in one of my favorite Trek lit series, and by one of my favorite Trek lit authors, is released today: the new e-book novella, Department of Temporal Investigations: The Collectors by Christopher L. Bennett!

The Collectors is available NOW for download onto your favorite e-reading device, including Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, and more. Look below for links to purchase The Collectors from Amazon!

My review: coming soon!





Publisher's description:
The dedicated agents of the Federation Department of Temporal Investigations have their work cut out for them protecting the course of history from the dangers of time travel. But the galaxy is littered with artifacts that, in the wrong hands, could threaten reality. One of the DTI's most crucial jobs is to track down these objects and lock them safely away in the Federation’s most secret and secure facility. When Agents Lucsly and Dulmur bring home an alien obelisk of incredible power, they are challenged by a 31st-century temporal agent who insists they surrender the mysterious artifact to her. But before they know it, the three agents are pulled into a corrupted future torn apart by a violent temporal war. While their DTI colleagues attempt to track them down, Lucsly and Dulmur must restore temporal peace by setting off on an epic journey through the ages, with the future of the galaxy hanging in the balance...

Purchase Department of Temporal Investigations: The Collectors:

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


Next Release: Deep Space Nine: The Missing


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Foul Deeds Will Rise

Star Trek: The Original Series
Foul Deeds Will Rise by Greg Cox
Release date: November 25th 2014
Read November 28th 2014


Previous book (The Original Series): The More Things Change (e-book)

Next book (The Original Series): Savage Trade

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

Spoilers ahead for Foul Deeds Will Rise!

From the back cover:
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.

Notable Quote:
"What we want is the truth," he said emphatically. "Nothing more, nothing less." 
"But truth is often just a matter of appearances. All the world's a stage, remember, and all we men and women merely players." She kept staring at her raised hands. "If I am typecast as a killer, what does it matter who I truly am behind the greasepaint ... or what parts I might have foolishly dreamed of playing?"
- Lenore Karidian, questioned about a murder, responds to Captain Kirk's inquiry.


My thoughts:

Can a murderer be rehabilitated? To what extent do past actions have an impact on future behavior? Or, more specifically, what impact do those actions have on the perceptions of others when it comes to behavior? These questions and more are examined in Greg Cox's Foul Deeds Will Rise.

Lenore Karidian, convicted murderer, now supposedly rehabilitated.
Lenore Karidian, the daughter of the infamous Kodos the Executioner (see "The Conscience of the King," TOS), is working as a Federation aid worker on the devastated world of Oyolo in the midst of peace talks between that planet and neighboring Pavak. Captain Kirk invites Lenore aboard the Enterprise in an attempt to put past demons to rest, but when the Pavakian representative is discovered to have been killed, Lenore becomes a prime suspect. Given her past murders of seven innocent people, as well as her attempted murders of Lt. Kevin Riley and Captain Kirk himself, it is somewhat understandable that she becomes a target of inquiry.

This is the one area in which the logic of the novel kind of falls apart for me. I have a hard time accepting that Captain Kirk would so quickly invite Karidian aboard. While hindsight is 20/20, and there is no way Kirk would have known that the murders would happen, I still believe that allowing Lenore aboard the Enterprise was very irresponsible. Perhaps I'm simply not as "good" or forgiving as Captain Kirk. Even if Lenore is not responsible for the murders, her mere presence serves as a distraction in the investigation, diverting attention away from other possible suspects. I found myself agreeing with Kevin Riley, now a Federation ambassador: allowing Lenore Karidian aboard the Enterprise while the sensitive negotiations were taking place was a mistake.

Kevin Riley, now a Federation Ambassador, has grown far beyond the young, green Lieutenant from The Original Series' first season.

This minor nitpick aside, Foul Deeds Will Rise was very enjoyable on several levels. Whereas most TOS novels are set during the classic five-year mission, this one is set two decades later, in the period between Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Greg Cox, the ever-impressive font of Trek continuity knowledge, continues his tradition of making numerous small references to events in the lives of the Enterprise crew. Setting the story during this period serves to widen the pool from which his references can be drawn. Additionally, setting the novel in this period lends a feeling of freshness to the story. Not many stories use this time period, and a change from the norm is always welcome.

Star Trek's late movie era has a particular look and feel that Foul Deeds Will Rise managed to capture quite well. For one thing, the crew is much more seasoned and at-ease with each other. Greg Cox managed to write the interactions among Kirk's crew in a manner that made this story feel right at home in the period around The Final Frontier.

Greg Cox uses a number of literary devices to very good effect in his novels. One such device is known as "Chekhov's Gun." The name comes from a quote by playwright Anton Chekhov, who said, "If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there." In Foul Deeds Will Rise, there is a very apparent "Chekhov's gun," and it turns out to be "Chekov's Sneeze." Watch for Pavel Chekov's allergic reaction to be a seemingly minor inconvenience that turns out to have a much larger impact on the plot!

Speaking of Chekov, it was a lot of fun to see him in his role as chief of security in this novel. Although he supposedly had this role in the films, we never really got a chance to see him shine in the job. The closest we got was Star Trek VI, in which he investigates the assassination of Klingon Chancellor Gorkon. However, the entire crew was involved in that investigation. In Foul Deeds Will Rise, we get a more detailed look at how Chekov has really grown into his role as security chief.

In Foul Deeds Will Rise, we see Chekov acting in his role as Chief of Security of the Enterprise.

Final thoughts:

Foul Deeds Will Rise was a fun read, with plenty of action, suspense, and the high quality of storytelling we've come to expect from Greg Cox. Making ample use of the back catalog of Star Trek stories and tropes, Foul Deeds Will Rise is one of the better Original Series novels to be published in some time. My final rating for this novel is four stars out of five. A lot of fun to read, and one that deserves a place on your bookshelf!

More about Foul Deeds Will Rise:

Also by Greg Cox:

My next read:

Next week features my review of an older Next Generation novel: Intellivore by the supremely talented Diane Duane!


Sunday, November 30, 2014

PODCAST: Literary Treks 83: Walter Bishop's Quantum Window

Hey everyone! Our friends over at Trek.fm's Literary Treks podcast have recently released their latest episode. In episode 83, Matthew Rushing and Christopher Jones sit down with New York Times bestselling author David Mack to discuss his latest book, Section 31: Disavowed. Click below to be taken to the Literary Treks site and check it out! You can download it in any number of formats and onto many different platforms, including iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spreaker, and more.

And click here to check out my review of Disavowed!

Literary Treks 83: Walter Bishop's Quantum Window - David Mack on Disavowed

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Left Hand of Destiny, Book Two

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The Left Hand of Destiny, Book Two by J.G. Hertzler & Jeffrey Lang
Published April 2003
Read November 6th 2014


Previous book (Deep Space Nine): The Left Hand of Destiny, Book One

Next book (Deep Space Nine): Unity


MMPB: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk



Spoilers ahead for The Left Hand of Destiny!

From the back cover:
"The true test of a warrior is not without...it is within." Sins of the past collide with hopes for the future as Martok fights for the right to lead the Klingon Empire. With the secret of his usurper exposed, the ousted chancellor and his ragtag band of followers embark on a desperate plan to retake the empire.
But while Worf, Ezri Dax, and the crew of the IKS Rotarran go in search of the Klingons' most revered icon of power, Martok is dealt the most crushing blow of all -- driving him to make his final stand on the ice-strewn cliffs of sacred Boreth. As that frozen world reverberates with the song of armies and bat'leths clashing, the mystery of Martok's past, and the future of the Klingon Empire, is revealed.

Notable quote:
Martok looked strange. Which you would think I'd be used to by now, Pharh thought. Every time I turn around there's something going on with this guy. On more than one occasion in the past several days he wondered if perhaps his friend suffered from some sort of neurological ailment. Stares into space a lot, Pharh had noted. Talks to thin air a lot. Doesn't sleep enough, either. Bet there's a pill you could take for whatever he's got. But, no, Martok's problem wasn't a neurological disorder; Martok's problem was a surfeit of destiny. Too much destiny is bad, he concluded. Too much destiny is how you find yourself too often in a disruptor's crosshairs. Pharh was glad that destiny had more or less ignored him. You're just an anonymous little Ferengi and that's a good thing to be.

My thoughts:

In my review of book one, I noted that The Left Hand of Destiny had the feel of a Shakespearean play, with larger-than-life characters and stories of the rise and fall of empires. Now, in book two, the story has coalesced into something a little different. Rather than feeling Shakespearean in tone, the second book has the story take on the feel of something a little more Tolkein-esque.

Many of the characters in this story embody roles that would feel right at home in The Lord of the Rings or another similar story. Martok, the king who would take the throne of an ailing, aging empire, returning honor to the crown. The aging emperor Kahless is very much in the spirit of Gandalf, and is even referred to as a wizard during the course of the story. And of course, Pharh, the ever-loyal servant who at first appears to be unequal to the tasks required of him, but who embodies true bravery and courage in the face of evil. Additionally, I would almost go so far to say that Pharh became my favorite book-only character over the course of this re-read.

Characters in The Left Hand of Destiny embody similar character archetypes as one would see in The Lord of the Rings or other similar fantasy tales.

While The Left Hand of Destiny has this Tolkein-like quality to it, at no point did the story seem out of place in the wider Trek universe. The prose immediately draws the reader into the world of heroic deeds and great victories, while never seeming out of the realm of possibility and maintaining the realistic verisimilitude embodied by the best Star Trek stories.

I was recently asked by a friend of mine what the appeal of reading Star Trek novels is. "Aren't they all just the same story?" she asked me. What people who don't read the novels (or aren't fans of Star Trek) don't realize is that the Star Trek universe is merely a setting, and one that is as rich and as full of depth as any other setting. Granted, when people think of Star Trek, the familiar situation of a crew flying around seeking new life and new civilizations (and fighting the Klingons) is what generally comes to mind. But the world of Star Trek literature is so much more, and The Left Hand of Destiny demonstrates that truth admirably. Whether it's Dr. Bashir battling Section 31 by going deep undercover in the organization or agents Dulmer and Lucsly of the Department of Temporal Investigations keeping an eye on space-time anomalies, there is room in Star Trek for nearly any story you can think of. Even if that story merely involves exploring a new planet or fighting some Klingons from the bridge of a familiar starship.

Final thoughts:

When these novels first came out, I remember being a little wary. At this point in the Deep Space Nine relaunch, I was eager to get back to what was going on on the station, with the parasites from TNG's "Conspiracy" making a dramatic return and the crew of the Defiant returning to the Alpha Quadrant with Jake and Kai Opaka. I felt that taking a break from that and going back in time for a Klingon story would be a mistake. However, when I saw that it was J.G. Hertzler who co-wrote the novels, I changed my mind somewhat. What really sold me was when I finally read them. This duology is an incredible read, and there are moments while reading it that I actually became quite emotional. The story is an epic one, and the characters are very memorable. Hertzler and Lang draw you in and leave you absolutely emotionally invested in this story. The Left Hand of Destiny has gone on to become one of my favorite Star Trek stories of all time, and this re-read was nearly as rewarding as when I first read it over a decade ago.

My next read:

Provided I get enough free time for reading this week, you can look forward to a review of New York Times bestselling author Greg Cox's latest Trek work, The Original Series: Foul Deeds Will Rise next Thursday! Until then, Qapla'!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Release Day! Foul Deeds Will Rise by Greg Cox

From New York Times Bestselling Author Greg Cox, author of such fine Trek works as The Eugenics Wars novels, The Q Continuum trilogy, and this year's excellent No Time Like the Past, comes this month's new release: The Original Series: Foul Deeds Will Rise!

Foul Deeds Will Rise is available today in bookstores and for download to your Kindle, Kobo, Nook, or other favorite e-reading device!

My review





Publisher's description:
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.


Purchase The Original Series: Foul Deeds Will Rise:

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


Previous Release: Section 31: Disavowed
Next Release: Department of Temporal Investigations: The Collectors


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dawn of the Eagles

Star Trek: Terok Nor (A Saga of The Lost Era)
Dawn of the Eagles, 2360 - 2369 by S.D. Perry & Britta Dennison
Published June 2008
Read October 24th 2014

Previous book (Terok Nor): Night of the Wolves
Next book (The Lost Era): One Constant Star


Purchase (MMPB): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Purchase (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Spoilers ahead for Dawn of the Eagles and the Terok Nor miniseries!

From the back cover:
As violence all across Bajor continues to escalate, Cardassian forces tighten their grip on the captive planet, driving back the resistance at every turn; but on Terok Nor and elsewhere, the winds of change are stirring -- the beginnings of a hurricane that will alter the landscape of the Occupation. And while secret dealings, shifting alliances, and personal demons buoy the wings of revolution, a mysterious shape-shifting life form begins a journey that will decide the fate of worlds.

My thoughts:

In the first book of the Terok Nor trilogy, Day of the Vipers, James Swallow presented us with the seeds of the occupation: the initial contact and eventual entrenchment of the Cardassians on Bajor. In book two, Night of the Wolves, Perry and Dennison show us a world under the heel of Cardassian authority: bowed, but not completely broken. It is in this final book that the future of Bajor is to be determined. Will this world and her people bow to Cardassian rule and continue down the path of enslavement and eventual extermination, or will the Bajorans finally come together to throw off the shackles of Cardassian oppression once and for all? And, perhaps more importantly, how many more tired literary cliches can I include in this review? Read on to find out!

Natima Lang and Quark
As in the previous novel, there is a lot going on in Dawn of the Eagles. The story follows the paths of a great many characters as the final years of the Cardassian occupation are chronicled. There are a number of stand-outs: Kira and the Shakaar resistance cell dealing with the extreme conditions created by the anti-Bajoran sensor system implemented by the Cardassians was a compelling tale. Natima Lang, the Cardassian propagandist-turned-dissident and her ill-fated relationship with Ferengi bartender Quark was also a treat to read about. The authors obviously have a firm grasp on the characters in their story, and do an excellent job of making their motivations and actions seem realistic. However, my favorite character in this part of the trilogy was Odo.

In Dawn of the Eagles, we learn the true extent of Odo's role in the final years of the Cardassian occupation. Were it not for Odo, some of the Bajoran resistance's greatest triumphs would never have come to pass. We see this young and in some ways naive Changeling on a journey that will have him work for the Cardassians on Terok Nor, yet never truly be called that most dreaded of titles: "collaborator."

Odo as head of security on Terok Nor under the Cardassians.

At this point in his journey, Odo is still quite inexperienced in his dealings with "solids," an aspect of his character that the authors illustrate very well. Often perplexed at humanoid behavior, Odo sees his way through the world with an overriding sense of justice, and applies that philosophy to every situation he comes across. While Gul Dukat dreams of turning Odo to the Cardassian cause, Odo himself only sees that idea of justice as his master. It is fascinating to see him confront the situation on Bajor and Terok Nor, and witnessing these events through his eyes lends a new perspective to the Cardassian occupation.

As I mentioned above, there is a great deal happening in the pages of this novel. We see a myriad of plot threads tied up, and most importantly, we see characters we've grown to love over seven years of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and beyond at the beginning of their journeys. Readers who want to understand the motivations of characters such as Kira Nerys, Odo, Kai Opaka, and even Gul Dukat will love where this series takes their characters.

Final thoughts:

An eminently satisfying conclusion to the Terok Nor trilogy. While the final push by the Bajoran resistance leading to the Cardassian withdrawal felt a little rushed, the true heart of the story was what really counted: the characters. Perry and Dennison have a great feel for what makes these characters tick, and that expertise came through on every page of Dawn of the Eagles.

As a whole, the Terok Nor trilogy was a rewarding read for someone like me, who is a very big fan of Deep Space Nine. This trilogy of books makes an excellent companion piece to both the Deep Space Nine television series and the "relaunch" post-finale novel series.

Also by S.D. Perry & Britta Dennison:

Star Trek: Terok Nor: Night of the Wolves (2008)
Star Trek: Inception (2010)

My next read:

Next up is the resolution to The Left Hand of Destiny by J.G. Hertzler and Jeffrey Lang!