Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Returned, Part 1

Star Trek: New Frontier
The Returned, Part I by Peter David
An e-book exclusive novella
Release date: July 6th 2015
Read July 7th 2015


Previous book (New Frontier): Blind Man's Bluff

Next book (New Frontier): The Returned, Part II


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

Spoilers ahead for The Returned and Star Trek: New Frontier!

Publisher's Description:
Captain Mackenzie Calhoun and the crew of the U.S.S. Excalibur are back, picking up three months after the stunning events depicted in New Frontier: Blind Man’s Bluff. Calhoun's search of Xenex has failed to find any survivors, and now he is bound and determined to track down the race that killed them—the D'myurj and their associates, the Brethren—and exact vengeance upon them. His search will take the Excalibur crew into a pocket universe, where he discovers not only the homeworld of the D’myurj, but another race that shares Calhoun's determination to obliterate his opponents. But is this new race truly an ally…or an even greater threat?

My thoughts:

When I started this review site back in 2011, the newest New Frontier novel was soon to be released: Blind Man's Bluff. While I didn't enjoy that story as much as I had the previous novels, I considered myself a fan of New Frontier. I first started reading Peter David's ground-breaking Trek novel series back when it began in 1997. As much as I enjoyed the ongoing stories of Kirk, Picard, Sisko, and Janeway, the prospect of an all-new novel-only series was too tempting to pass up. Luckily, New Frontier proved the be a success, and the series paved the way for more original Trek lit such as Stargazer, Corps of Engineers, Vanguard, and Seekers.

Calhoun and his crew are back!
Imagine my surprise when it seemed that 2011's Blind Man's Bluff might be the last New Frontier story. What's worse, the story had a cliffhanger ending, with Captain Calhoun's people being wiped out and Starfleet itself the victim of infiltration by an enemy called the D'myurj. Thankfully, a new New Frontier story has been released: The Returned, presented in three parts by way of e-book exclusive novellas.

I wound up enjoying this story more than the previous one. Peter David is in top form here with the New Frontier characters' trademark wit and charm on full display. Calhoun, of course, comes across as larger-than-life in his typically heroic fashion. I like how far the characters have come: Admirals Jellico and Shelby seemingly "manipulate" Calhoun into taking a course of action that he probably would have taken anyway, while he is all the while completely aware of how his wife and commanding officer think they are guiding the events. Meanwhile, we get Soleta back on the bridge of the Excalibur, and even Mark McHenry returns, bringing his "godlike" powers to bear in the defense of Robin Lefler and her child.

There are a few small issues with the story, but nothing that negatively impacts the experience of the return of one of my favorite series. The cliffhanger ending is, of course, frustrating. Were this a complete trade paperback or mass-market paperback release like previous stories, it would simply be a tense chapter break. However, in this three-part iteration, the ending comes just as I want desperately to read more. This is, of course, the point, but it is frustrating nonetheless!

Finally, I do have to make a comment about the cover of this story. The current U.S.S. Excalibur is a Galaxy-class starship, replacing the Ambassador-class Excalibur lost in a previous novel. Unfortunately, the cover features the older Excalibur for apparently no reason that is revealed in the narrative. Sadly, it just seems to be an oversight on the part of the cover artist. Again, it has no impact on my enjoyment of this story, but it is a little unfortunate. Regardless, the cover is beautiful!

*This* is the Excalibur that should be on the cover!

Final thoughts:

A great start to the next chapter of New Frontier! The story is, of course, difficult to rate without the rest of it to read, but I'm excited for the return of some of my favorite characters, and I very much look forward to the continuation and resolution. Here's to much more New Frontier to come, if the Great Bird of the Galaxy wills it!

More about The Returned, Part 1:

Also by Peter David:

My next read:

Next week, look for my review of the first story in the TOS mini-series, Mere Anarchy. It's Things Fall Apart by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore!