Friday, December 30, 2016

The Hall of Heroes

Star Trek: Prey
Book 3 of 3
The Hall of Heroes by John Jackson Miller
Release date: November 29th 2016
Read December 7th 2016


Previous book (Prey): Book 2: The Jackal's Trick

Next book (The Next Generation): Headlong Flight


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



Spoilers ahead for The Hall of Heroes!

Publisher's description:
Continuing the milestone 50th anniversary celebration of Star Trek—an epic new trilogy that stretches from the events of The Original Series movie The Search for Spock to The Next Generation!

The Klingon Empire stands on the precipice. In the wake of violence from the cult known as the Unsung, paranoia threatens to break Chancellor Martok’s regime. Klingons increasingly call for a stronger hand to take control...one that Lord Korgh, master manipulator, is only too willing to offer.

But other forces are now in motion. Assisted by a wily agent, the Empire’s enemies secretly conspire to take full advantage of the situation. Aboard the USS Titan, Admiral William T. Riker realizes far more than the Federation’s alliance with the Klingons is in danger. With the Empire a wounded animal, it could either become an attacker—or a target.

Yet even as hostilities increase, Commander Worf returns to the USS Enterprise and Captain Jean-Luc Picard with a daring plan of his own. The preservation of both the Empire and the Federation alliance may hinge on an improbable savior leading a most unlikely force....

My thoughts:

An Empire in disarray, relations between the Klingons and the Federation on a knife's edge, and a usurper who vows to make the Klingon Empire great again is attempting to seize power. And now, even foreign powers such as the Breen and the Kinshaya are getting involved! After an amazing set-up in books one and two, it all comes down to this. How does the final book in the Prey trilogy compare?

The alliance between the Federation and the Klingon Empire is once again put at risk thanks to the machinations of Korgh.

John Jackson Miller has set a difficult task before himself. Up to now, the Prey trilogy has been wonderfully fresh and intriguing, with plot twists and turns that haven't failed to surprise. Thankfully, in The Hall of Heroes, Miller sticks the landing, and even gets full marks from the judges, if you will indulge my tortured metaphor. Continuing the strong character work and tight plotting of books one and two, book three was an incredibly satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.

One character who is especially intriguing is Shift, seen in the first two books as the Orion assistant to Buxtus Cross. She would often be seen to adopt a guise along with Cross in order to lead the Unsung in their attacks on Klingons and other targets. However, with the death of Cross at the end of The Jackal's Trick, Shift's true allegiances are revealed. Working for the Breen, Shift has been deep undercover in Cross's "Truthcrafter" group, biding her time. I really loved this character. Shift's motivations for joining the Breen and their true egalitarian society make a lot of sense for an Orion woman who has spent her entire life being valued mainly for her appearance. With their full-body suits, all Breen look alike, and that sort of anonymity would be very tempting to someone like Shift.

The Breen, with their philosophy of conformity and egalitarianism, are very alluring to someone like Shift, who comes from a society where looks are all that matters.

As with many Klingon tales, redemption is a motif that plays out in Prey. The crimes of the Unsung are at least partially redeemed by their actions in The Hall of Heroes, and by their continued service after the end of the story. Also, Kahless himself experiences a form of redemption, after having languished in isolation for many years. He once again has a purpose to serve, and his role as Emperor is once again valued by him.

A great lesson imparted in this story is the idea that history should be remembered. The Unsung became such a huge problem partly because they were forgotten by the Empire. Being discommendated made them less than nothing in the eyes of the Empire, and therefore beneath their notice, allowing them to be corrupted by Korgh and his confederates. If the Klingons had felt it necessary to keep track of them, it's likely that these events would not have happened.

In the end, rather than seeing the end of the alliance between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, Prey becomes a celebration of it. While the Federation and the Empire are both very different, it is in those differences that they find strength. A beautiful cameo appearance by a character who had a direct hand in originally bringing the two powers together ties the story up nicely, and cements it as a perfect celebration of 50 years of Star Trek.


Final thoughts:

The end of the Prey trilogy, and the final part of this novel in particular, are supremely satisfying. I feel like it would be difficult to craft an ending that sufficiently matches the high notes of the previous two books, but John Jackson Miller has accomplished that and more. The Hall of Heroes is the highlight of an already great trilogy, a wonderful celebration of 50 years of Star Trek. These books were a lot of fun to read, and I look forward to seeing where both the shared continuity and John Jackson Miller's contributions to it will go from here!
5/5 stars!

More about The Hall of Heroes:


Also by John Jackson Miller:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Coming up tomorrow: my annual wrap-up of the year in Trek Lit! Keep an eye out for the 2016 Trek Lit Year in Review!