reviewed by Randy Landers
In this sequel to the Errand of Vengeance trilogy, author Kevin Ryan continues to explore the Star Trek universe from the unique perspective of a Federation preparing for the war we see the start of in "Errand of Mercy" and from Karel, an honorable Klingon whose brother was part of an ignominious plot to infiltrate the Federation as a Human and try to destroy it from within.
We see it from the point of view of Leslie Parrish. She's a high ranking security officer aboard the Enterprise who had a romantic (and sexual) relationship with Jon Anderson. Anderson was Karel's brother--a Klingon surgically altered to pass as a Human being. Anderson died in an act of honor to save his Human shipmates in the Errand of Vengeance trilogy, but now Parrish is pregnant with Anderson's child.
We see it from the point of Michael Fuller whose son was killed in the previous trilogy and who has re-enlisted for reasons he himself is unsure of. Fuller is also reliving some old memories of his own: the Battle of Donatu V, and he has himself a shadow: a young ensign who cannot but help admire the hero he thinks...no, knows Fuller to be, and the young ensign reminds Fuller of his dead son.
Kirk and his crew see their ship refitted from a ship of exploration to a ship of war. It's not something that they want by any means, but it's something they all know is necessary. Don't look for a lot of the secondary characters; they're hardly there. But Kirk, Spock and McCoy are, and that's what matters most to readers such as myself.
From time to time, our heroes encounter the Klingons, some dishonorable such as Councillor Duras, some honorable such as Captain Koloth who is Karel's commanding officer. As a Klingon of honor, Karel moves up the ranks quickly, and Koloth comes to rely on the Klingon for his honesty and his loyalty.
There's plenty of action, plenty of Trek lore, and plenty of characterizations which draw the reader into the story quickly and holds them throughout. Ryan is clearly one of the best Star Trek writers in the Pocketbook pool, and this series (and its predecessor) should not be missed.
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