reviewed by David Landon
This is the first book in the "New Earth" series,
in which Captain Kirk and the crew of the post-TMP Enterprise lead a "wagon
train" of colonists out to settle an Earth-like planet in unexplored space, and end
up wading into the middle of a feud between the two races who already live in the area.
Although it's part of a series, Wagon Train remains perfectly readable as a standalone tale. The regular characters are for the most part well-drawn; especially nice is the character development for Chekov that foreshadows his future position as First Officer of the Reliant. Shuricon, cautious leader of the alien "Blood Many" faction, is also very believably written. Not as believable, however, is the villain Billy Maidenshore. He is, perhaps, the book's fatal flaw. Maidenshore is a sleazy con artist, the kind of person you instinctively distrust as soon as you meet him. Unfortunately, the plot depends on the majority of the colonists being too stupid to realize Billy's true nature until it's almost too late, thus setting up a dramatic action sequence that sees Kirk and the Enterprise come charging to the rescue.
Like most Star Trek fans, Diane Carey has very definite opinions about parts of the mythos that she likes and dislikes, and in Wagon Train to the Stars these opinions are presented with all the subtlety of a Klingon opera performance. One is her love of James T. Kirk. It's well known fact that her novels contain more love and adoration for Kirk than you'll find outside the Shatnerverse, so this is really no surprise. Another Carey opinion with which the reader is bludgeoned is her distaste for the Motion Picture-era uniforms and her corresponding love for the Wrath of Khan threads. She actually has Kirk use his influence to get the Enterprise crew into the new uniforms a year before they were scheduled to be issued, much to Dr. McCoy's delight. Yes, McCoy, who hated his dress uniform in "Journey to Babel," now longs to wear something with twice as many layers. It's natural for characters in a book to mirror the author's opinions to some degree, but when they contradict longstanding aspects of their personalities, it's quite jarring.
Still, Wagon Train to the Stars is a fairly enjoyable read with some nice character moments and exciting action sequences. It's certainly worth your time.
Free counters provided by Andale.
Click here to
return to the Star Trek novels page.
Click here to return to the Main Index Page.