Pocket Books, out now
The return of a former senior crewmember of the Enterprise is the cue for secrets to be unearthed…
This is the first novel in a new trilogy by Star Trek novel veterans Greg Cox, Dave Mack and Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the original series – and it does so with a story that goes back to the earliest days of the USS Enterprise, under the captaincy of Captain Robert April. The key character who connects the past and present is Captain “Una”, the Illyrian otherwise known as Number One (and lord knows how many other names!) and a large part of the book is a flashback to her first landing party in charge. To say that not everything goes according to plan would be something of an understatement, and Cox recreates (or, for most people, let’s be honest, creates) this era of the show admirably, with its gooseneck monitors and smaller crew.
There are a few cute references based on Majel Barrett’s various roles in the first Star Trek show although no meeting between Una and Nurse Chapel… yet; can’t see somebody resisting the opportunity for this at some point down the line, although to be fair to Cox, some of these were established in earlier stories. There’s also a very interesting presentation of the Kirk / Spock / McCoy dynamic, particularly given the restrictions on the captain and first officer inherent in the situation that Cox sets up. As ever, Cox nails the voices of the Kirk-era crew, and fleshes out Robert April’s personnel, particularly those on the landing party with Una.
Verdict: An enjoyable novel based on an intriguing extrapolation of elements of a classic episode. 9/10