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Captain Kirk and his crew are ordered to Alnath II to challenge the deadliest Klingon starship "Terror. A defenseless Vulcan crew of a Federation science ship has been wiped out and the remaining members of the Alnath II mission have discovered a fabulous ancient city, except that their report doesn't make sense. Soon Captain Kirk cannot make decisions, Spock starts to throw temper tantrums, and Chekov has disobeyed vital orders. The crew of the "EnterpriseTM are losing their minds.… (mais)
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A 2.5, really. Rather a halfhearted excuse to write the cast of Star Trek in out-of-character hijinks, punctuated by Klingon antics and Kirk being . . . Kirk. The Spock subplot was the most irritating; I will never understand writers wanting to throw Spock into lust for the hell of the fun. McCoy's alien-heightened xenophobia was very much not amusing. Uhura and Sulu seemed to be mostly forgotten about. Overall, a quick read but nothing special or particularly quality about it. ( )
  sarahlh | Mar 6, 2021 |
One of the more apt criticisms of the Star Trek franchise is about the repetitiveness of their plotting. Though the original premise of a starship exploring the galaxy opened up a variety of possibilities, it wasn't long before the crews were repeatedly encountering godlike aliens, faux-Edens, and dangerous machines that needed to be talked into destroying themselves. From the standpoint of a television show (especially the original series), such repetition is perhaps understandable given the constraints imposed by technology and budgets. This is also what makes the franchise's novels so different; freed from such mundane constraints, practically anything is possible.

This is why Robert Vardeman's novel is so frustrating. The title suggests a story involving the Enterprise crew grappling with some fiendish Klingon plot to take over the Alpha Quadrant or perhaps an interstellar battle in which Kirk matches wits with the captain of a Klingon warship. What Vardeman delivers instead is a tepid mystery that for fans of the original series will seem all too familiar, as the author takes elements from two of their episodes and mashes them together after making just a few minor alterations. The Klingons are less of a fearsome threat in the story than they are a secondary plot device, and their "gambit" (to the degree that there even is one) boils down to seeking a MaGuffin and nothing more. The whole thing is a waste of a good title, a neat cover, and the hours of time spent reading it, as fans are best advised taking a hard pass on this one. ( )
  MacDad | Mar 27, 2020 |
Yes it's got cliches, and the mystery isn't really all that mysterious, but it's also provocative, with a couple of extra zingers. Consider that it's #3, and we're just getting to know the Klingon mentality, as Kirk teaches it to Chekhov. We're just getting to know what Kirk really thinks of some of the other members of the crew, too - as for example Chekhov, who K. sees as strongly resembling the young K.

And I loved the bit at the very end, in which we learn what the Andorian archaeologist will soon learn. I like how not everything is fully explained, but rather there are some loose ends that will presumably be investigated further by the scientists in the rest of the ST universe. That is to say, Vardeman may not have known how many more stories were going to be told/ how big this ST universe would become(*), but he did have the sense to place his story in the context rather than have it be The Story.

(sorry to be unclear - please comment if you think you know what I mean and can say it better, or with any comments in fact)

(*) my copy of the book is an un-numbered Timescape edition, from the formative years of the ST industry ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
This book is #3 in the series of Star Trek novels based on the original series. First published in 1981.

I have only read a few of these, but clearly this is not one of the better Star Trek novels. I was squirming within the first few pages. Since it was a short novel I soldiered on rather than tossing it. The story has some interest, and a feeling that matches some of the TV episodes of the original series. The actual writing of this, and the behavior of familiar crew members is rather uneven and bothersome (no one acts normal as part of the mystery of the story). For me, the ending of the story was unsatisfying. Not recommended. ( )
  RBeffa | Jan 22, 2016 |
Just bought --still reading, The Enterprise finds the entire crew of a peaceful Federation ship dead, and a Klingon warship nearby. Kirk feels obliged to fight, but knows the Klingons are stronger. ( )
  antiquary | Jul 3, 2015 |
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Captain Kirk and his crew are ordered to Alnath II to challenge the deadliest Klingon starship "Terror. A defenseless Vulcan crew of a Federation science ship has been wiped out and the remaining members of the Alnath II mission have discovered a fabulous ancient city, except that their report doesn't make sense. Soon Captain Kirk cannot make decisions, Spock starts to throw temper tantrums, and Chekov has disobeyed vital orders. The crew of the "EnterpriseTM are losing their minds.

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