Monday, December 12, 2022

[Review]—"Star Trek: Harm's Way" by David Mack (The Original Series)

New York Times bestselling author David Mack returns to his Star Trek: Vanguard characters in Star Trek: Harm's Way, the first TOS novel in over a year and a half. The novel takes place in July 2267, one month after Spock's pon farr visit to Vulcan in the classic TOS episode "Amok Time" and shortly after the Enterprise destroyed the planet killer in the famous TOS episode "The Doomsday Machine." It's been one year and eight months since the Enterprise's first unplanned diversion to Starbase 47 in Star Trek: Vanguard—Harbinger

The Starship Enterprise awaits in galactic space for a much-needed rendezvous with the Starfleet fuel tanker Jamnagar to refill the ship's stock of antideuterium and provide a new shipment of dilithium crystals for its warp reactor. Captain James T. Kirk gets a live subspace communication from Vice Admiral Theodore Fitzpatrick, who orders the Enterprise to look for a missing civilian scientist, Doctor Johron Verdo, a Zee-Magnees Prize-winning xenobiologist from Ardana. Verdo dispatched a private research trip aboard the S.S. Heyerdahl three weeks ago, accompanied by two of his top associates: Doctor Mozhan Rashid of Mars and Lofarras th'Sailash of Andoria. They were meant to check in once they arrived at their destination, but no communication was received by Verdo's personnel on Aradana. The S.S. Heyerdahl transmitted a quick and faint distress signal twenty-one hours ago. Attempts to establish two-way communication were unsuccessful; however, the signal originated from the planet Kolasi III. 

When the Enterprise arrives at Kolasi III, it comes upon the Sagittarius, a 14-person-manned scout ship led by Captain Nassir, which can only imply one thing: the covert Operation Vanguard is also looking for Doctor Johron Verdo. Even worse, Kirk's adversary, Captain Kang, is in command of the Klingon D4 class battlecruiser SuvwI' that's in the vicinity. Kirk makes an alliance with Nassir and dispatches a combined landing mission commanded by Spock to find the lost scientists before a Klingon assault squad arrives. Meanwhile, the Enterprise and Sagittarius try to avoid the SuvwI's sensor range while their crews prepare for a probable confrontation. 

I'm fresh to the "Vanguard" series, having just finished Vanguard: Harbinger, and thoroughly enjoyed the Enterprise's second encounter with Operation Vanguard in Star Trek: Harm's Way. David Mack does a fantastic job of fusing the Vanguard characters with the TOS characters. In terms of characters, Kirk and Spock are the most developed in Harm's Way. Commodore Matt Decker's recent death torments Kirk as he struggles with drafting a condolence letter to Decker's family. Spock attempts to reconcile his Vulcan and human emotions following his first pon farr, in which he nearly murdered Kirk.

There's a lot plotwise going on in this story, which directly relates to the Vanguard series' storyline. The Klingons intertwine into the narrative with their search for a Klingon scientist, Doctor Chunvig, who has become a "Godhead," linked to the Shedai "metagenome."  

Overall, Star Trek: Harm's Way was a fantastic read. David Mack is a gifted writer, and his passion for Star Trek is evident in this book. ╌★★★★★

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