Thursday, May 15, 2014

Star Trek; The Original Series: Serpents in the Garden review

This week I chose to review Star Trek; The Original Series: Serpents in the Garden by  Jeff Mariotte. This is a sequel to the original series episode A Private Little War. In that episode Captain Kirk returned to Neural, a world inhabited by a low tech humanoid society. In the episode he discovers that Klingons are supplying flintlock muskets to one faction of the inhabitants and in response supplies similar weapons to the faction led by Tyree, a man he befriended on his first visit to the world which is the target of the Klingon-armed village. The novel starts years later, during the Enterprise NCC-1701’s pre-Star Trek The Motion Picture refit. Admiral Kirk has discovered that Klingon activity in the area around Neural has greatly increased and eventually, along with his aide and a pair of security guards, Kirk hires a transport to take his team back to Neural hoping to discover what the Klingons are up to. Soon after arriving at Neural Kirk meets up with Tyree who is now leader of Freehold, an alliance of most of the tribes opposed to the Klingon-armed village Victory. Tyree explains that Victory has also grown with many tribes pledging loyalty to it, and that Victory has also been launching raid to gather slaves from among the tribes not allied to it. Kirk and his party move to investigate Victory and soon find themselves fighting both native predators and attack parties sent by Victory while seeking to discover the secret of the slave labor-driven mine Victory has established. In the end Kirk must lead a desperate attempt to unite the people of Tyree’s Freehold and Victory against the Klingon presence while a number of his former crew members race to attempt to help him after his former chief engineer accidentally discovers that Kirk has returned to Neural.

I give this book an 8.5 out of 10. I like seeing stories that show us more about what happened to the worlds the Enterprise and crew visited after they left. The story was interesting with a number of fun action sequences, and despite a few sad points, including one which in some ways echoes the ending of one of my favorite episodes of the TV series, it has a happy ending overall. It evens has a little space battle, which I honestly never expected once I read the back cover of the book. While far from the best in science fiction history I thought it was a nice little touch.  

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