This week I decided to review Star Trek: The Next Generation: Takedown by John Jackson Miller. The story is primarily told in the form of a flashback, with the first two chapters, final chapter, and a few interludes in the present. It opens with Admiral William Riker facing a disaster which threatens his wife and daughter, though he eventually realizes it is a holodeck simulation. He then meets Simus, a Vulcan or Romulan, who shows Riker a record of the admiral leading an attack on a Federation communications beacon. It then flashes back to Riker on the USS Titan preparing for a diplomatic meeting at a station known as Far Embassy, between lone representatives of four member states of the Khitomer Accord allies and four members of the Typhon Pact. Riker soon returns from the meeting and arranges a transfer to the USS Aventine, captained by Ezri Dax. After the transfer he explains to the Aventine crew that he has been briefed on a new program developed by rogue members of the Typhon Pact. Known as Takedown. He explains that this program is capable of taking down the entire communications grid for the Khitomer allies, and orders attacks against Typhon Pact communications stations that are likely to be used to deploy the program. After the Aventine loses contact with local allied communication stations, he orders them attacked as well to contain the program, but when the Aventine crew refuses to carry out those orders, he seizes control of the ship from the holodeck, Eventually he clashes with the USS Enterprise, which is investigating attacks on both Khitomer Accord and Typhon Pact communications stations launched by Aventine and ships commanded by the other Far Embassy attendees. Riker manages to pass a clue to Enterpise which leads them to suspect that his abilities have been enhanced, and his actions guided by the Cytherians, a race the previous Enterprise had encountered who had great skill at enhancing the mental abilities of other species far beyond their normal abilities. Meanwhile, Senator Bretorius, the Romulan attendee who was utterly insignificant before being enhanced and knows it, has been scheming to use his new abilities to seize control of the Romulan Empire, and formed an alliance with most of the other attendees to seize their home nations and then the galaxy. While the Aventine, Enterprise, and Titan mount a desperate defense to keep Far Embassy’s technology from falling into the hands of Bretorius and his allies, Captain Picard and Admiral Riker meet with the Cytherians, trying to find out the motive behind the chaos and convince them to undo the modification and damage they have caused.
I give this book a 9 out of 10. The author did a really good job of keeping me wondering what would come next in both the present and flashback scene to the end. The story was a lot of fun and the battles were entertaining, despite being mostly one sided. it also had some humorous bits that I loved. I wish we had gotten to see some scenes focused on the Far Embassy attendees other than Bretorius and Riker though.