This week I decided to review Star Trek: Voyager: A Pocket Full of Lies by Kirsten Beyer.
The story opens with a few brief scenes before moving onto the main story which starts with part of the Full Circle Fleet moving to meet the Nihydrons, a species known for collecting information. But the Nihydron seemed shocked when they see Admiral Janeway. They soon explain that on a nearby world two groups known as the Rilnr and the Zahl have been fighting over their mutual homeworld of Sormana. A few years earlier the Rilnar were on the verge of losing the war when a new leader, or denzit, appeared claiming to be Kathryn Janeway and turned the tide of the battle.
Confused because Janeway’s death had been a multi-universal fixed point in time covering every current timeline and, to their knowledge, only Admiral Janeway had been revived, Voyager races to Sormana and after receiving permission from the ships assigned to stop any non-humanitarian aid from the offworld Rilnar and Zahl colonies to the combatants, Captain Chakotay goes to meet the Denzit Janeway who explains she was from a timeline Chakotay had encountered while on Voyager when the ship had been spilt among various points in its history.
Soon after Chakotay returned to his native time, the ship had been attacked and Captain Janeway was captured and tortured before being rescued by the Rilnar. When Chakotay’s efforts to convince Denzit Janeway to leave the war fail, Voyager leaves to retrieve Tuvok in hopes he can convince her to return to the Federation.
Meanwhile, the Full Circle fleet encounters a log buoy equipped with temporal shielding describing an alternate timeline where Voyager found itself at war with the nearby Krenim, who are peaceful in the new timeline. Tuvok not only fails to convince Denzit Janeway to leave, he, still reeling emotionally from the death of his son during the final Borg invasion, begins to support her when she reveals that she died and was revived during childbirth and that she believes that her Rilnar husband and their child are being held prisoner by the Zahl.
But the quest for the truth soon becomes a desperate race to prevent the utter destruction of Sormana. The novel also has two side stories, one of which deals with Ensign Icheb’s attempts to adapt to his new role as Tores’ aid, and the strain on his relations with the fleet’s engineering caused by his obsession with regulations. The other deals with Harry Kim’s relationship with Nancy Conlon plus her reaction to being taken over by an alien in a previous book and the devastating secret she learned during that incident.
I give the book 7.5 out of 10. The main storyline was great and I loved getting to learn more about the effects the changes in history wrought by the end of "Year of Hell" both on the Krenim people as a whole and some of the individual Krenim involved in the events of the episode, and there were a few pleasant surprises in the ending, though I wonder if there will be a followup story someday. However, the sidestories weren’t nearly as good as the main story and, in particular, I find the Conlon sideplot to be little more than wasted space personally. Though I get the feeling there might be some moral point hidden in it, I’m not certain and don’t know what it is supposed to be if there is one. If there isn’t, it seems like a bad soap opera plot and one certain to be continued. The Icheb plot was better but took too long to get to the point, in my opinion, though it had more impact on the main plot at least.