This week I decided to review Star Trek: Legacies: Purgatory's Key by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore.
The story opens with a short scene focusing on Visla, member of a disgraced Klingon family and captain of the IKS Qo'daqh, an antique battle cruiser kept in service as a dumping ground for such personnel. The ship her son served on was recently destroyed while fighting alongside the USS Enterprise to repel a Romulan attempt to disrupt negotiations between the Klingon Empire and the Federation. Visla's son was among the Klingon survivors rescued by the Enterprise but Visla feels this has further disgraced her son and vows revenge.
Meanwhile, the Enterprise is preparing to return to Uslide to rescue Captain Una, any survivors from the Enterprise crew transported to the Jatohr universe eighteen years earlier and the various people sent there by the Romulans including Ambassador Sarek, Councilor Gorkon of the Klingon High Council, and Joanna McCoy. Kirk orders the Enterprise to begin the journey despite not having time to fully repair the ship and having no authorization to enter disputed territory and a system occupied by Klingons while Spock, Chekov, and Uhura work on modifying a probe to enter the Jatohr universe and locate those they seek to rescue.
On Uslide, Klingon scientists continue efforts to master the technology of the Jatohr but are eventually forced to retreat after triggering the citadel's security systems. When the Enterprise arrives it meets the IKS Vron'joQ commanded by J'Teglyr who agrees to corporate with the Enterprise rather then risk provoking Organian intervention. However, when the Qo'daqh arrives it attacks the Enterprise despite orders to the contrary, leading to the vessel being crippled and the survivors are rescued by J'Teglyr who then order the crippled warship destroyed in an effort to punish Visla.
Meanwhile, in the Jatohr universe, Una eventually regroups with the remaining Enterprise crew members, the surviving Uslide who were banished there during the Jatohr occupation of their homeworld, and the members of the diplomatic party, but the group suffers heavy causalities fighting the Jatohr. Captain Una discovers that she seems to be able to influence reality around her and she and Sarek soon realize that everything they are perceiving is a form of shared hallucination.
They then struggle to pierce the illusion and reactivate the probe sent by Enterprise, disabled by the natives because it caused them great pain, to use as a targeting beacon for a rescue attempt. Enterprise sends a landing party to the citadel to carry out part of the rescue plan but the citadel launches into space, beginning the next phase of the Jatohr plan to transform Uslide into a Jatohr colony. While Enterprise attacks the citadel trying to prevent permanent damage to Uslide. Visla seizes control of the Qo'daqh, leaving the Federation vessel in a desperate three way battle with little time to retrieve its landing party, complete the rescue, and disable or destroy the citadel.
I give this book 7 out of 10. While I enjoyed the story overall and thought the characters created for it were well written, I felt it had some significant flaws. First, by having Councilor Gorkon appear to die in combat against the Jatohr, it decreased the tension of that universe's events greatly for me. After all, knowing that Gorkon had to survive, why would I worry about the others who had apparently died there? Also, it suffers from being a prequel to a much older story in that I find it very odd that the events of this book are apparently forgotten by all the participants that appear in The Undiscovered Country which creates a jarring disconnect for me. Finally, I feel there were some important questions left unanswered at the end of the story.