Sunday, March 25, 2018

James Review -- Star Trek: Discovery: Drastic Measures

This week I decided to review Star Trek: Discovery: Drastic Measures by Dayton Ward. 

The book is focused on Tarsus IV during a crisis, first mentioned in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Conscience of the King" and set twenty years after the bulk of the book, where a fungal infection has devastated the planet’s food supplies and crops as well as contaminating the equipment used to transform raw materials into food. 

The story opens with Lieutenant Commander Gabriel Lorca, commander of a Starfleet observation post on the planet, having to repel a raid by members of the colonial security force. Interrogating the prisoners reveals that planetary governor Gisela Ribero has been removed from power and replaced by Adrian Kodos, who ordered the attack.

Lorca leads the survivors of his team to New Anchorage, the planet’s capital city, hoping to blend in with the civilian population. After receiving a message from Balayna Ferasini, his lover, that she has been invited to a large gathering at the city’s amphitheater by Kodos Lorca, he takes his team to her apartment seeking sanctuary. But the gathering at the amphitheater is a mass execution of the thousands of colonists Kodos believes must die to prevent the starvation of the rest of the colony, including Ferasini.

Shortly thereafter, the colonial support ship USS Narbonne arrives weeks earlier then anticipated, with a hastily assembled team led by Commander Philippa Georgiou to aid the colony. Kodos and many of his followers vanish, using terrain that hinders sensors to hide, and Governor Ribero is restored to power. Lorca volunteers to hunt for Kodos but soon finds himself struggling to control his rage when dealing with prisoners allied to Kodos. 

Meanwhile, a search for an image of Kodos, who had erased all the pictures of him he could, is finished when a young James Kirk and his friend Thomas Leighton, who lost his parents and was badly injured during the massacre, manage to recover a picture from a computer belonging to an ally of Kodos and identify him.

As the Starfleet forces try to both help the colony and find Kodos they find themselves facing raids by Kodos’s followers to obtain supplies and free their imprisoned allies. After Lorca captures Alexander Simmons, a former agent of Kodos who refused to take part in the massacre at the last moment, Simmons leads Lorca’s team to the area where Kodos’s encampment lays. But as Lorca closes in Kodos’s followers launch an attack intended to cripple the Narbonne and seize a transport to escape the planet…

There are also a few framing chapters following a woman who survived the crisis as a child as she interviews participants in the events to gather material to write a book about the crisis.

I give this book 8.5 out of 10. I liked the overall story and the characterizations a lot. While the final outcome was known, it does a good job filling in the blanks, including the big one--namely, how did Kodos mange to both escape and fake his death so successfully. However, there was another book released a couple of years ago this discuses these events which clashes with this one on some details and I feel Mr. Ward should have checked all reasonably available material discussing these events to make sure that no such clashes occurred.

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