Tuesday, December 25, 2018

James Review -- Star Trek: Prometheus: In the Heart of Chaos

This week I decided to review Star Trek: Prometheus: In the Heart of Chaos by Bernd Perplies and Christian Hamburg. 

The story begins shortly after the last book ends. The Klingons have put a short time limit on the mission to find and stop the source of the recent hostility and terrorist attacks by the usually isolationist Renao before they launch a full-scale invasion of the Lembatta cluster that the Renao call home.

The Federation starship USS Prometheus and the Klingon battlecruiser IKS Bortas have determined that the Order of Purifying Flame, the Renao terrorist group, is under the influence of the Son of the Ancient Red, an energy being that feeds off of hate and anger. The Son had been imprisoned on the long lost Renao Homeworld, Iad, thousands of years earlier. But a century before a Federation starship had stumbled across Iad before falling under the Son’s sway and crashing into the planet which weakened the prison.
However, the Son is rapidly increasing tensions among the Federation and Klingon crews. Also, the Order of the Purifying Flame is beginning to lash out at Renao who aren’t part of the order. The Klingon and Federation crews determine that the White Guardian, who had imprisoned the Son, might be native to a region with conditions similar to those around Iad, conditions that are extremely unusual.

After an agreement that delays the Klingon invasion, and an extensive search of Federation databases, another such region is found that would be more merciful, then Prometheus sets off while the Bortas continues the search for the Order’s primary base and shipyard. Upon arriving, the Prometheus begins talks with the White Guardians by allowing them to possess the ship’s Emergency Medical Hologram. They explain that the Son is actually one of their own, a child who got lost while exploring and, while on the brink of starvation, discovered the Lembatta cluster which looked like home, and a new stronger source of nourishment within, the emotions of the Renao. But feeding on the emotions drove the Son insane and an elder of his people was dispatched to deal with the problem. The elder managed to imprison the Son and move the Renao safely out of the imprisoned Son’s reach, but the elder also starved to death during the journey home and with their population so few, the White Guardians are unwilling to send another to their death to again lock away the Son.
Lieutenant Jassat ak Namur, the only Renao to join Starfleet so far, convinces the White Guardians that killing the Son would be more merciful then leaving him to live out his life in madness. The White Guardians reply that they can transfer some of their energy to a host who can carry it to Iad where it will destroy the Son, but they also warn that the host is unlikely to survive. Namur convinces Captain Richard Adams to let him be the host and the race is on to deliver Namur to Iad even as the Bortas locates and begins its assault on the headquarters of the Order of the Purifying Flame…

There are also a number of interludes concerning negotiations between the Federation and Klingon Empire as the Federation tries to convince their ally to delay its invasion, actions on the perimeter of the cluster, and the reactions of non-Order Renao as the Purifying Flame turns on them.
I give this book 9.5 out of 10. I like many of the characters, and also enjoy the final battle against the Purifying Flame base and its defenders. Also, I find the explanation of the origin of the Son of the Ancient Reds, and presumably the Beta XII-A entity which appears to be another mad Guardian from a different universe, to be a well-written twist in the story. I wish some of the interludes had been expanded further, though. While I know the trilogy is over and many of the characters won’t be returning, I hope that the Prometheus subseries is continued in the future.

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