Star Trek: Discovery: The Enterprise War
By John Jackson Miller
(Book #5 of Star Trek: Discovery )
Read by Robert Petkoff
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (July 30, 2019)
Length: 304 pages
Runtime: 12 hours and 48 minutes
An all-new novel based upon the explosive Star Trek TV series!
A shattered ship, a divided crew—trapped in the infernal nightmare of conflict!
Hearing of the outbreak of hostilities between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire, Captain Christopher Pike attempts to bring the U.S.S. Enterprise home to join in the fight. But in the hellish nebula known as the Pergamum, the stalwart commander instead finds an epic battle of his own, pitting ancient enemies against one another—with not just the Enterprise, but her crew as the spoils of war.
Lost and out of contact with Earth for an entire year, Pike and his trusted first officer, Number One, struggle to find and reunite the ship’s crew—all while Science Officer Spock confronts a mystery that puts even his exceptional skills to the test…with more than their own survival possibly riding on the outcome…. https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Star-Trek-Discovery-The-Enterprise-War/John-Jackson-Miller/Star, through -Trek-Discovery/9781508283195
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader’s copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
I found this book an intricate blend of physical action and personal, interpersonal and poitical struggles. It’s filled with a universe of characters but focused on no more than ten. With a Whovian panoply of species from bipedal lizards to beings with faces resembling dried fruit, and another, carapaced, insect-like species with high scientific achievement but an inability to communicate with other species without physically joining. This seems like a bit of a play on the whole “problems arise when you don’t communicate” trope. This particular species reminded me of a couple of episodes in the Stargate: Atlantis T.V. series. There were a couple of other ideas that seemed based in the Stargate franchise. This remind me that science fiction as a genre shares ideas and themes.
However it is also complex, thrilling, suspenseful and tightly plotted. The Starfleet characters are interesting, heroic and imperfect. Captain Pike is certainly heroic, but emotionally reeling from losses. Spock is all kinds of screwed up, but another officer, a baseball-loving human from Florida shows his true colors and shows signs of a diplomatic nature. No romance is in the offing which is different from the stories I usually read. Without the foil of romance, the plot and characters, especially their internal struggles, take center stage and while the Star Trek Discovery program has offered some information on Spock’s mental health issues, this gives us background that gives more depth to the most recent season of the show. It is a very interesting marriage of TV and book.
The writing is decent and the plotting intricate and inventive. There are some story arcs that telegraph the story. But I love how faced with an issue of potential injury Captain Pike and his crew resolve the problem in a decidedly low-tech way. There’s also a tension as Star Fleet seems obsessed with keeping Enterprise away from the war that starts with the Battle of the Binary Stars. And, yet , they end up in the middle of a centuries-long war between species which, long ago, shared a planet. Unable to reproduce quickly enough the alliance of species presses unwilling captors into service.
Petkoff does a great job with his no-nonsense narration and pleasant voice. He uses subtle differences in voice to like cadence and light accenting to give a diversity of characters without going over the top. This is a great read for fans of Star Trek who don;t mind the way the movies anad series seem to offer a varieties of realities and timelines. If you have no idea of the franchise (where have you been for the last 50 years?) it is not a good place to start. Like all Star Trek story lines, this on e offers a message of discovery and science being more important than combat, and of the wastefulness of war and conflict.