Friday, October 13, 2017

Beneath the Raptor's Wing

Star Trek: Enterprise
The Romulan War: Beneath the Raptor's Wing by Michael A. Martin
Published October 2009
Read June 29th 2016


Previous book (Enterprise): Kobayashi Maru

Next book (Enterprise): The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm



Spoilers ahead for The Romulan War: Beneath the Raptor's Wing!

From the back cover:
At the start of the twenty-first century, unconditional war swept across the Earth. A war that engulfed the great and the small, the rich and the poor, giving no quarter. Each side strove for unconditional victory, and as battle built upon battle, the living began to envy the dead. Chastised by the cataclysm that they had unleashed, the governments of Earth came together. Humanity vowed to put an end to war and to strive for the betterment of every living creature. A united Earth created Starfleet, an interstellar agency whose mission was to explore the cosmos, to come in peace for all mankind. It was a naïve wish that was battered by interstellar realities, yet man persists in the belief that peace is the way. Banding together with other powers to form a Coalition of Planets, humanity hopes that the strength each can offer the other will allow for peaceful exploration. However, the rise of the Coalition strikes dread within the Romulan Star Empire. They feel its growing reach will cut them off from what is rightfully theirs. The Romulans know that the alliance is fragile, that the correct strategy could turn allies into foes. Perfecting a way of remotely controlling Coalition ships and using them as weapons against one another, the Romulans hope to drive a wedge of suspicion and mistrust between these new allies. One Starfleet captain uncovers this insidious plot: Jonathan Archer of the Enterprise. Determined not to lose what they have gained, outmanned and outgunned, the captains of Starfleet stand tall, vowing to defend every inch of Coalition space until the tide begins to turn. The Romulans now plan to strike at what they see as the heart of their problem. With nothing left to lose, the Romulan Star Empire engages in all-out war against humanity, determined once and for all to stop the human menace from spreading across the galaxy.

My thoughts:

Much like the Deep Space Nine and Voyager relaunches, Enterprise novels were given a fresh start when the authors were allowed to move beyond the series finale and showcase events from a time period that never made it on screen. Beginning with The Good That Men Do, authors Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels told the story of the Starship Enterprise under Archer after we stopped watching their adventures in 2255. The Coaltion of Planets, Trip's fake death, and the run-up to the Romulan War were all explored. Now, we finally reach that fateful conflict. This time, however, Michael Martin is without his longtime writing partner, and is instead penning the novels solo. How does this entry stack up against the ones before it?

Unfortunately, I have to render a verdict of "not well." While the underlying story is certainly interesting, and the exploration of such a crucial period in Star Trek history is very welcome, the execution here is lacking in my opinion. The story at seems seems very ponderous, taking forever to get where it is going, and much of the momentum of the events is lost by the unfocused way the story moves through the early years of the Romulan War. It felt as though just as things are getting interesting, the book would jump ahead in time or to another setting at just the wrong time.

I appreciated that Beneath the Raptor's Wing featured perspectives different from the ones we're used to, including that of the Romulans conducting the war against Earth and her allies.

There are certainly a number of things I appreciated. I liked that the novel featured a variety of perspectives on the conflict, including an investigative journalist as well as colonists who have a different view of the war than either the Earth-born natives or the Starfleet crews that form the backbone of the defense of Earth and her colonies. Additionally, the opportunity to see things from the perspective of the Romulans added an interesting element to the book, although this leads to another issue that many online (myself included) had with this novel.

I don't speak Romulan. Heck, unlike many Trek fans, I don't even speak Klingon! But this book is inundated with Romulan terms and phrases. This is, on the face of it, not a bad thing. However, it got to the point while reading it that it got difficult to understand. I'm all for peppering a story with alien words here and there, but when it gets in the way of following the story, it might just be a bit much.

Perhaps if I were Admiral Valdore, I could have followed the use of Romulan terms in this novel with a little less confusion.

The Romulan War is a critical period in the future history of Star Trek, and it deserves to be showcased. This is the conflict that immediately precedes the founding of the United Federation of Planets, and leads to the world that we know and love from The Original Series one hundred years hence. I certainly wouldn't say that you shouldn't read this book; as I mentioned above, there are a number of very good factors that were enjoyable to read. It is simply that the novel as a whole doesn't hold up as much as I would like it to. Much like some people's opinions of the Voyager relaunch novels that were written before Kirsten Beyer took the helm, I feel that one should read these Enterprise relaunch novels in order to get to the good stuff: Christopher L. Bennett's Enterprise: Rise of the Federation series.

Final thoughts:

Regular readers of this blog will know that I generally dislike giving unfavorable reviews. I'm someone who is usually fairly easily pleased, and I tend to really enjoy a good Star Trek story. This one, however, left me somewhat cold. The story seems too ponderous in places, and the pacing felt off. There are certainly some positive aspects, including the different perspectives presented by the author as well as the expansive feel of the political landscape during this period, but it's not enough to make this one a really compelling read. And it's too bad, really; The Romulan War should be an important story that greatly adds to the mythology of Star Trek history. Unfortunately, Beneath the Raptor's Wing somewhat misses the mark.

More about Beneath the Raptor's Wing:

Podcast: Literary Treks 154: I Don't Speak Romulan



Also by Michael A. Martin:

My next read:

Next up is my video review for Dayton Ward's TNG: Hearts and Minds. On the written review front, look for my review of Kirsten Beyer's first Voyager relaunch novel, Full Circle.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Covers for Upcoming Releases!

Hey everyone! We have a couple of new book covers for upcoming Trek stories to show you!

First up is the final, corrected version of Titan: Fortune of War by David Mack! Fortune of War is set for release on November 28th and will feature Riker and the crew of the Titan dealing with fallout from the events of a third season TNG episode. Check out the cover and back-cover blurb below, along with links to pre-order from Amazon!


From the back cover:
An original spin-off novel set in the popular Star Trek: The Next Generation universe from New York Times bestselling author David Mack. 
Death slumbers in the ashes of silent planets, waiting to be awakened and unleashed… 
Twenty years have passed since the interstellar scourge known as the Husnock were exterminated without warning by a being with godlike abilities. Left behind, intact but abandoned, their desolate worlds and derelict ships brim with destructive potential. 
Now a discovery by a Federation cultural research team has drawn the attention of several ruthless factions. From black market smugglers to alien military forces, it seems every belligerent power in the quadrant hopes to capture the Husnock's lethal technology. 
All that stands between the galaxy and those who have come to plunder the cruelest secrets of the Husnock are Admiral William Riker, Captain Christine Vale, and the crew of the Starship Titan.

Official street date for Fortune of War is November 28th. You can pre-order it here:

Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk


A couple of weeks before Fortune of War, however, is a new Deep Space Nine e-book novella by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann: I, The Constable. This one looks really fascinating, and I can't wait to check it out!


From the publisher's description:
An original enovella set in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine universe! 
With his Starfleet assignment temporarily on hold, Odo needs a distraction. He welcomes Chief O’Brien’s offer to loan him some of the action-packed books that both men relish: tales about hard-boiled private eyes, threatening thugs, and duplicitous dames. Then Quark suddenly goes missing during a hastily planned trip to Ferenginar. His concerned friends on Deep Space Nine feel that Odo, as the station’s former chief of security, is uniquely suited to track Quark down. But once on Ferenginar, Odo learns that Quark is trapped in the seamy underbelly of a criminal enterprise that could have been ripped from the pages of one of O’Brien’s novels. To find the bartender, Odo discovers that he must rely not only on his law enforcement background, but his knowledge of all things noir….

I, The Constable is due to be released on November 13th, and you can download it from your vendor of choice on that date! Here are pre-order links from Amazon:

 E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Release Day, Part Deux! Discovery: Desperate Hours

Star Trek: Discovery
Desperate Hours by David Mack

We also have another new novel released today, a trade paperback, and the first original novel in the Star Trek: Discovery series, released just two days after the world premiere of the new television show! Check out Discovery: Desperate Hours by renowned Star Trek author David Mack!



Publisher's description:
An all-original novel based upon the explosive new series on CBS All Access!

Aboard the Starship Shenzhou, Lieutenant Michael Burnham, a human woman raised and educated among Vulcans, is promoted to acting first officer. But if she wants to keep the job, she must prove to Captain Philippa Georgiou that she deserves to have it.

She gets her chance when the Shenzhou must protect a Federation colony that is under attack by an ancient alien vessel that has surfaced from the deepest fathoms of the planet’s dark, uncharted sea.

As the menace from this mysterious vessel grows stronger, Starfleet declares the colony expendable in the name of halting the threat. To save thousands of innocent lives, Burnham must infiltrate the alien ship. But to do so, she needs to face the truth of her troubled past, and seek the aid of a man she has tried to avoid her entire life—until now.

Purchase Discovery: Desperate Hours:



Next Release: Deep Space Nine: I, the Constable

Release Day! Deep Space Nine: Original Sin

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Gamma
Original Sin by David R. George III

With a couple of months this year with no new release, today our cups runneth over with TWO new releases! First off is the latest adventure in the Deep Space Nine universe: Gamma: Original Sin by David R. George III! Check out the cover art below, and find links to purchase from Amazon!



Publisher's description:
Continuing the Deep Space Nine saga—an original novel from New York Times bestselling author David R. George III!

At the end of 2385, in a significant shift of its goals from military back to exploratory, Starfleet sent Captain Benjamin Sisko and the crew of the U.S.S. Robinson on an extended mission into the Gamma Quadrant. Tasked with a yearlong assignment to travel unknown regions, they set out to fulfill the heart of Starfleet’s charter: to explore strange new worlds, and to seek out new life and new civilizations.

But now three months into the mission, their first contact with an alien species comes in the form of an unprovoked attack on the Robinson. With the ship’s crew suddenly incapacitated, seventy-eight of the 1,300 aboard are abducted—including Sisko’s daughter, Rebecca. But Rebecca had already been kidnapped years earlier by a Bajoran religious zealot, part of a sect believing that her birth fulfilled the prophecy of the arrival of the Infant Avatar. Does her disappearance now have anything to do with the harrowing events of the past? And for what purposes have these enemies taken Sisko’s daughter and the rest of the missing?

Purchase Deep Space Nine: Gamma: Original Sin:



Thursday, September 21, 2017

Literary Treks 203: The Ends Justify the Means

Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference
by Christopher L. Bennett

Purchase:
MMPB: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Kindle: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

The Prime Directive: The cornerstone of Federation law when it comes to interacting with other cultures. How did this important directive come into being, and what were the intentions of the original authors of Starfleet's overriding policy? We journey back to the early days of the Federation to find out!

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by Earl Grey's Justin Oser to talk about Christopher L. Bennett's latest novel, Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference. We discuss the dictator Maltuvis, the ultimate Prime Directive debate, a strange new world, freedom and truth, Section 31's fatal flaw, what's in store for Trip, and Archer's beagle companion, Porthos.

In the news segment, we talk about the recently revealed (and incorrect) cover for David Mack's upcoming Titan novel, Fortune of War.


Literary Treks 203: The Ends Justify the Means
Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference by Christopher L. Bennett


 


Previous episode: Literary Treks 202: The Rosebud of My Collection
Next episode: Literary Treks 204: Mudd In Your Eye by Jerry Oltion

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Literary Treks 202: The Rosebud of My Collection

Star Trek FotoNovels with Access Hollywood's Scott Mantz!




Before VCRs, DVRs and Netflix, viewers had to watch Star Trek as it appeared on TV. There were no options to record. You couldn't buy the episodes on Blu-ray or download them online. To relive favorite episodes, fans were at the mercy of watching reruns on their local TV station. The only way to enjoy certain episodes over and over again on your own time was to open a book filled with full-color photographs and dialogue directly from the series.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by Access Hollywood's Scott Mantz to talk about Star Trek Fotonovels from the 1970s. We discuss our fond memories of the '70s, Scott's favorite episode of all time, his collection of all twelve fotonovels, their influence on John Byrne's New Visions comics, and the interviews and glossaries found in the back of the books.

In the news segment, we talk about new comics from IDW Publishing coming in November and the latest issue of Star Trek New Visions #17: "All the Ages Frozen."


Literary Treks 202: The Rosebud of My Collection
Star Trek FotoNovels with Access Hollywood's Scott Mantz


 


Previous episode: Literary Treks 201: Cougar Q
Next episode: Literary Treks 203: Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference by Christopher L. Bennett

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Literary Treks 201: Cougar Q

Star Trek: The Next Generation #49
The Q Continuum Book 3 of 3
Q-Strike by Greg Cox

MMPB: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Kindle: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

A powerful force has been unleashed on an unsuspecting galaxy: a dangerous being who once tested the might of the entire Q Continuum. Now, it's up to Picard and his crew, along with Q and his family, to thwart this enemy and keep the galaxy as we know it from complete and utter destruction.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther are again joined by The Edge and Earl Grey host Amy Nelson to talk about the final novel in the Q Continuum trilogy, Q-Strike by Greg Cox. We discuss the plot of the novel, a sad end to a family crisis, the Q family dynamic, the ending of the novel, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings for both this novel and the Q Continuum trilogy as a whole.

In the news segment, we review two comics: the final issue of the Waypoint series, and issue #3 of the Mirror Broken miniseries.

Literary Treks 201: Cougar Q
TNG #49: The Q Continuum Book 3 of 3: Q-Strike by Greg Cox




Previous episode: Literary Treks 200: Klingon-It Up a Little Bit
Next episode: Literary Treks 202: The Rosebud of My Collection

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Literary Treks 200: Klingon-It Up a Little Bit

Hidden Universe Travel Guides:
Star Trek: The Klingon Empire
Exclusive Interview with author Dayton Ward

Trade Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Sunscreen? Check. Klingon etiquette guide? Check. Marc Okrand's Klingon Dictionary? Check. You're all set for your ultimate vacation to the Klingon homeworld! There's just one more book you should remember to bring in order to make your holiday an honorable one...

In this milestone episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by Dayton Ward to talk about his latest work, the Hidden Universe Travel Guide to The Klingon Empire! We discuss the research that went into the book, where Dayton got his ideas, the connections to the Star Trek novelverse, some great places for food and drink on Kronos, dos and don'ts while traveling in the Klingon Empire, and wrap up with what Dayton is currently working on.

In the news, Dayton joins us to discuss his upcoming Star Trek: Discovery novel, highlights from the Las Vegas Star Trek convention, and we end up having a bit of surprise wordplay fun with a book release from 2016 that we forgot to cover in a previous episode!

Literary Treks 200: Klingon-It Up a Little Bit
Hidden Universe Travel Guides: Star Trek: The Klingon Empire by Dayton Ward







Previous episode: Literary Treks 199: Star Trek Murder Board
Next episode: Literary Treks 201: Q-Strike by Greg Cox

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Release Day! Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference

Star Trek: Enterprise
Rise of the Federation
Patterns of Interference by Christopher L. Bennett

After a little bit of a drought with no new Trek novel releases, our long wait is finally over with the release of Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference, the latest Star Trek: Enterprise novel by Christopher L. Bennett! As has been the case lately, the novel is showing up early in bookstores everywhere, so keep your eyes peeled. As always, I have links below to purchase Pattern of Interference from Amazon if you would prefer!



Publisher's description:
The saga of the Star Trek: Enterprise TV series continues with this thrilling original novel!

The time has come to act. Following the destructive consequences of the Ware crisis, Admiral Jonathan Archer and Section 31 agent Trip Tucker both attempt to change their institutions to prevent further such tragedies. Archer pushes for a Starfleet directive of non-interference, but he faces opposition from allies within the fleet and unwelcome support from adversaries who wish to drive the Federation into complete isolationism. Meanwhile, Tucker plays a dangerous game against the corrupt leaders of Section 31, hoping to bring down their conspiracy once and for all. But is he willing to jeopardize Archer’s efforts—and perhaps the fate of an entire world—in order to win?

Purchase Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference



Previous Release: Deep Space Nine: Enigma Tales

Monday, August 14, 2017

Literary Treks 199: Star Trek Murder Board

Star Trek: Preserver
By William Shatner (with Garfield & Judith Reeves-Stevens)

Hardcover: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
MMPB: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Kindle: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

What if our actions are not our own? What if all of us are merely pawns in a universe-spanning game, controlled by vastly older races with agendas and motivations that remain obscured? How would we know? And, most importantly, how would the mighty Captain Kirk deal with them?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson talk about the Shatnerverse novel Preserver. We discuss the nature of the Preservers, fate versus free will, duplicate Earths, secret groups within the Federation, the two Kirks, Teilani, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news segment, we talk about Star Trek comic news from SDCC and review issue #10 of Boldly Go.


Literary Treks 199: Star Trek Murder Board
Preserver by William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens






Previous episode: Literary Treks 198: Behold the Scourge of Neil
Next episode: Literary Treks 200: Klingon-It Up a Little Bit

Literary Treks 198: Behold the Scourge of Neil

Star Trek: The Next Generation #48
The Q Continuum Book 2 of 3
Q-Zone by Greg Cox

MMPB: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Kindle: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

As the Enterprise holds her own against a swarm of energy creatures determined to keep the crew from completing their mission, Q leads Picard on a journey through his past, where a force even greater than Q and with an even wider cruel streak wreaks havoc on the galaxy.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther are joined once again by Earl Grey's Amy Nelson to discuss the second book of the Q Continuum series, Q-Zone. We talk about stardate snafus, peer pressure, bad parenting, 0's gang of evil-doers, the end of the TKon Empire, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news segment, we discuss the upcoming e-book release, I, The Constable by Paula Block and Terry Erdmann, a new activity book called Search for Spock by Robb Pearlman, a resolution to the issue with Discovery novel pre-orders at Amazon UK, and we talk about the IDW comic releases for October, including some news about the Star Trek: Discovery comics.


Literary Treks 198: Behold the Scourge of Neil
TNG #48: The Q Continuum Book 2 of 3: Q-Zone by Greg Cox






Previous episode: Literary Treks 197: You've Been Macked
Next episode: Literary Treks 199: Star Trek Murder Board

Friday, August 4, 2017

Books and Comics News From STLV17!



Over on my YouTube channel, I've just posted a video featuring news from the Creation Entertainment Official Star Trek Convention, happening right now in Las Vegas!

Click here to watch the video on YouTube, or click the embedded player below for exciting news about Star Trek: Discovery comics and books, as well as some surprising news regarding the upcoming Pocket Books Star Trek book schedule!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Literary Treks 197: You've Been Macked

Exclusive Interview with Una McCormack
New York Times Bestselling Author of
Deep Space Nine: Enigma Tales

MMPB: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Kindle: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Garak has gone from spy to revolutionary to ambassador to castellan of the Cardassian Union in just a few short years. In that time, Cardassia has changed immensely. But the people of Cardassia still share a lot of guilt, and ghosts of the past may be rising again to ruin the lives of some of Cardassia's finest. Now, it is up to Dr. Kate Pulaski to discover the truth before it is too late!

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by New York Times bestselling author Una McCormack to talk about her new novel, DS9: Enigma Tales. We discuss the plot, the characters, some historical touchstones that the story parallels, the nature of Cardassian enigma tales, the state of Dr. Bashir, and wrap up with Una's upcoming projects and where you can find her online. Please note: the first part of the feature is spoiler-free, and we get into spoilers for the second half.

In the news segment, we have a link to a short supplemental to Dayton Ward's Klingon Travel Guide: "7 Common Offworlder Questions Klingons Are Tired of Hearing."

Literary Treks 197: You've Been Macked
Exclusive Interview with Una McCormack, author of Deep Space Nine: Enigma Tales






Previous episode: Literary Treks 196: Kindergarten Teachers of the Galaxy
Next episode: Literary Treks 198: Behold the Scourge of Neil

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Literary Treks 196: Kindergarten Teachers of the Galaxy

Department of Temporal Investigations
Shield of the Gods by Christopher L. Bennett


The Department of Temporal Investigations is responsible for maintaining the timeline, preventing galaxy-ending paradoxes, and stopping temporal criminals. Their track record for meeting these goals has been put in jeopardy by a criminal named Daiyar who intends to use an item stolen from the DTI's vault to change history, and it's up to the agents to put an end to her scheme.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther discuss the latest DTI e-novella, Shield of the Gods. We talk about Daiyar's scheme, character vs. plot, the Aegis Prime Directive, the Deltan concept of love, Ranjea's ultimate fate, the meaning of the title, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news, we mention the imminent releases of Eaglemoss's Star Trek Graphic Novel Collection volume 2 and Dayton Ward's Hidden Universe Travel Guide to The Klingon Empire.

Literary Treks 196: Kindergarten Teachers of the Galaxy
Department of Temporal Investigations: Shield of the Gods by Christopher L. Bennett






Previous episode: Literary Treks 195: Big Q, Big Q, and little q
Next episode: Literary Treks 197: You've Been Macked

Monday, July 24, 2017

Literary Treks 195: Big Q, Big Q, and little q

The Next Generation #47
The Q Continuum, Book 1 of 3

Q-Space by Greg Cox


When Q appears on the bridge of the Enterprise-E to stop a scientific experiment, Picard is understandably annoyed. Defying Q, the Enterprise presses on in its attempt to breach the galactic barrier that surrounds the Milky Way. However, they may be in over their heads as cosmic forces collide that may spell doom for the crew of the Enterprise and the rest of the galaxy!

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by Earl Grey's Amy Nelson to discuss the first book in the Q Continuum trilogy, Q-Space by Greg Cox. We talk about the Enterprise's mission to the galactic barrier, Q's vulnerability, the cliffhanger ending of the novel, some fun bits in the story, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news segment, we discuss the recently announced release date for David Mack's Star Trek: Discovery: Desperate Hours, and we review the latest comic, issue #2 of Mirror Broken.

Literary Treks 195: Big Q, Big Q, and little q
The Next Generation #47: Q-Space by Greg Cox






Previous episode: Literary Treks 194: Mr. Worf, don't put that in your mouth!
Next episode: Literary Treks 196: Kindergarten Teachers of the Galaxy