Covenant of the Crown
reviewed by Randy Landers
Howard Weinstein is a long-time Star Trek fan who sold his first script, "Pirates of Orion," to the good folks at Filmation to be made into an animated episode. It was a really good one, and I'm pleased to say that this novel is just as good.
The story starts out with Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise being asked to transport a deposed monarch to his former planet to seal the peace accords. Kirk himself had evacuated the king some twenty years earlier. Unfortunately, he is in ill health, and plans to have his daughter installed as the new monarch if she can pass a test involving the crown.
Here's where the only real flaws in the novel take place: Kirk dispatched McCoy and Spock and the daughter to a nearby planet to retrieve the crown and undertake the test. Meanwhile, Kirk will serve as a decoy for the Klingons. As soon as shuttlecraft departs, the monarch dies, and the Klingons learn from a spy in the king's entourage what the plan is. Starfleet Command learns of this spy, and--here it comes--a commodore orders the Enterprise not to go after the shuttlecraft. Instead, he informs them they're not to move one inch until the spy is found. Once the spy is found (and oddly enough, they go to a different star system in order to get a special urn for the remains of the monarch), the Enterprise sets course to follow the shuttlecraft.
Meanwhile, Spock and McCoy are having a fine time with themselves. The dialogue is actually pretty good, and the landing party is captured and escapes before finding the keepers of the crown, a wonderfully benevolent mountain folk whose leader befriended the dead monarch. The daughter fails her first try, then succeeds on her second. They are unaware until the very end of their stay on the planet that Klingons in a small ship had been tracking them down, most unsuccessfully, I might add. Kirk and the Enterprise arrive in time to prevent Klingons with a larger vessel from capturing the landing party, and soon the young princess is installed as the monarch.
Aside from all the wild legerdemain that it takes to separate McCoy, Spock and the young lady from the Enterprise, it's a very good story, one that I can honestly recommend.
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