Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, and Robert Greenberger
reviewed by Diane Doyle
This novel takes place during the original series, specifically, after "The Naked Time" and "Balance of Terror" and before "The Apple." The U.S.S. Enterprise was investigating a series of brutal attacks within the Xaridian star system by a mysterious alien fleet. At that time, Lieutenant Uhura, was being temporarily reassigned to the U.S.S. Lexington, under Commodore Wesley. The Lexington was involved in a diplomatic mission to Rithra, a world near Gorn territory. Uhura was assigned there because Starfleet felt her communications expertise would be useful. Her feelings about leaving the Enterprise, the people she meets on the Lexington, and the knowledge gained about the Rithrim people are detailed throughout this novel.
Meanwhile, Ensign Pavel Chekov is newly assigned to the ship and showing his inexperience. His misadventures include nearly colliding with Uhura while hurrying to the bridge, accidentally stepping on data tapes while investigating the ruins on Alpha Xaridian II and getting chewed out by Captain Kirk, suggesting a maneuver during a Red Alert and getting confined to quarters. By the end of the novel, he does overcome his nervousness and contributes to the success of the crew.
Most of the action in the novel involves the search for the aliens and engaging in battle with them to prevent them from attacking any other worlds. Eventually, we learn the surprising origin of these aliens.
The novel is especially of interest to fans of Uhura and Chekov, due to the story lines described above, although the other series regulars have interesting character moments. Many other crew members from the series play a role, including Lieutenant Palmer, who takes Uhuras place at communications. It is a very good action adventure novel, full of suspense.
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