Dreams of the Raven
reviewed by Carolyn Kaberline
When a surprise attack during a mission of mercy leaves the Enterprise almost totally disabled, the situation quickly goes from bad to worse. Not only are there numerous casualties, a gravity adjustment leaves Doctor McCoy severely injured and unable to remember the past 25 years of his life. To top it off, the needed repairs to the ship can only be performed at a starbase, which means the Enterprise is totally vulnerable to another attack by known foes and their new enemy, a bird-like race with two brains. Luckily, an abandoned Klingon cruiser is found and under Sulus direction is able to provide some protection for the Enterprise.
Although pieces of their attackers are found and reconstructed, the beings are totally unknown. However, despite his loss of memory, Doctor McCoy does remember that this race, referred to as Ravens, had been mentioned when he was in medical school. Their method of attack? Pluck out and swallow the brains of those they conquer and then use those second brains to totally absorb the personae of their victims.
The long hazardous journey of the Enterprise ends when it reaches Wagner Post; however, their arrival may have only increased their problems for the station has been taken over by the Ravens.
Its up to the Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise to reclaim the station if they are to make the necessary repairs to the ship and free any survivors. However, during the away mission to do just that, Spock is critically injured, and McCoy is the only one who can save himthat is, if his memory returns enough to do so.
A very readable and fast paced story, Dreams of the Raven should totally engage readers as they learn of the Ravens and their method of attack along with the Enterprise crew. In addition, readers are also able to feel Captain Kirks frustration as Doctor McCoy not only fails to recognize him, but insists that he wants to return home as soon as possible to take up a private practice.
During the course of the novel, readers will also learn something of McCoys past as the doctor handling his case believes his continued amnesia is the result of something more than just the head injury incurred in his fall. Readers will also feel McCoys sense of loss as he tries to fit into a world he no longer remembers.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing parts of the book is the introduction of the Ravens. These new villains do not always kill their victims outright but totally absorb their personalities and subjugate those personalities to their will. Since they do not show themselves but use only radio communication to lure their victims to their doom, Captain Kirks must be sure he is attacking them and not innocent bystanders. In short, this book is one that should be added to the must read list.
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