Faces of Fire
Michael Jan Friedman
reviewed by Carolyn Kaberline
Despite his promise to be civil to the ambassador the Enterprise will be ferrying to Alpha Malurian VI to settle a religious dispute, Doctor McCoy finds that extremely hard to do after meeting Farquhar. It becomes even harder after the Enterprise is ordered to detour to the terraforming colony on Beta Canzandia III to give physicals to its inhabitants before heading to the Ambassadors assignment: Ambassador Farquhar seems to spend every waking moment complaining about the delay and slamming the ship, its captain and its crew.
Upon arriving at the Beta Canzandia colony, Kirk is pleasantly surprised to find his former lover Carol Marcus there working on the terraforming project. When she apprises the captain and Mister Spock of her work and tells them of some problems shes run into, Mister Spock offers to stay behind and help while the ship continues on to Alpha Malurian VI.
However, while Marcus and the captain become reacquainted, McCoy spends his time giving physicals to the members of the colony prior to the Enterprises departure. It is while doing this that McCoy learns of Carol Marcus real secret: She has a son whose father is Jim Kirk.
While Kirk uses all his expertise to solve the Alpha Malurian VI dispute, the Federation colony comes under Klingon control. Its only hope? Mister Spock and the colonys children, one of whom reminds him of his captain.
Although a quick read, this story provides plenty of action and character development. Not only do we get a close up look at Klingon intrigue, we also see Kirks realization that he has a soneven if their first meeting doesnt go exactly as planned. Its also easy to get caught up in Spocks attempts to elude the Klingons sent to find the colonys missing children. And if the proverb says that the child is father to the man, nowhere does that seem to be truer than with young David Marcus: his daredevil streak and his lack of belief in hopeless situations are eerie reminders of his heritage.
By the end of the novel, Klingon honor has been satisfied, and the colony is once again at peace, but we readers know that nothing will ever be the same for one starship captain. And even though the plot may be somewhat predictable at times, the description and character development set the novel apart from many others.
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