Ice Trap

L. A. Graf

reviewed by Diane Doyle

This novel takes place some time during the "second mission" of the U.S.S. Enterprise under Captain Kirk, i.e. after Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The Enterprise has journeyed to Nordstral, a mostly ice-covered planet, to investigate two problems. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam onto the Nordstral Pharmaceuticals orbital station Curie, where they learn more about the problems from the station physician, Doctor Maxine Kane. Nordstral Pharmaceuticals had recently had a shuttle crash on the planet below and wanted the Enterprise to help rescue the personnel aboard. Also, Nordstral Pharmaceuticals wanted to investigate why many persons assigned to that station developed symptoms of insanity. Kirk and McCoy planned to investigate the instances of mental illness. Meanwhile, Uhura, Chekov, and a security team were tasked to find and rescue the missing personnel from the crashed shuttle. The plot of this novel centers on solving both those problems.

Uhura, Chekov, and the security team cope with cold, earthquakes, and other hazards while traversing the arctic like planet surface. Because of electromagnetic disruptions, communication with the Enterprise was difficult and communications with the other landing party impossible. They are guided by Nordstral station manager, Steno, who is thoroughly obnoxious. They also encounter the renegade native, Alion.  As is usual in L.A. Graf novels, Chekov gets injured by getting wounded by a poisoned harpoon and is unconscious for almost two days. Meanwhile, Kirk and McCoy board a plankton harvesting submarine vessel, the Soraya. The plot unfolds, with much action and suspense. Near the end, the crew learns much about the world’s ecological balance and actions they need to take in that regard.

Many of the names relating to this ice planet evoke images of cold. Nordstral sounds like a Scandinavian locale. The name for the native species, Kitka, sounds like Sitka, Alaska. A large fish species is known as the Kraken, named in honor of legendary sea monsters dwelling off the coast of Norway and Iceland. Readers also learn of McCoy’s fear of water dating back from childhood, as he recalls an incident where he nearly drowned. They also witness his battles with the insane doctor, Muhanti, who tries to kill him, as well the rapport he develops with Nuie, the native First Mate of the harvester. Meanwhile, fans of Chekov and Uhura will be delighted to know that they both have pivotal roles in this novel which I recommend to all fans.

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