The Patrian Transgression
reviewed by Carolyn Kaberline
The U.S.S. Enterprise has been dispatched to Patria, a planet ready for Federation membership. And even though Captain Kirk seems to have a reputation for not being able to get along with diplomatic types, it appears this mission will be different when Robert Jordan, an old friend of Kirks, is beamed aboard to handle the negotiations. However, it doesnt take long before Kirk and his crew find that appearances can be deceiving: The political climate is unstable and turmoil on the planet is increasing, and it appears the Klingons may be supplying weapons to some of the rebel forces. The situation grows even worse when the Patrian leader asks Kirk and Jordan for help in stopping the rebels before Federation membership is completed, and even though Kirk believes his help would violate the Prime Directive, Jordan disagrees. And as if things couldnt get worse, the Enterprise crew finds that the laws on the planet make even the intent to commit a crime the same as actually committing it.
Kirk soon finds himself standing between the rebels, who try to show him what life on Patria is really like, and members of the police force, who have been given the ability to read minds. And while Kirk can understand the problems of each side, he still has come to a solution that will work for all parties.
While this novel seems to borrow heavily from Alfred Besters The Demolished Man when it comes to setting up its police force, there is one notable difference: While all the people in Besters society are natural mind readers, those in Hawkes world are members of the police force who are surgically altered to read minds. In addition, the operation to create mind readers eventually causes death.
While the plot has enough twists and turns to satisfy most readers, this is also a character driven novel. Lieutenant Iano of the Patrian police force is carefully drawn, as is Kalo from the rebel forces. Each has compelling reasons for his actions, and its up to Kirk and the Enterprise crew to find a way to satisfy the needs of both sides.
In addition, one of the unique aspects of the book is Doctor McCoys relationship with Kim Li Wing, the Secretary of Protocol of the Federation Council on Intercultural Affairs, despite his early comments that shes "young enough to be my daughter."
The Patrian society is also carefully drawn and readers are treated to a world where even the simplest of items can be changed into a sumptuous repast: a grub can be made into a baked potato, and a rat-type animal, modified to taste like beef.
While the plot of the novel is somewhat similar to the typical Star Trek fare, the character interactions and cultural set up are unique, and make it a worthwhile read for all.
Free counters provided by Vendio.
Click here to
return to the Star Trek novels page.
Click here to return to the Main Index Page.