Ann Crispin

reviewed by Diane Doyle

The novel "Sarek" takes place almost immediately after the events of Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country. At that time, Amanda, wife of Sarek and mother of Spock, is in ill-health. There are many threats to the peace the galaxy currently enjoys. Many Klingons do not support Chancellor Azetbur and peace with the Federation as evidenced by Klingon renegades conducting raids in the Neutral Zone. Back on Earth, the Keep Earth Human League (KEHL), which supports expelling the Vulcans from the Federation, is gaining members and becoming more of a threat to Federation security. Sarek is convinced that a mysterious race called the Freelan, who reside on a cold, inhospitable world within Romulan territory, is behind the increasing membership of KEHL, as well as being responsible for other discord. He wishes to present more concrete evidence to the Federation President and arranges a meeting between himself and Taryn, the Freelan diplomatic envoy with whom he had generally dealt over a long period of time. He learns definitively that the Freelans are Romulan but has to dispose of evidence he gained to avoid detection.

In the meantime, Amanda is examined by a Vulcan healer, who pronounces that she does not have much time left. Dr. McCoy confirms the diagnosis. Both Spock and Sarek intend to spend the remaining time with Amanda; however, duty calls for Sarek as the Federation President personally summons him to negotiate with Klingons on Deneb IV. This upsets Spock who feels like Sarek should not be leaving his wife during her last days.

The novel contains many flashbacks to Sarek’s past, including his original assignment to Freelan, his betrothal to the priestess T’Rea, his first pon-farr while on the Freelan space station, the divorce from T’Rea, his involvement and subsequent marriage to Amanda, the birth of Spock, their estrangement when Spock decided to attend Starfleet Academy instead of the Vulcan Science Academy, and many other important events. Many of the flashbacks were triggered by his reading of Amanda’s journals while others were triggered by his memories of his service as attaché to Freelan.

There is an additional subplot that deals with Peter Kirk who is now a senior at Starfleet Academy and soon to take the Kobayashi Maru. The KEHL kidnap him, and he is eventually turned over to the Klingon Kamarag. Kamarag’s niece, Valdyr, is forced to be his jailer. The Enterprise, with Sarek, Spock, and Kirk go to rescue him. By the end of the novel, readers are treated to Peter Kirk’s ingenious solution to the Kobayashi Maru.

This is a very sweeping novel, with much action and suspense, as well as insight into the lives of Klingons, Vulcans, and Romulans. All the plots and sub-plots are engaging to the reader. Events described in the novel are a logical extrapolation from events depicted in Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country. It is a must read for any fan of Spock or Sarek. Once again, Ann Crispin shows her knowledge and love of Vulcan characters.

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