Ever since its short run on network television in the 1960s, a significant sector of the Star Trek universe has included short stories and novels starring all the familiar characters from the TV show. These books got a bit of a slow start in the 1970s, experienced a huge surge in the 1980s, and have been slowly petering out ever since the 1990s. Unfortunately, this particular book will most likely not inspire a renaissance.
Kirk, Spock and the crew of the Enterprise answer a distress call, saving an individual from certain death. Believe it or not, this humanitarian act ignites global warfare between a pair of civilizations that have been at peace for many, many years. Since Captain Kirk feels responsible for starting the conflict, he maintains that he is morally bound to finish it before either civilization is annihilated.
All of the familiar characters are well written; they all perform their roles just as expected. The author does a very good job of exploring aspects of each of their personalities that have not always been exposed in other works. The alien races involved in the conflicts are certainly interesting and have some unique aspects that make their roles in the story interesting.
The plot (especially the ending), however, is unbelievably abysmal. The reader is never engaged to the point that he or she would care one whit about what is going on, and every opportunity to resolve the problems creatively is passed over without even an attempt at true innovation. It is nearly infuriating to feel a climax building, experience hope of three or four potentially cool resolutions, and then read nothing. Absolutely nothing. The next chapter starts, and a new situation arises, the cycle starts all over again, and finishes with another disappointment. It was frustrating, literally to the last page, and it makes we wonder how this thing was ever even published in the first place.
Rating: None. Three instances of very mild epithets.