Den Leser erwarten vier neue Abenteuer aus der Taurus-Region mit all den Raumschiffmannschaften, Undercoveragenten, zivilen Kolonisten und fremden Mächten der Vanguard-Saga. Die Sammlung von Kurzromanen füllt die Lücken der großen Erzählung. Alle bisherigen Autoren der Serie sowie der Redakteur, der sie erfunden hat, steuerten eine Geschichte bei. Eine der Geschichten spielt vor dem ersten Band „Der Vorbote“, eine andere nach „Ernte den Sturm“ (Band 3) und zwei weitere nach dem bislang letzten Band „Vor dem Fall“.
Declassified is a collection of four novellas set in the Star Trek: Vanguard setting, which takes place around the time of the original series. The Federation has built Vanguard (Starbase 47) in the Taurus Reach ostensibly to lead the colonization efforts in the region (which borders Tholian and Klingon spaces) but its real mission is to track down and exploit the alien technology of the Shedai – a mostly extinct race who’s not at all pleased to share – while keeping it out of the hands of the Klingons.
“Almost Tomorrow,” Dayton Ward: This story takes place just prior to the events in the TOS episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” and its chief purpose is to set up the budding relationship between Diego Reyes, Vanguard’s commanding officer, and Rana Desai, its JAG officer, and that between T’Prynn, the station’s Vulcan security chief, and Anna Sandesjo, a member of the ambassadorial delegation and a Klingon agent. It is, of course, the latter that generates the most interest for the reader. Talk about an odd relationship:
T’Prynn hosts the katra of her former betrothed, Sten, a result of a marriage challenge that went really wrong. Anna is, of course, a Klingon.
Nothing good can come of the relationship but if you’re following the series, it’s interesting to see its origins. And it’s an opportunity to get in some more Vulcan/Klingon lesbian sex (NO – I do not have photos of that! I like to think that GR is a family-friendly site, and Vulcans are notoriously reticent about those things anyway).
“Hard News,” Kevin Dilmore: This story, the weakest of the four, takes place just after the events in Reap the Whirlwind. It’s supposed to set up Tim Pennington’s motivations for helping T’Prynn rid herself of Sten’s katra. Pennington is a reporter for the Federation’s equivalent of the AP. The problem – for me – is that those motivations as set up in previous novels were sufficient. I didn’t need to be convinced,
That, and the fact that I’m not particularly interested in the Pennington story arc, makes this entry rate only 2.0 stars.
“The Ruins of Noble Men,” Marco Palmieri: This is a reasonably well told whodunit that takes place after the events of the last novel before this one, and brings together Rana Desai and Reyes’ closest friend and Vanguard’s CMO, Ezekiel Fisher, as they investigate the mysterious death of a Starfleet officer who was trying to convince some colonists to relocate to a more easily defensible planet. Of chief interest in this story is the anti-Starfleet/Federation attitude that’s first encountered in “The Wrath of Khan,” where the Genesis Project scientists were almost paranoid in their fear of what Starfleet would do with their research.
“The Stars Look Down,” David Mack: As usual, Mack’s contribution to the Vanguard series is the best of the collection. Well written and fast paced, “The Stars Look Down” follows the mission of Starfleet Intelligence agents Bridy Mac and Cervantes Quinn as they try to recover vital information before the Klingons can get their claws on it.
“Declassified” is a collection of four novellas that form part of the Star Trek: Vanguard series. As with most stories set in this series the novellas are based around the crew of the Vanguard Starbase which is located in the Taurus Reach, a highly contested region of space.
The first story in the collection is “Almost Tomorrow” by Dayton Ward which takes place prior to the events witnessed in the prequel novella, “Harbinger”. The main aim of this novella appears to be in providing the reader with some backstory regarding the relationship between Vanguard’s Commander, Deigo Reyes and it’s JAG Officer, Rana Desai, and the one between T’Prynn, the station’s Vulcan security chief, and Anna Sandesjo, a Klingon agent and member of the ambassadorial delegation.
Personally, this was probably my least favourite story in the collection as it was all rather slow paced, and to be honest it was lacking in any real excitement. I also have to say that I have never really felt any desire to learn more about the two relationships it focused on. Yes, the way in which Sten’s influence on T’Prynn affected the level of relationship she entered into was interesting to see but outside of that, I don’t really think that anything here was actually necessary.
Next up in the collection is “Hard News” by Kevin Dilmore which takes place just after the events in “Reap the Whirlwind” and details the motivations as to why Tim Pennington decides to join T'Prynn on her journey to Vulcan. I was quite appreciative of this story as whilst it doesn’t really advance the overall Vanguard plot, it does provide the reader with some much needed detail as to why Pennington travels to Vulcan.
The third novella is "The Ruins of Noble Men" by Marco Palmieri and it is my favourite story in the collection. It takes place after the events of the previous novel, “Precipice” and follows two plotlines. The first of these is in regards to exploring how Reyes first met the Klingon, Gorkon when he was Captain of the USS Dauntless several years past. It explores how Reyes came to learn more about the Klingon mind-set and motivations and provides some backstory to explain why Gorkon decides to use Reyes for his own purposes in the future. I enjoyed that we also get to learn a bit more about the bonds between Reyes, Fisher and Gannon, the captain of the USS Bombay who dies in the prequel novella, “Harbinger”.
The 2nd element of this novella follows Desai and the Chief Medical Officer Ezekiel Fisher as they investigate the mysterious death of a Starfleet Officer who was trying to persuade some colonists to relocate. This sub-plot intrigued me on two levels, first up; I loved seeing Fisher and Desai actually out and about in the world as normally these two tend to be stuck on the Starbase. Further to this, it was also nice to see an author further explore some of the paranoia that people do have to Starfleet and what they may use research and scientific progress to do.
The final novella in the collection is David Mack's "The Stars Look Down" in which we follow Quinn and Bridy Mac on a mission to explore the re-emergence of the Jinoteur wave pattern. This is probably the story with the fastest pacing and it is full on fun and adventure but it suffers from some of the same issues I had with the previous novel, “Precipice”. Namely, we get to see lots more of the Super-heroic Quinn with his improbable skillset that just seems far too fanciful to be believed. I have to admit, that the irritation and incredulity of the plotline meant that the ending didn’t have as powerful an effect on me as it probably should have. On the positive front, the story does advance the overall Vanguard plot and I was still left looking forward to see what is going to happen in the next full length novel.
Overall, I do continue to enjoy the Vanguard Series although this collection was a little bit hit and miss for me. Everything was well written but some of the stories either seemed a bit dry and unneeded or required just too much suspension of disbelief to really appreciate. If you are a fan of the series, then you will enjoy “Declassified”, but I think it is probably the weakest book in the Vanguard series to date.
I was initially quite hesitant to pick up STAR TREK: VANGUARD: DECLASSIFIED because it's rare that short stories or novellas ever have anything relevant to contribute to ongoing series. This proved not to be the case with Declassified as some of my all time favorite stories of the setting are included within here. There's also quite a few massive changes to the characters within.
"Almost Tomorrow" by Dayton Ward tells the story about how T'Prinn and Anna began their relationship. It was a bit sudden for me but I really think of them as one of my all-time favorite Star Trek couples. Unfortunately, they never got a chance to stand out in the sun due to the fact it was a couple made to have a tragic ending. A shame.
"Hard News" by Kevin Dilmore is probably my favorite of the stories in this book as it follows my favorite character of Tim Pennington. Pennington has a lot of horrible qualities, being a shameless sex hound and a cheater, but he's a great newsman. Here, he takes on a protege and the story ends in a manner that I did not see coming.
"The Ruins of Noble Men" by Marco Palmieri is probably one of the best Klingon stories ever written (and I'm a huge fan of Klingons). It's about the incompatibility of the Klingon honor code with the Federation but also the fact the latter isn't always all that honorable themselves. The Federation tries to understand both the Klingons and Arkenites (a very Lawful species) but fails on both counts. A really good use of Chancellor Gorkon and, weirdly, I think he was genuinely impressed by what happened.
"The Stars Look Down" by David Mack is something I'm a bit iffier on. While I commented on how T'Prinn and Anna's affair was cut nastily short, I feel like that's something that happens to a lot of female love interests (gay or straight) in fiction. It's often used to send their male colleagues into roaring rampages of revenge or angst. I was actually surprised that a character was involved with another character too since I took it to be genuinely rebuffed in previous volumes. Dramatic but I felt a waste in some ways. Alternatively, it was very affecting and the sheer tragedy of it is making me upset.
Solid piece of Star Trek fiction and one that I felt made the world of Vanguard come alive just a bit more.
This was another fun entry into the Vanguard series. I can not stress enough how much this series has given me an entirely new appreciation for the "Original Series" era of Star Trek. Far removed from the camp of the television show, itself, and the outrageous camp of some of the earlier novels, we have a truly serious story that treats it's subject matter realistically and genuinely.
This book details four "short" stories taking place during the Vanguard series; before and during. We even get some insight into an earlier Diego Reyes and Gorkon. We delve a bit more into Cervantes Quinn, who is a character that I'm still not quite sure if I really like, or really dislike, and Tim Pennington, likewise. And, Captain Desai even gets to go one her own little very "Star Trek" adventure with Doctor Fisher. Captain Desai's story was very reminiscent of an episode where two characters set out on their own, something bad happens, plot, and resolution, in the best of traditions, but is also wrapped up in a deeper story.
If I have a complaint, it is in regards to Tim Pennington's entry. It's not about the story, as the story was fine and the read was rather decent, but it's in...*cringe*...first-person narrative...*shudder*...I'm sure many of you out there are fans of this, for a variety of reasons, which you will no doubt explain to me at length all of the myriad ways in which it is superior, but, as far as I'm concerned, the jury is not already in, but left the building months ago.
Declassified is an anthology of 4 novellas exploring key moments of the Vanguard story.
Dayton Ward's "Almost Tomorrow" is the first of the bunch, taking place before Harbinger. It details the start of Reyes and Desai's relationship, Jetanien's efforts at diplomacy, Sandesjo's being discovered as a spy and her relationship with T'Prynn, and the first troubles with the Klingons due to Sandesjo's leaked information.
This story works well on all levels. I enjoyed this chronologically first glimpse of the Sagittarius-crew ingeniously dealing with the Klingons. In this context it, of course, fits that the crew consists of a geniuses - sometimes I'd wish that there were a few more ordinary people on the ships who perhaps rise to an extraordinary situation because I'm a bit tired of people thinking of solutions out of the sky. Just think of Voyager's constant "but perhaps if we..." (insert technobabble) discussions during red alert, we will die in 5 seconds situations. That just got ridiculous over time. And I feel a bit reminded of that here - on the other hand it works because the crew are meant to be good and out of the box-thinkers.
Of course, I especially enjoyed the relationship aspect of this story. First of all, how Reyes and Desai met which couldn't be more ordinary, I suppose... which again works in this context. They are just two people falling in love, and I like the simplicity of that even though the circumstances couldn't be any less simple. And then there's T'Prynn who gets into a much deeper relationship with Sandesjo due to Sten's influence. Those bits and pieces about the beginnings here are essential to my understanding the impact Sandesjo's loss had on T'Prynn. Jetanien wonders why T'Prynn hasn't told Reyes of Sandesjo's being a spy yet - and actually right now I'm not quite sure whether she ever told him... 8/10
Kevin Dilmore's "Hard News" (taking place between Reaping the Whirlwind and Open Secrets) sheds some much needed light on Pennington's motivation to join T'Prynn on her journey to Vulcan. Fisher's advice at the end can be translated into the old proverb "to save one person is as if you save the whole world" which puts an entirely new spin on Pennington - especially in the light of what led him there... the disappearance (aka murder) of a young colleague on the look-out for another potentially world-changing story.
As I'm not too fond of first person PoV it took me a while to get into this story but it left me very contemplative - and of course, I appreciated how it ties in with events in Open Secrets. 7.5/10
Marco Palmieri's "The Ruins of Noble Men" (set right after the final chapter of Precipice when Reyes was revealed to be on the Orion ship) starts a bit on the wrong foot with me. He specifically states that Reyes and Desai's relationship was terminated when Reyes left the station for Earth - I went back to Open Secrets and the last scene between those two on Vanguard and couldn't find any evidence of that. Moreover, Desai says she'd be there when Reyes got out of prison. Honestly, I guess if the relationship had been terminated Desai's ambivalence about Reyes' survival and his being aboard Ganz's ship would make more sense - so, was this a short-notice change?
Apart from that, this story deals with turning points in Reyes and Desai's careers.
9 years previously, Reyes was captain of the Dauntless in conflict with the Klingons under Gorkon's command who dealt Reyes a devastating blow months before, killing his then first officer. Gorkon then came to the aid of a Federation mining outpost in distress - but offered his help only in exchange for the surrender of the colony, a bargain to which the colonists feel honor-bound to adhere even after Reyes' arrival. Gannon, his first officer, stayed Reyes' hand when he was all for removing the Klingons by force against the colonists' wishes - she introduced him to the Klingon mindset after having been taught by the longterm Federation ambassador to the Klingons. But at the end, Reyes has a better grasp on Klingon honour and motivation and comes to a grudging understanding with Gorkon. Which, of course, ties in with why Gorkon would choose Reyes for his purposes 9 years later...
This part doesn't only shed light on Reyes (oh, I wish we'd see more of his command prior to Vanguard *g*), but it also emphasizes the bonds between him, Fisher, the late Captain Gannon of the Bombay, the first casualty back in Harbinger. And this again ties nicely into the second part of this story which deals with Desai and Fisher investigating the suspicious death of a Vanguard officer on a colony which is scheduled for evacuation because Starfleet can no longer maintain its patrol there - something the colonists refuse and Desai is tasked to again try to persuade them to leave. Amidst all that and Reyes' uncertain future on the Orion ship, Desai faces serious doubts about Starfleet's orders, their future plans, and her role in it all. Right now, I'm still a bit ambiguous about her leaving Vanguard - on the one hand, good for her to leave while she can when her conscience no longer agrees with the decision-making there. On the other hand, it feels a bit like running away - she feels as though she has failed Reyes, and can't continue on this path.
Both parts are two sides of the same medal - at the end of Reyes' story there's hope that perhaps the divide between humans and Klingons can be overcome in the future. Desai still has to find that hope within herself that what separates her from Reyes, not only physically but also her perceived failures, can be bridged.
Frankly, Desai's part doesn't work quite as well as Reyes' because of the underlying situation on the colony. Why won't the colonists leave? Because there are reptiles with similar spawning cycles as salmons here (they live deep in the planet's oceans, only surfacing to wander up the rivers and die when their offspring suck up all their blood and crawl out of the split open bodies of the dead mother-creatures). They are described as near-sapient, and that their blood is kind of a miracle fluid. The colonists want to remain to protect this creature, or rather to prevent others from killing them in order to get the blood. The solution proposed by Desai in the end works because they achieve their goal *and* the patrols don't stop, meaning they are more or less protected on the planet. But what if Desai hadn't thought of that option? Wouldn't the presence of the colonists without Starfleet protection attracted the attention of other species even more than an empty planet would? And who says that other species such as Klingons would have investigated the reptiles... I mean it's not as though the Klingons really give a damn about indigenous creatures after all... That leaves me with a bit of an ambivalent feeling even though the Reyes part of the story is quite strong. 6.5/10
David Mack's "The Stars Look Down" follows Quinn and Bridy Mac on their in the end disastrous mission to explore the reemergence of the Jinoteur-wave pattern and prevent Klingons from getting any information first. I don't really like those mercenary Han Solo with a tragic spin-like types. Having said that, Quinn really has some bad luck and gets crushed every time things are looking up just a little bit. It's unfortunate that Bridy Mac remains bland up until the end - on the other hand, despite these two characters not being my favourites I was moved by the ending... the hell, I got teary-eyed to be quite honest.
And what about the Apostate? Will the Tholians' aversion to him ever be addressed (in contrast to Starfleet's point of view of him being the one "reasonable" Shedai)? What about the weapon - how will its loss influence future events? What about the Tkon? And what will the Klingons' reaction to losing 5 ships be? And how long can Ganz contain himself and his urge to kill off Reyes? 8.5/10
The events in this story are again a game changer. Where will the Vanguard-saga go from here?
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Adventurous, challenging, dark, funny, hopeful, informative, inspiring, mysterious, reflective, sad, and tense.
Plot- or character-driven? Character Strong character development? Yes Loveable characters? Yes Diverse cast of characters? Yes Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes
I did not know that this book was a collection of FOUR short stories. I'm really NOT a fan of short story collections, but when they are done right within a series...they actually do DO an important work within the overall arc. For the most part, this was really good.
The first story was written by Dayton Ward, and it is called Almost Tomorrow. This is a prequel story. Ugh. Another "not my favourite thing", but I do believe that this story had been written earlier in the design phase of this series...for it felt appropriate to the context of everything that actually happens in the story...it is just that we were NOT privy to these facts until now. I actually was not as pleased as I was hoping for this story. I rated it 3.5 Stars.
The second story was written by Kevin Dilmore, and it was called Hard News. I really enjoyed this story...with the protagonist being Tim Pennington. At first, he was a pain in the rear, but the Vanguard series is more relateable BECAUSE of him. This is a present day story...which I liked, and was thankful that the entire short story collection was NOT going to be prequel stories. Phew. I rated it a 4.25 Stars.
The third story was written by Marco Palmieri and it was called The Ruin of Noble Men. This story is present day (2268) and the past (2259). It primarily focuses on Rana Desai and Dr. Fisher. I really shouldn't have enjoyed this story, but for some reason it made me VERY emotional. The end was me wiping tears away...so that I could finish reading the story. Oof. I rated it 4.5 Stars.
The fourth and final story in the collection was written by David Mack (who's becoming one of my favourite Star Trek authors)...and his story was called The Stars Look Down. This one was heart breaking, too. Cervantes Quinn and Bridy Mac really have become the dynamic duo...and that ending. Wow! But...there were parts of this story that just didn't jive with me. Not sure I could put my finger on it, exactly...but it was good, but it could've been the best in the collection and just fell short. I rated it 4 Stars.
Overall, it was good/great, but putting a short story collection into the middle/end of an already set storyline just didn't work for me. I would've liked it...if there had been a way to weave it into one cohesive narrative. Oh well.
16.25 overall, divided by four = 4.0625 Stars (4.1 Stars).
Hoping the next book, #7 What Judgments Come by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dimore.
And now I have two books to go! This has been one hell of a ride.
A step down is Declassified and not, because it's bad, but because two of the stories are inconsequential to the man story of Vanguard.
Almost Tomorrow, by Dayton Ward is the first story in the collection and set before Harbinger the first Vanguard novel. Whilst it's a fine little story, if you skip it you miss nothing. Vanguard readers by now know everything in this story. So I was hoping for a lil twist, anything to make it worthwhile, but alas it wasn't to be.
Hard News, by Kevin Dilmore is also a story of little consequence, but what makes it better or at least more interesting is that its written in the first person from the perspective of Tim Pennington a reporter on Vanguard. It's a nice look inside the man's head, but with it being set shortly after Reap The Whirlwind, you'll know where it leads. However unlike the first story this one tried something different and succeeded.
The Ruins Of Noble Men, by Marco Palmieri, is fantastic and exactly what I wanted in this collection of stories. It progresses the arc of a character or two and manages to pack a lot in, in the 80 odd pages it has. Its set a lil after Precipice so it does move the tale of Vanguard along, but half of it is flashback to 2259. Normally flashbacks annoy me, but both the "present day" and the flashback portions tell great tales. One about a mysterious death and the other is a battle of wits between Reyes and a Klingon whose name I won't spoil!
Lastly we have David Mack's, The Stars Look Down and wow! This ones just as good as Ruins and is also set after Precipice making it a pretty important tale. This one not only progresses a character arc, but also the sweeping story of Vanguard as a whole. The ending is devastating, not just for one of Vanguards best characters, Cervantes Quinn, but also the reader.
There you have it. The second half of the book makes me want to click on the four stars button, but the first two bring it down to three. A good collection with the second half of Declassified being what you'll need to read before going into What Judgements Come.
This Vanguard series got lost from my life after book 5 and it's been 4 years at least since I read one. As such it's a little difficult to really assess this volume as I spent a lot of it trying to reacquaint myself wit the characters and how they'd got to the point that they are. Turns out a short story collection was the idea way to bring myself up to speed as the focus of these tales shifted nicely from one character to another and the chronology from around the time of the first volume to after the fifth.
And this isn't a bad little collection of stories either. I have some gripes with the second story, "Hard News" resolving itself a little too quickly - or not resolving itself at all - but by and large these are well balanced with just enough setup and quick paced plotting to really fill a fun easy-reading hole. As ever with Vanguard, the hard sci-fi/moral conundrum angle of Star Trek tends to get lost a little in the mix as the preference seems to be for movie style TOS engagement with Klingons, so there are edge of your seat space battles galore here, but at times, at least in Dayton Ward's excellent "Almost Tomorrow" it pushes characterisation a lot further than you'd see onscreen (as well, in this case, the awkward Klingon-Vulcan lesbian encounter wouldn't make for cinematic TV viewing).
By the end of this volume I've found myself anxious to push onto a bigger story in this world (undoing the damage that Precipice did to my enthusiasm), although I'm also feeling regretful that there were never more side-tales to tell, since this is a lot of fun in its own right.
ok... with great effort I made it about 80% of the way through this exceptionally misguided volume in the Vanguard series. Whatever were they thinking? Have 5 incredible volumes of action and then when things really get going and the storylines are hitting warp speed, through in a volume of random "historical" background information kind of stories that probably were cut from the original writing because they're simply not all that interesting. I'm pausing to get the bad taste our of my mouth and hoping volume 7 picks up where volume 5 left off.
What a mixed bag of a book. Some uneven anthology stories. But we get Keith R.A. DeCandido writing Vanguard in the best story, where Fisher and Desai team up to uncover a mystery of why a single planet would evade Starfleet protection.
The first story is fun, but doesn’t have much meat in it except “Here’s how character got to where they were in the first book.
The Tim Pennington story was adequate.
And the Quinn/McClellan storyline was nothing original in the slightest (and I hate the nickname Bridy Mac for no reason except it makes me cringe)
This book is four short stories from different times within the Vanguard series. All help to flesh our the characters and the story line. This would would not make much sense without reading the first five books in the series. Star Trek: Always fun!
4.0 Stars. A very good collection of short stories, David Mack's story was my favorite, which was no surprise. I really love this series, I wish they'd make this into a TV series, it'd be the best thing ST has every put on film.
This book returns for additional backstory to the very beginning of the series. To me, that is disjointed and I wasn't very enamored with jumping backwards. There are 4 vignettes in this book that give background information on characters and events that occur in the first 5 books of the Vanguard series. Although engaging, I would have preferred that these stories been interwoven into the previous books, even if the author would have had to share credit for the book.
A distinctly middling affair, and a dip in the Vanguard series. Admittedly I didn't help matters by reading this in a rather fragmentary fashion over the Christmas holidays, but "Declassified" felt like far more of a slog than it should have been.
Almost Tomorrow (Dayton Ward) is backstory central, heading back to the construction of Vanguard station where all the main players are still being moved into position. Unfortunately, this vignette is rather staid and incidental. The Sagittarius' encounter with the Klingons in the Traelus system is standard action-fare; back on Vanguard, the plots creep along even more sedately as we're provided (not so necessary) origin stories of the Desai/Reyes and T'Prynn/Anna relationships. Just when I thought I'd got past the overuse of "Submit". Sigh.
Hard News (Kevin Dilmore) is a marked improvement, and actually fills in part of the Vanguard saga that irked me the most: Tim Pennington's inexplicable decision to head off to Vulcan to "stand by" T'Prynn. The tragic character of Amity Price is a nice foil for Tim while Quinn is away, and allows for some nice embellishing of Ganz's crime empire. Pennington's character (aside from a rather hollow scene with Theriault) comes across as well written and true to his former self. There's no real Vanguard-saga plot advancement here, but it's nevertheless a welcome contribution.
The Ruins of Noble Men (Marco Palmieri) stands out as my favourite part of the book. Especially well written, Ruins is dripping with some rather thought-provoking material about trying to understand an alien (Klingon) culture and behaviour through the lens of Federation ethics and morality. Gorkon's path to the idealistic peacekeeper of STVI was plenty convincing, fleshing out his character with more than one new shade of gray. The trio dynamic of Reyes, Gannon and Fisher is so much fun and just *works*, someone needs to go back and write a book set on the Dauntless one day! Despite the cookie-cutter B-plot of Desai and Fisher investigating the colony death, it was nice to see these two get out into the field - they seem to have been confined to their desks in much of the Vanguard saga to date. Sadly, Ruins suffers from the word-limit of the quarter-novel format more than the other three installments, lending to some rather rushed endings. This would have been even better if given a higher share of pages to fill.
The Stars Look Down (David Mack) broke this camel's back with the superheroic action quota. One of my primary observations about the last book was Quinn's over exaggerated transformation into a Legolas/James Bond hybrid. Sadly, the trend continues here. You may pick out one or two of these chapters and find them a hoot to read through the lens of your mind's eye, but when chapter after chapter is laced with improbable leaps into the fanciful, my willing suspension of disbelief takes a beating. While it was clear from the outset that Mack was building to a curtain call for one of the SI duo, I admit to being left *hoping* that one (or both) will kick the bucket to put an end to their seemingly interminable dalliances with death. Nevertheless, the Vanguard plot advances, and we're left poised for all-out-war in the next novel.
The four novelas of this one, were a variety of quality. 'Almost Tomorrow', was great, acting like a prequel to the Vanguard series. 'Hard News' was meh as a follow up to Reap The Whirlwind. 'The Ruins of Nobel Men' & 'The Stars Look Down' were great and average respectively. Essentially, a few good fillers in this one, for the hardcore Vanguard fans.
Just as the stage is set for the final chapters of the vanguard story, they do an anthology to delay the end... Then it turns out the anthology is excellent in its own right!
Almost tomorrow The prequel that the series always needed, we see everyone,eet each other, a Vulcan intelligence operative faling in love and turning a Klingon spy. The lonely commodore meeting his new lovely JAG, and a brand new station still not entirely finished. I found it very nice to finally see how this cast of characters got together in the first place, just an excellent read.
Hard News Tim Pennington has just released the story of his journalistic career, all his past blunders are seemingly forgotten. When what at first seems to be an adoring fan comes knocking at his door with a new story, he is reluctant at first to challenge the crime Lord Gantz, who may seem like a quark like character but is far darker still. Tim learns that while fame has its privileges it also comes with dangers.
The Ruins of Nobel Men. Reyes is back, but while he seems close he might as well be light years from his friends Desai and Fisher. Both are seriously contemplating a drastic career change when they’re send on a diplomatic mission to a colony which cut its ties with the federation. A story of mystery and danger enfolds brining desai and fisher closer together before they separate permanently.
The Stars Look Down The only story that moves the larger vanguard plot forward in this anthology, as Bridy and Quin go on what they promised each other would be their final mission, never a good sign. While the mission reveals much that our hero’s need to know, it nearly destroys Quin bringing him to a place he might never recover from.
Excellent collection, looking forward to the final chapters of vanguard!
This is the sixth installment in the outstanding Vanguard series. If you haven't read the first five books in this series, stop reading this review now and read them. This book contains four short stories, two of which are set after Precipice.
Almost Tomorrow by Dayton Ward shows us the beginning of several key relationships on Vanguard (and answered one of my questions about the T'Prynn-Sandesjo relationship). Hard News by Kevin Dilmore is a funny first-person account of Tim Pennington's days after his stories led to Reyes' arrest. The Ruins of Noble Men by Marco Palmieri puts Desai and Fisher in a trouble spot, with flashbacks to Reyes' days as a captain. Finally, The Stars Look Down by David Mack gives us another adventure with Quinn and Bridy Mac. There are some significant developments in these last two stories.
All of the stories in this book are engaging. The only down side is that three out of the four stories ended on a depressing note. Even so, I am eager to start the next book in the series (What Judgments Come).
I was expecting this to be more of a "prequel" book, and while it has some stuff that takes place before Starbase 47, Vanguard became operational, it mostly advanced several personal story arcs. Fact is, this collection of novellas (four of them) kept the tradition of the Vanguard series, complete with surprises and characters who are just as "real" as Kirk and Spock and Scotty. And the usual grittiness of modern Trek novels is there, too, bringing a level of depth, realism, and visceralness to the Original Series era in a much better and more palatable way than the reboot of the original crew released in 2009...
David Mack, Dayton Ward, and Kevin Dilmore, the triumvirate overlords of the Vanguard series, continue to impress me with storytelling that is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining. Incidentally, their Next Generation era books are just as well-written, despite Mr. Mack's penchant for scenes of mass destruction (at least he pulls them off, unlike Michael Bay...).
Looking forward to the next Vanguard novel, What Judgments Come, by Ward and Dilmore in late September...
(Yeah, I'll give 'em free advertising... The books are that good...
This is a collection of four novellas, rather than a single story as the previous entries in the series have been. The first is a prequel to the series, set prior to "Harbinger", and is a very good introduction to some of the character interaction we see in the early stories, notably showing the first meetings of T'Prynn and Sandesjo, and Reyes and Desai. The second story shows how Tim Pennington found himself involved in the recovery of T'Prynn, which had seemed somewhat implausible without this explanation. The third story has a "current" part and a "flashback" part, but follows Reyes in each, and the last follows Cervantes Quinn and Bridy Mac. All the stories are well-written, although the thrid was the weakest of a good lot. But the second and fourth stories were depressing beyond words, particularly the fourth, and the third wasn't much better. If you enjoy emotional roller-coasters that do not necessarily end at an even keel, you should enjoy these stories. I prefer a little less gloom, despair, and agony with my entertainment; I read Star Trek for the uplifting SUCCESSFUL heroic space opera. An occasional tragedy to keep the reader honest is one thing; this was too much for my taste.
Wow. Just...wow. The Vanguard series has done more to satisfy more craving for more Trek than CBS/Paramount has done in years. This was such a solid read. Declassified has four short stories in one book. But don't go passing this up. Each story significantly add to the story arc of Vanguard. Especially the last one. I had to put the book down in stunned silence after that one. The death of one the characters I loved and was rooting for (no spoilers) left me crushed. But that's when you know you have something special here. I think what makes it all the more remarkable is that takes place during the Original Series era. I love the show, but the sixties was a decades of camp. That doesn't exist here. If I had to compare it to something, ST: Vanguard is like the Battlestar Galactica for Star Trek. And I swear, if this doesn't get picked up as a TV or more series...hell...even a web series...that would make it the mother of missed opportunities. If you have to pick up and read just one Star Trek novel series, make it this one. Already purchased the next book!
This was a collection of hit or miss short stories. The first one didn't land for me and I think that set a tone for the book. the other three are pretty good, especially the first-person perspective Tim Pennington piece. If you care about the Vanguard storyline at all, this one's worth a read as the last story features some fairly important plot developments. On the whole this was OK, but the Vanguard series has seemed pretty sweeping and broad which is a little harder to convey in four short stories. If they'd tried to capture that feel by just adding a few more stories, it might've weakened the whole thing, though. Now I'm rambling. My point is I think the elements in these stories would've worked better as part of one long novel than as four smaller units.
I miss the days when Star Trek books (as edited by Marco Palmieri) had a little ambition, and tried out new things, and expanded on my favorite elements of all things Star Trek. The Vanguard series is getting closer to its end with this book (only 2 left after this) and that means I'm almost out of good Star Trek books. The four stories here visit some of the supporting characters at different points in the Vanguard timeline - my favorite was the one focusing on Rana Desai, which felt the most Trek-like of them all. But they were all enjoyable, and built my anticipation for the concluding volumes.
David Mack as always, no one leaves the party unharmed. Kevin Dilmore, showing us the inside of reporting in the Trek Universe. Dayton Ward, gives us a side of the story that brings clarity. And Marco. [Wow] Marco Palmieri, I knew there was a story in there.. Thank you Marco for writing this one. [rich in background and fun]
Been a while since I read a Vanguard book - and it was good that the 4 stories in this work as a good reminder to what has gone before, at the same time help in setting up the Finale (the next 2 books).
Not sure I approve of the killing (or at least apparent killing) of a major character - whom I liked - but Vanguard hasn't really pulled any punches when it comes to the dangers of Space Exploration.
The entire Vanguard series has been epic so far. It rivals any epic I have read for depth and breadth of story and character. In between the main novels are these Novellas. I read them intermittently, where and when they fell in story chronology. They are every bit as good as the main episodes and are required reading as the main volumes do make reference to events within them. Highly recommended.
Four really bland, largely unnecessary stories. The only one that seemed like it pushed the plot anywhere was the last one and it had a really bad conclusion. Favorite story was the second, the one about Tim Pennington. I wish I had more to say about this book, but there's not a whole lot to talk about. It was mostly boring prequel style stuff. The stakes were low so it was hard to care about what happened. I barely even remember the plot of the first and third stories.