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Devil's Bargain

(Star Trek: The Original Series)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  286 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise are sent to evacuate the Omega sector frontier colony Vesbius—a pioneer settlement that is on the brink of an extinction-level event threatening not only all of the colonists, but biological products that are vital to Starfleet. However, rescue efforts are being thwarted by the colonists themselves, who refuse to ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 303 pages
Published March 2013 by Pocket Books
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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 ·  286 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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With what seems like hundreds of Star Trek tie-in novels published over the last forty-plus years, I understand that finding new, unexplored areas of the "final frontier" can be a bit difficult. I also understand there are only so many ways you can tie together elements from the original seventy-nine episode run and have it still feel fresh.

Much of Devil's Bargain has the feeling of "been there, done that," to it for the crew of the starship Enterprise. In many ways, it feels like a third-season
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: star-trek
This original series book just didn't grab me at all. A predictable (and rather silly) romance for Kirk, prose that just sits there, wooden characters (including the main characters) and an uninteresting premise.

Cool to see the Horta again, and their story wasn't too bad, but it's the only thing that saves this one.
Mar 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
I'm sorry but I don't understand how this book is getting 4 and 5 star reviews. The writing style is flat, the characters don't *feel* right, the plot is dull and the resolution isn't exciting at all. You aren't made to care about the characters, motivations come from nowhere ("Oh look! This guys suddenly a bad guy! With vague reasons for being bad!") and there's a frankly icky romance for Kirk. Very, very be honest the last 25% of the book was a case of "please let this be over" for m ...more
This is a typical Star Trek book, which is another way of saying "meh." It is pretty easy to see where the story is going, even though the situation itself was creative.

I thought that the "devil's bargain" in the last chapter was contrived. Kirk agrees to do something and feels like this promise has to power to radically change his career path. Really? I'm ok with Kirk being a man of his word, but this seems like a stretch.

Borrowed from my local library.
Daniel Kukwa
Aug 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: star-trek
After the Wagnerian opera of "The Art of the Impossible", this felt like attending a more laid back folk concert. A straightforward, linear story that makes for a pleasant & diverting tale -- "Star Trek" comfort food. That said, there are a few nice touches, particularly Sulu's moment of glory, and the best use of the Horta since Diane Duane's "Spock's World". But note to the publisher: your copy editors need to get their stardates in order...
Jul 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Daniel’s takes The Horta and does something interesting with them.

A great story that fits seamlessly with the televised series.
Tommy Verhaegen
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paper_en, sci-fi, ebook_en
A great novel. Getting to know new species, finding a solution for a catastrophe on a planetary scale, action, humour, tension, romance and lots and lots of space flight. This book has it all. Star Trek at its best.
Brandon Harbeke
Nov 19, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is worth a read if you like Hortas a lot (which I do). Kirk's current love interest is written well, but you can find this sort of thing in other books, too. The xenophobic antagonists were merely okay and not that interesting. ...more
Patrick Hayes
Apr 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: star-trek
An average outing for the crew of the Enterprise during their original five year mission, this one taking place three and half years in. They have to help evacuate a planet that was a former Federation colony since a doomsday meteor is about to strike. The problem is that the people can't leave the planet, for a plot twist. This reason was sensible, and I bought into it.

What I didn't buy into was a terrorist cell that wants to leave the planet. It's solidly established that leaving the planet w
Jun 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Teenage Horta! A massive asteroid! I enjoyed this, it helped me through a particularly nasty urinary infection. Like the tv series my favourites bits were in the less actiony first half, it's awesome and comforting how familiar these characters are, and this was like watching a lost episode of the original series, but i especially liked the unnecessary reminders such as 'Chekov replied in his Russian accent, having trouble, as always, with the v sound.' I was less prepared for Kirk falling off h ...more
Greg Lindsay
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
If you like the Horta you'll like this!
Right from the start this had that classic Star Trek episode feeling. And I could easily see this story as a episode. The overall story is good and doesn't really slow down. A must read for classic Trek fans!
David R.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
"Captain’s log, Stardate 6397.3. We have established orbit around the frontier colony Vesbius, a settlement just outside Federation jurisdiction in the Omega sector. On the planet below is a colony of nearly 20,000 people, including many families. The conjugated orbits of the planet’s moons have unexpectedly perturbed an asteroid and the huge rock is now on a path to strike the planet—and destroy the colony. Although the colony is outside the Federation, the colonists are human and have strong t ...more
Mark Oppenlander
This book reads like a big steaming bowl of Star Trek: TOS comfort food . . .

I sometimes wonder what would have happened to the original Star Trek series if it had been allowed to continue for five or six or seven seasons. When I read a story like Devil's Bargain, I feel as though I get a glimpse of that alternate future.

The Enterprise travels to a remote frontier colony for a rescue mission. Vesbius faces destruction from an onrushing asteroid, but the colonists refuse to leave. Kirk and his c
Gilbert Stack
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
The Enterprise is on a mission of mercy to the Vesbius system which is about to be hit by a killer asteroid, but the people are not worried about the cataclysm about to hit them. They have built underground bunkers which they feel will protect them from the coming disaster even though the Enterprise’s calculations decisively show that the entire planet’s biosphere will collapse after the collision. In addition to their unwillingness to consider evacuation, about a third of the colonists express ...more
Edwin Howard
DEVIL'S BARGAIN, by Tony Daniel, is a tie-in novel involving the Star Trek TOS who are trying to rescue a colony on Vesbius before an asteroid wipes out the entire planet. The colonists strangely don't want to leave, and Captain Kirk and the crew must found out why and then work with the Vesbius colonists to find a solution.
Always fun to read about the adventures of Kirk, Spock, McCoy and rest of the crew. The story is rather simple and the same story could have been told with about 100 pages
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: star-trek
The most interesting thing about this book was the the Enterprise crew doesn't completely succeed in their mission to save a planet from collision with an asteroid. Aside from that it was a bit of a slog. It felt like 200 pages of set up before anything really significant started to happen. Let's meet the people on the colony. Kirk fools around. Let's go off to Janus and find some Horta. Now it's back to the other planet. Sabotage. So much of the book was spent setting the pieces in place for th ...more
An interesting story about a colony world struggling to figure out how to survive an approaching disaster. The science is accessible, the writing is good, and I especially liked how the book brought Scott, Sulu and Chekov to the front, showing how support staff is critical to any mission.

I would have given it five stars but the romantic subplot is silly and the "power-obsessed maniac who nearly wrecks the plan" cliche is getting old. It appears in a lot of Trek novels.

Still, I do recommend this
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: media-tie-in
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

Papa Spock and teenage Horta. I really loved this aspect of the story! The Horta fascinated me in the original series and continued to do so in this book.

This book certainly felt like an episode of the tv series. Kirk had his unnecessary flirting/romance bits and the plot was predictable, but seeing Spock in a father role really delighted me. Also Horta deserve more attention. They are adorable.
David Palazzolo
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn’t like this as much as Savage Trade, but it was a quick read that held my attention all the way through. Tony Daniel captured the spirit of TOS beautifully and I could easily see this as a two part episode in a mythical fourth or fifth season of the show. Also be on the lookout for the Easter eggs of Daniel dropping fragments of Kirk’s “These Are The Voyages...” speech from the opening credits sprinkled all throughout
Aug 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I say the story was bland, but what I found kind of interesting was how the character of Horta was portrayed and used in the story. I say the Hora should have been portrayed differently. Instead of teenagers maybe shape shifters, some kind of unknown new secret quality or gift bestowed upon them that the readers would not expect, an eye-opener.
Mrs L.A. Bailey
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyable

So nice to meet the Horta again. An ecological and genetic based tale, meaning it keeps to the Trek tradition of addressing relevant issued within the Trek universe. And this was done well. A book which made me smile and think. Good portrayal of familiar characters too, especially Spock.
Ed Obarowski
Feb 22, 2021 rated it did not like it
I just can't get past author's bad prose and style of writing. Three pages in and I know I will never be able to suffer through all 303 pages. I've read literally hundreds of Star Trek novels in the past 45+ years, and there was only one other than this that I could not make it far into the book because of the writing style. I am wondering now if it's the same author. ...more
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-trek-tos
Surprisingly astonishing!
I am a big fan of Star Trek, but I had never read a ST book. This went beyond all my expectations. The author was extremely prepared on the subject and revisited a few places and stories from other missions. Simply a must for a Star Trek fan :-)
Judith Paterson
Better than average Star Trek story. Nice to see the Horta making an appearance. And Captain Kirk fallsin love - again!
David Hamilton
Love the Horta. Not so thrilled with Captain Randypants Kirk. He needed a bit more shore leave.
Keith Bell
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tony Daniel wrote a clever novel. Nods to Classic Star Trek culture and stories and even a vague Star Wars reference.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-trek, sf, space-opera
Nice set of ideas and concepts. The characters felt a little "off" of how I picture them from video/film/books, but the story and ideas were fun and an interesting imagining of Horta culture. Perhaps we know how Ensign Naraht came to be! ...more
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've read a lot of Star Trek novels over the years. Some of them are amazing adventures that still manage to break new ground in a setting that has had thousands of stories already written about it. Others are a bit formulaic. This one is extremely formulaic. It breaks no new ground. It isn't even super exciting. It is a basic adventure for the crew of the USS Enterprise. However, it gets the formula of the series so well that it ends up being a delight to read.

This could have been a lost episod
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
The first book in a while I've found easy reading- whether it's because of the style or because it's actually something I like- it was a joy to read.

It flowed nicely, the plot was good and had a particularly nice twist, although those with more know in them may find it predictable. I also found some moments laugh out loud funny, so that's good.

Although at moments the characters were OC, which was frustrating.
(Prepare for my two cents) Especially Kirk- I never like the idea that Kirk is a womani
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Star Trek Reads: Devil's Bargain 5 37 Oct 12, 2017 02:35PM  

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Tony Daniel is an author of science fiction novels, short stories, and radio dramas.

For the comic book author, see Tony S. Daniel.

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