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Pawns and Symbols (Star Trek: The Original Series #26)

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  581 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Pawns And Symbols Threatened by a deadly famine, the Klingon Empire is on the verge of igniting a mad interplanetary war of conquest. When an earthquake destroys a remote Federation research station, Jean Czerny, agricultural scientist, succumbs to amnesia. Stranded on enemy borders, she is imprisoned by Kang, the evil commander of a Klingon battleship. Now Kirk must play ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 277 pages
Published November 1st 1988 by Pocket Books (first published August 16th 1985)
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Rating details
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Dec 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review needs a title! Two choices: A guilty pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless. Or: Yes, Jean Czerny is a Mary Sue. Yes, this is fanfic. It's a good story, anyway!

In brief, I'd like to point you to Matthew Schiariti's review on amazon. He does a good job pointing out the book's strengths and weaknesses, and I agree with him. In particular, I, too, loved the exploration of "classic", pre-ridge Klingon society, and loved that almost no one in the book was exactly what they seemed to be. Lar
Mike Crate
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, star-trek
Sherman's planet is once again the center of galactic attention after a natural disaster destroys the Federation outpost on the planet. The Klingon commander Kang rescues Jean Czerny the sole survivor of the outpost and takes her aboard his starship. She is treated for her injuries and general poor condition and he then invokes a Klingon tradition that by saving her life she is bonded to him. The Empire is still desperate to gain access to the hybrid quadrotriticale and even when torture and and ...more
Jan 07, 2017 rated it liked it
A rough start, but got better as it went on.
Daniel Kukwa
Apr 09, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: star-trek
This could well be the dullest, least enjoyable Star Trek novel ever written. Did anything worthy of note actually OCCUR in this novel? I certainly can't recall...and I have no desire to go back and try again. Perhaps one day, when my courage is up to it.

Aug 04, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One of the weaker Star Trek novels. The Klingons are too nice!
May 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Less time is spent with the original characters than with the exploration of various cultures of the Klingon worlds, through the eyes of a Federations scientist who has been taken prisoner.
Killarney Traynor
Sep 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
'Pawns and Symbols' is an icky entry Synopsis: The Enterprise is called to Sherman's Planet, where agricultural scientist Jean Czerny is adapting a new quadrotriticale seed (The Trouble with Tribbles, anyone?). However, by the time they arrive, Jean has been taken captive by Commander Kang, a ruthless Klingon who will do anything to get the new seed to his starving worlds, including using force on the scientist. But Jean is not all that she seems and the situation is not a simple case of kidnapp ...more
Tommy Verhaegen
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, paper_en
An illustration of the Stockholm syndrome packaged in a poltical intrige against the background of intergalactic famine. While it is easy to understand that having sex is a small price to pay for survival and a chance on freedom later, the author brings this in a way that makes it difficulet to digest as a reader. The psychological fights and several planes take a large part of this book, even when there is continuously violent action. A complex plot where the last secrets are only revealed at t ...more
Kati Steinke
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Darran Summerfield
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great sci-fi read
Wetdryvac Wetdryvac
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reads as cold war era peace propaganda. This isn't a bad thing.
Oleta Blaylock
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this story but the more I ran the more it drew me in. Many of the stories that I have read involving Kang have shown that he is always concerned for his crew and for Klingon's in general than most of the Klingons that the Enterprise crew run into. I have come to like Kang. This story also doesn't focus as much on the Enterprise crew as it does with one Federation citizen Jean Czerny, an agricultural scientist, who is captured after an earthquake destroys the Fe ...more
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I read a lot of Star Trek tie-in novels in my teens, and "Pawns and Symbols" was one of the few that made a lingering impression to an extend that I picked it up years later as an adult. It's set in TOS canon, but only marginally relates to Kirk & co (there's a sub-plot with a Romulan woman on board of the Enterprise that seems largely filler material) while the main plot is based on an original character who gets stranded in the Klingon Empire.

Larson's protagonist Jean Czerny may or may no
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: star-trek, tos, e-books
A fairly middle-of-the-road Star Trek novel. The Klingons as presented are uneven and not really keeping with any of the other portrayals of the regular antagonists we've seen over the years. The character of Jean Czerny is interesting, but I feel that the novel focuses on her confusion and "fish-out-of-water"ness a bit too much. Still, it was an interesting read, and there are certainly fun moments that remain memorable.

Full review:
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: star-trek
I mostly remember it for it's meandering plot, some odd focus on the medical differences between the eyesight of Klingons and Humans, and...something else? There was a plot, I swear. Something to do with the grain we saw on the 'Trouble with Tribbles' episode, and starving people, that we don't see. Really odd, not very good.
Craig Tyler
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
This was an extremely well thought out and complex star trek novel. I thought the use of cyrano jones and the tribbles were not necessary for the story but the author chose to tie back to the series several times successfully and cyrano felt forced. Great main character who was not Kirk, Bones or Spock.
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was written in the time before Gene tightened the reins on what writers in the Trek-verse were and weren't allowed to write. For those of you who cry"Mary Sue!" and "This is really fan fiction!" I point you to "The Killing Time". For those looking for a fun read that just *happens* to be set in the Trek-verse, this isn't halfway bad.
Michael Hanscom
Dec 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Interesting primarily due to its exploration of Klingon society and culture at a time when very little was canon. Of course, nearly everything posited in this book has since been contradicted by later Trek shows, but that's common to many of the Trek novels.
May 09, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: startrek, avoid
I am amazed that people consider this a great book. Actually, I'm amazed it got published as a ST novel -- even with as uneven as the early ones were.
Rebecca Huston
Definitely a Mary-Sue novel, but hey, it's got Klingons! And Kang! So it's a sentimental favourite...
Nov 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: star-trek-tos
Starfleet scientist captured by the Klingons to use as a political pawn. Doesn't quite fit in with Klingon history as established by TNG and DS9, but taken on it's own it is a very nice story.
Dec 29, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
read 11.24.85
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: star-trek
just ok
Mar 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Hey, it's a Star Trek book. Not outstanding by any means, but enjoyable.
rated it liked it
Nov 24, 2012
Nigel Baker
rated it liked it
Oct 27, 2015
Jacquelyne Aubuchon
rated it liked it
Jun 07, 2014
Jennifer Kinnison
rated it liked it
Jun 29, 2013
rated it liked it
Sep 28, 2013
rated it liked it
Nov 17, 2016
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