Kevratas ist eine öde, gefrorene Welt jenseits der romulanischen Neutralen Zone. Die Föderation ist für die von einer Seuche heimgesuchten Einheimischen zur letzten echten Hoffnung auf Überleben und Freiheit geworden.
Beverly Crusher, die inzwischen die Enterprise verlassen hat, wird auf einem medizinischen Hilfseinsatz vermisst und für tot gehalten. Die Sternenflotte hat keine andere Wahl, als ein weiteres Team zur Rettung der Kevrata zu entsenden - und Picard ist die logische Wahl.
Entscheidend für den Erfolg der Mission sind zwei Kollegen, die bereits bei seinem Kommando des Raumschiffes Stargazer unter ihm dienten: Pug Joseph und der Doktor Carter Greyhorse. Joseph möchte sich von seiner Vergangenheit reinwaschen. Greyhorse verbüßte eine Haftstrafe für versuchten Mord. Sie sind entschlossen, dort erfolgreich zu sein, wo die Ärztin scheiterte.
Auf der romulanischen Heimatwelt wurde inzwischen das politische Vakuum, das durch den Tod des Praetors Shinzon entstand, von Senatorin Tal'Aura gefüllt. Doch es gibt auch Widersacher, unter ihnen Commander Donatra und die Flotte von Warbirds, die sie befehligt.
So beginnt ein verzweifelter Kampf - nicht nur um die Freiheit der lange unterdrückten Kevrata, sondern auch um die Seele des Romulanischen Imperiums. Es wird bis auf seine uralten Grundfesten erschüttert und Jean-Luc Picards Leben verändert...für immer.
Michael Jan Friedman is an author of more than seventy books of fiction and nonfiction, half of which are in the Star Trek universe. Eleven of his titles have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list. Friedman has also written for network and cable television and radio, and scripted nearly 200 comic books, including his original DC superhero series, the Darkstars.
This is a Star Trek book, and considering I haven't read a new one in years, when I saw the subject matter, I snatched this one up. This book focuses on Picard's efforts to rescue Beverly after she is abducted while on an undercover mission to provide a vaccine to a non-Federation world under Romulan control. (I'm geeking out!)
That is the main plot, but it is the subplot that was of monumental interest to me, and no doubt to the other fans who picked up this book. Because - FINALLY - Trek focuses on the relationship of Picard and Crusher, a relationship that was glossed over for the course of 7 seasons on TV.
Although the book didn't deal with their relationship as much as I would've liked (used to that, though), I did like how Friedman (one of Trek's better authors) gave us meaningful insight into Beverly's past and the history of Picard's and her relationship.
And to be honest, the main plot was pretty interesting.
Sadly, Trek books have never been "canon," so on the off chance that we ever get another TNG movie, I'm sure there will be no mention of this whatsoever and Picard will have another passing love interest that the fans could really care less about. *Ahem*
Subpar and underwhelming, but the same could be said for much of Friedman's work. Far too many unresolved and unnecessary subplots (was there any point at all to the Geordi + Worf storyline?), an abundance of woefully underdeveloped characters, a rushed ending, and little at all to recommend it. On the other hand, Crusher rescues herself! And Picard/Crusher! So, conflict.
So I'm a Star Trek fan. For those who know me you either already know this or would be totally unsurprised to find this out. In point of fact I'm a Star Trek the Next Generation fan - just to be clear. I doubt I've seen more than a dozen original series episodes and while I enjoyed many of the adventures of Capt. Kirk on the big screen my heart has always been securely on the bridge of the Enterprise-D.
That said, I probably hadn't seen an episode of this show in 20 years when, quite by accident, Rachel and I started watching it just about every night in reruns on MeTV here in Chicago. The picture and sound quality were terrible, sometimes little better than a grainy YouTube video for some reason, but they were showing the entire series from beginning to end and we'd wandered in right at the start. So for the next six months to a year we would watch episode after episode of the show, missed a few here and there, but generally finding ourselves completely hooked - in my case all over again. As a 14 year old in 1987 when STNG premiered I was totally blown away. From then on, for the first three seasons anyway, I was there Friday nights at 9pm to watch the show. As the years went on my obsessive viewing waned, more due to growing up and having better things to do on Friday nights than watch TV, but whenever I would run across it in reruns on the weekend I would still get sucked in and avidly watch it. Like many people I was disappointed by the STNG movies, mostly because I thought they got the shaft on story and budget, and when the last one hit theaters in 2002 and I watched it, shrugged, and let STNG drift off into the void.
However, watching the show again made me realize how very, very good it really was. And after the final two-part episode brought the whole thing to an end I felt like I wanted more adventures with these characters and if it had to be through mass-market paperback novels then so be it. With that in mind Rachel was kind enough to purchase this for me for my birthday this year. This particular books starts a series of novels that pick up right after the end of the final STNG movie and the fingerprints of that film are all over this story, for good or bad.
In short what attracted me to this book was the claim that the romantic (?) relationship between Capt. Picard and Dr. Crusher would be explored and explained. Their history would be told and a new evolution of this relationship would take place within the covers of this book. Watching the show again I found myself really enjoying the weird are-they or aren't-they in love dynamic between Capt. Picard and Dr. Crusher. Obviously any work relationship would be complicated, let alone one between a commanding officer and the only person on the ship who can relieve that officer of command, but add in that Capt. Picard gave the order than got Dr. Crushers husband, Jack Crusher, killed and that he was hopelessly in love with her at the time he issued that order and that he was Jack Crusher's best friend and you get some particularly excellent romantic complications.
Unfortunately many of those complications are left off limits in this book. While early on some nice details, like Capt. Picard's awkward toast at Dr. Crusher's wedding to Jack Crusher, gave me what I wanted but too often Friedman rolls out ideas only to let them go unexplored or choked off before they can go anywhere - interesting or otherwise. In general, this book reads like a very middle of the road two-part episode of STNG, which is really disappointing since there should be no budget constraints on a novel. I think the fact that Friedman had written some scripts for the original STNG show really hamstrung him here. You could just see all the ways he could have blown open this story only to leave it confined to a sound stage in his head.
In short, the story follows the improbable idea that Dr. Crusher, once again the head of Starfleet Medical, would, for some very flimsy reasons, personally go undercover into the Romulan Empire to cure a race of creatures who live under the heel of the Romulans from a terrible plague. Of course she is found out an captured and it's up to Capt. Picard to complete her mission, and maybe save her if he has time, only after he finally figures out that she is one of the best things about his life. This is a books full of frustrated characters who are all seem to be doing something other than the thing they really want to be doing. Capt. Picard is completing a mission while he'd rather be saving Dr. Crusher. Dr. Crusher is trying saving herself from the Romulan Empire when she's rather be curing the native population of a deadly plague. Geordi and Worf would like to be helping Capt. Picard find Dr. Crusher only they have to keep fixing the new Enterprise-E the whole book. Hell, even the bad guys would all rather be doing something else which, of course, just keeps reminding the reader that they too could be doing something else. Not exactly the kind of thing that keeps you glued to the page.
Anyway, plots are resolved, needless characters are added to appease different rabid nerd populations within the Trek universe (like a cameo by now Admiral Janeway (that's for you Voyager nerds!) and a referance to a brilliant medical paper by Dr. Bashir (that's for you DS9(nerds!) and even a reference to the episode of STNG that Spock appeared in (and... that's for you Original Trek nerds!). In the end if you were to pair away the subplots that go nowhere and just focus on the main plot this book would be about 200 pages long, in big type, with small pages. Probably a three hour read max. As is, the subplots, particularly the Geordi and Worf one which, no kidding, after about five chapters litterally ends with Adm. Janeway saying "Hey, boys, whatever your up to knock it off." and then they do, do nothing to enhance the story or any character in it. That's some pretty weak writing.
Anyway, I've always thought Romulans were lame bad guys, just pissed off Vulcans basically, and while I like the whole getting the gang of the Stargazer (Capt. Picards previous ship before the Enterprise) back together, especially since one of them is in prison for murder, it never really goes anywhere. Look, long story short, I read the whole thing so it's not terrible. Over all I don't feel like I wasted my time, except for that Geordi and Worf subplot (total garbage), and I will likely read another in the series - mainly because I really miss the show. Would I recommend this to anyone? Not really.
So, until my dream comes trues (i.e. that HBO remakes STNG or at least an Adventures of Jean-Luc Picard young Starfleet Officer) I'll have to get my newly reawakened STNG fix though these books. I'm okay with that. And, frankly, sometimes it nice to give your brain a break from awesome writing by slumming it in the mass-market paperbacks. It only makes me appreciate the good books more.
A mostly interesting start to the TNG post-Nemesis novels. It really does feel like the beginning of a new chapter, both in the lives of the crew and on the interstellar political stage. I found myself fascinated by the Romulan intrigue and in-fighting more than with the romantic plot between Picard and Crusher, but I'm very happy with the direction things are headed in both arenas. A worthy read, but not the best that Trek lit has to offer.
Perfunctory writing at its best/worst (take your pick). A paint by number "Rescue the Fair Maiden" narrative populated by paper thin characters and pointless plot lines (although it seems likely that any author writing for the Star Trek franchise is obligated to meet some sort of fan service quota, even if it contributes virtually nothing whatsoever to story development).
The most startling aspect of 2005's "Death in Winter" is that it is not Michael Jan Friedman's first book; in fact I was flabbergasted to learn that he has authored at least 60 novels dating back to the early 90's (most of them for the Star Trek franchise). And based on the desultory results on display here I can only imagine (because I don't think I will be following his writing further) the dire product he has brought to market prior.
I liked the plot, but this book would've been better if:
1) The sections detailing episodes of TNG weren't so annoyingly detailed. I've seen every single episode of TNG more than once, I know my canon. I didn't need 3 pages reminding me of who Sela was, for example. I can understand wanting to make sure the reader knows some of those details, but are there really people that have never seen Star Trek out there that actively seek out and read Star Trek books? Seriously.
2) The whole Picard and Crusher thing was just poorly done and kind of cheesy, very much UNLIKE their characters. It was like reading someone's boring fanfic. If I wanted to read fanfic, I'd read fanfic. I might go read some fanfic, because I bet the Picard/Crusher thing is better somewhere in fanfic.
Beverly is sent to Kevratas to develop a vaccine. She is captured by Sela. Picard teams up w/ Pug Joseph & Dr. Carter Greyhorse. Greyhorse must make a vaccine before a rescue attempt can be made. I loved this book because it went deeper in Jean Luc's & Beverly's feelings for each other.It also went in some detail about how her husband Jack died. The best part though was when she arrives on the Enterprise as the new chief medical officer. I thought there were some pages in the book that were really unnecessary and did not contribute in any way to the story. But all in all though I enjoyed reading it!!
Finally a book that dealt with Picard's feelings for Crusher. It's not the best written ST:TNG novel I've read, but I'm glad someone decided to delve into this love that Picard had been caring for almost 30 years before this book was written. We've already seen in episodes the length he would go for Beverly (remember he stayed to be tortured by a Cardassian just because he thought the Cardassian was going to torture Beverly), so it was believable that once again he would risk everything for her (which was something avoided in the movies...ugh).
It moves at warp speed, and occasionally it feels like it sacrifices depth for pace...but only occasionally. In fact, I find this to be far deeper and more culturally focused than almost anything else Mr Friedman has written for "Star Trek", although the speed means that focus tends to be mostly Romulan. My favourite moments are the pauses that examine Picard and Crusher, especially the opening scene at the wedding. A passing familiarity with Picard's old Stargazer crew does help with the reading, and I do find the ending a touch abrupt...but in the end, these are minor caveats that don't detract from the overall quality of this novel.
I wanted to love this book so much, but even my inner shipper couldn't get past the fact that this is basically really terrible fanfiction. There's a subplot with Worf and Geordi that goes nowhere, a needless cameo by Admiral Janeway, and a bunch of Romulans running around plotting against each other that added very little to the story. And yet the random Romulans still managed to be more interesting than the main plotlines with Picard and Crusher. I swear I'd rather have read a whole book about Donatra and Breag. At least they had chemistry. Picard and Crusher, despite the author's best efforts, do not. Picard mopes through the novel, irrationally certain that Crusher is alive when Srarfleet thinks she's dead, and more interested in finding her than in completing the official mission of helping to cure a plague. (Which, by the way, he's of use on this mission why?)
I'm sure part of my problem with this book stems from the fact I have seen the basic premise done much better in fanfiction. But that's not all. The Picard I remember from TNG is selfless to a fault - if he has to choose between saving Crusher and saving an entire species, he's going to choose the latter. And suffer in silence about it. Friedman's Picard is a lovesick schoolboy, and all he thinks about is Crusher. All. The. Time.
Crusher does a little better, though seeing her in the role of covert operative after she's just become head of Starfleet Medical again is a bit of a stretch. (As for Starfleet Medical, does no one else want that job?) At least her focus is where it should be- except for totally unnecessary flashbacks to such memorable TNG episodes as the one in which she falls randomly "in love" with a creepy ghost who seemed to be ripped straight from the pages of an Anne Rice novel. But I digress.
Another thing that rubbed me the wrong way was the inclusion of Friedman's Stargazer characters. I vaguelly remember them from a 1990's -era read of his novel Reunion, but anyone unfamiliar with them would be lost, and I'm not sure they add anything to the story.
In short, I'd skip this one. If you plan to read others of the TNG relaunch novels, as I do, I think all you need to know is that Picard and Crusher finally get together. Oh, and of course she goes back to the Enterprise. Because a woman should always change her career plans around for a man. A mature, rational discussion about why Crusher was or wasn't staying at Starfleet Medical would not have gone amiss here. I have a feeling, though, that Friedman may have been looking at it from the angle of her choosing to take the post at Starfleet Medical because she couldn't deal with the angst of her feelings about Picard anymore, and once she sorted that out, she could be where she really wanted to be. Which doesn't work for me.
Good story to help move us beyond the events of Nemesis. Picard's feelings for Beverly are something we've always known were there. Clearly they weren't going to be acted upon onscreen, but that's why it's great that we have the literature to move us beyond the constraints of television storytelling.
To be honest, though, the most interesting aspect of Death In Winter is the political upheaval within the Romulan Empire. I wasn't thrilled to have Sela back, if only because I don't like it when familiar faces like her pop up in stories. The same could be said for Tomalak. However, it did make sense in this story that they would be playing pivotal roles in the affairs of the Empire. And Sela's desire for vengeance against Picard gives an added layer to story. The person who did not need to turn up is Admiral Janeway. Completely pointless cameo, but it fell into another part of the story that really felt like filler—the rescue attempt by Worf and Geordi.
The point at which I feel Friedman stumbled a bit comes near the end where [SPOILER ALERT] Picard reveals his feelings to Beverly. The reaction to this felt inappropriate for the situation. Whilst in a life or death situation, a few words from Picard turn into a high school drama show. I cannot believe Beverly would react that way, nor that Picard would fret the way he does. They have known each other too long, are too old, and have had too many shared experiences for this to be the reaction. The final scene is also painfully obvious before it plays out. All of this isn't terrible, but it could have been handled more deftly and given us a more satisfying resolution to the build-up.
All in all, however, Death In Winter is a good story and certainly propels us forward into the rich post-TV literary world of Star Trek.
I have read countless Star Trek novels in my life, and this one was an impulse pick at the local library. While I have read other books by Friedman and have enjoyed them, this book seemed a little too formulaic. After finishing the book, I had the impression that I got less out of the story than I might have otherwise if I had read Friedman's Stargazer books beforehand. As I haven't read them, I didn't really get any sense of overall motivation for characters like Pug Joseph or Dr. Greyhorse. They seemed like two-dimensional set pieces to me. Also, the plot for me was a little thin and poorly laid out. Dr. Beverly Crusher, chief medical officer of Starfleet is sent by herself on a secret mission to save an ubiquitous alien race from a deadly plague seemingly right after inviting Picard down for dinner. And of course, she promptly runs into trouble with some stock cookie-cutter scheming Romulan characters. Naturally, only Picard can finish her mission and save her, with the help of some officer who was formerly his chief medical officer on his old ship Stargazer. That this story is to give a deeper meaning to the long-standing hidden love that Picard has held for Crusher throughout the entire Next Generation run of shows and books is clear.
It's just all a little too convenient. Picard coming to save Crusher. The Romulan defector happening to be in the right place at the right time to save her. The Romulan side-plot with characters pulled from past shows and books. There really isn't much depth here.
I would not buy this book, although I wouldn't have a problem recommending that you check it out from your local library.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
In the wake of Riker becoming a captain and taking Troi with him to his new command and Dr. Crusher leaving to head up Starfleet Medical, Captain Picard has to break in virtually a whole new crew. But before he can do that, he has to settle the ghosts of his past.
He and Beverly have spent years dancing around one another, and decided to be just friends. With her off the ship, Picard is miserable. Before he can say or do anything about it, he gets word from an admiral that she is missing and presumed dead on a clandestine mission.
She was sent to Kevratas, a Romulan controlled world, to find a cure for a plague ravaging the population. She first encountered this race and this virus as a teenager on Arvada III, and this is her chance to do what she didn't know how to do back then- heal those suffering from it. Unfortunately she was captured by Romulans before she could create the cure.
Picard is tasked with leading a team to finish what she started- former Starfleet Dr. Carter Greyhorse to find the cure, former Starfleet officer Pug Joseph for protection and a Romulan defector named Decalon to help them find their way around.
I enjoyed this look into Picard and Crusher's pre-Enterprise past and finally getting resolution on Picard and Crusher's potential for romance. A wonderful launch into the voyages of the new Enterprise- can't wait to see how that goes.
Okay I'd be ashamed of reading this book...but I just won't.
I mean look at that cover! At first glance you assume it's a book in which Patrick Stewart tells tales regarding his adventures as an actor. Maybe just his Shakespeare work. You see it and you think "man I like Patrick Stewart. He's smart and cool and I bet this would be a good read."
Then you realize it is in the Sci Fi section, and that the shadow isn't Stewart in a wig but an ex-Muppeteer (no really she is), and that it says STAR TREK on the cover.
But you know what? You liked the old show. You liked those characters. That one episode where they could read each other's thoughts was neat. How bad can it be?
Then you realize the first scene is a young Picard mooning over Crusher at her wedding and that you are just reading fan fic written by a guy with a bitchin' literary agent.
Then you cry.
But I still refuse to be ashamed because they talk about their feelings.
I back tracked and picked up this book, hoping it would fill in some events that led up to the events in Destiny. I admit, I'm a bit disappointed. It filled in a little of the backstory but it had little to do with their relationship and ended up delving into Romulan politics and some of Picard's old crewmates from the Stargazer. It almost seems as if there was a previous book that needed to be read that filled in some information. The characters were very one dimensional and the plot was rather flat.
I was waiting very long to read a book about Picard and Crusher, but actually I was expecting something completely different. I did expect a fast running story ... and at last the long waiting lovestory between Jean-Luc and Beverly. but to get that, one had to wait until the last word. It is quite disappointing, also if there is a happy-end in that story.
I thought it would be something like "Imzadi". That was really good and it doesn't messed up the Star Trek Canon. So why Friedman doesn't write just a nice little P/C-Story ... finally.
The Picard/Crusher ship is basically the only reason I tolerate Next Gen, so when I saw that this book focused on that, I was totally on board. Unfortunately, it doesn't focus too much on them, but it's nice to see how Picard really feels about Beverly. There was also Geordie and Worf trying to come help, but another character from ST:V comes to stop them. Most importantly, everyone was in character and the plot wasn't ever slow.
I miss Data. *sniff*
Recommended 11+ for Star Trek violence, kidnapping, and a little language
Totally figured I'd love it. And I did. Just like the show, any Picard-centered episode is definitely one of the best, but this book brought in all the other juicy bits of a story that you wanted from a televised episode but never got to see because of time restraints. Romulan intrigue, alien conflict, medical mystery/disaster. I had completely forgotten some of the canon regarding particular characters (Data being #1) so that bit came as quite a depressing shock. Otherwise, an overall enjoyable read for this TNG nerd.
After a deadly outbreak ravages the people of a distant world, the Federation brass decide to send one of its most esteemed doctors into enemy territory in an attempt to end the suffering. But after that doctor is captured, and assumed dead, a second command sends its most regarded Captain in to finish the job of finding a cure and a determining the fate of the lost doctor.
It's a risky endeavor, one that will call on old friends to find success. A former crew mate, a man serving time in prison for attempted murder, and a once Romulan defector intent on paying an old debt join forces. But this will be no easy task as old enemies rear their ugly heads in an attempt to stop them. In battling harsh environments, new and old enemies, and political turmoil that could pin an entire quadrant against itself, time will only tell if a small band of Federation do-gooders can save the day and cure the ill.
The book starts out pretty good. New stories are given to old characters in what promises to be a deep plot full of character building and new adventures built on tales of old triumph and failure. Old characters that once graced the small screen are brought back to give the reader a tie to bind the book to the TV series. New environments and species are developed to help expand the Trek universe.
What was promised in the beginning of the book, depth of characters, new and exciting adventures, and a battle of wills built on tales of previous lives, are cut off at the knee to give way to a watered down series of 'remember these characters you once saw on TV or read in other books?' storytelling. Doctor Crusher's tale of growing up does little to help her in her battle against the Romulans. Her quest to fight a disease as a young girl does nothing to help cure the disease the threatens two species. Picard's battle against the Romulans featured in Nemesis and retold in the opening chapters of the book does nothing as the pages turn. The Romulan's political wrangling and history of subterfuge is watered down to a point of irrelevancy. And worst yet, is all the characters brought into the tale to provide a foundation for all you would expect from characters and species in the Trek franchise are so grossly thin that the book offers nearly nothing for the reader to get excited about.
The book unfortunately gives the reader nothing that it promised in the opening chapters. Doctor Crusher does not cure the disease. Picard does not save Crusher. Sela does not complete her mission. The Romulan rebels do not overthrow the government. The other doctor does not find new found salvation in finding a hard fought cure. An old crew mate is just kinda there. And the author seems more interested on surprising the reader with new character introductions than surprising them with intriguing character depth or storylines.
How it could have been better:
In my opinion the entire Worf and Geordi arc could have been scrapped given it didn't go anywhere or teach the reader anything. Crusher's past story arc about curing a disease could have been how the new disease was cured, either through her or a shared remembrance with the new Doc. More attention to the rebellion and less attention to minor characters. And a much larger focus on the bond between Crusher and Picard that would propel the two characters along and make them fight death to come to the conclusion that they love each other. And finally after each character reaches their breaking point, they find a cure, they find love, and they find a better future. All three of which are just kinda thrown into the book to get them done and over with.
Summary: Beverly Crusher, once again off the Enterprise and in charge of Starfleet Medical, is sent on a top secret mission to the Romulan satellite planet Kevratas. The Kevratans are being ravaged by a plague called Bloodfire, but the Romulans won't aid them; fortunately, Beverly already devised a cure years ago (a ship of the infected crash-landed on her home planet of Arvada III when she was but a teen, and this convinced her to become a doctor). However, she's not on the planet long before Commander Sela abducts and imprisons her (in a bar shoot-out).
Starfleet sends Picard as a backup to go help the Kevratans; and while he's there, if he happens to find Beverly, well he can rescue her too--but the mission comes first! Jean Luc puts together a team consisting of his former Stargazer buddies, and, most importantly, Carter Greyhorse: the Stargazer chief medical officer who helped Beverly devise the cure years ago--oh, and who also has been in an asylum in New Zealand because he went crazy and tried to kill Picard and some other senior officers on the Stargazer (he blamed them for the death of his Klingon wife). He's apparently rehabilitated now--but he still seems a little "off".
The new team infiltrates Kevratas with the help of a Romulan defector, Decalon. He takes them to his buddy Phajan's house, who helped him escape Romulus back in the day and who still has a servant that works in the underground railroad--he'll be right back after he goes and finds her. Picard notices how dusty the place is and realizes this guy either has a terrible maid or is full of shit--so they hoof it the fuck out of there... Moments later a squad of Romulan centurions shows up, lead by Sela, who is none too pleased that Picard escaped.
The Stargazers flee to some caves where they serendipitously run into the rebels in the underground railroad. They get Greyhorse all set up, and he's off to finding a cure. Picard spends most of his time moping around, wistfully thinking of all the good breakfasts he and Crusher have shared together.
Meanwhile, Beverly escapes imprisonment with the help of Manathas, who is basically the Romulan James Bond (he also happens to have been at Beverly's wedding to Jack Crusher years ago, under cover as a servant; he was there to collect a tissue sample from Picard, which the Romulans would later use to create his clone, Shinzon). Unfortunately, he works for praetor Tal'Aura and really, he just wanted to make sure Sela would get in deep shit for losing her prisoner--so sorry, but he's going to have to kill Beverly now. But uh-oh, turns out the Bloodfire plague has mutated and now he has it too, so he'll have to keep Beverly around to devise a cure for the Romulan strain.
Manathas leads Beverly out into a shitty blizzard, en route to their transport site (the mountains have some kind of ore that scatters transporter beams). She serendipitously happens to see the Kevratan who was supposed to take her to the underground railroad--so she kicks Manathas in the shin--really hard--and gets away. The Kevratan dude squirrels her away in a little hidey hole like she's fucking Saddam Hussein, where she's safe for the time being.
With the vaccine in tow, Picard and the Stargazers head out of the caves to distribute the medicine--and to meet up with Beverly. Of course they're intercepted by Sela, who had a spy in the underground. Sela gets Picard in a ground-and-pound and is about to beat him to death when SPEAR OUT OF NOWHERE by Dr. Beverly! Crusher puts up a good fight, but Sela gets the upper hand--until Manathas shows up and saves Beverly again, with the intent of re-abducting her. Decalon tries to save her, but gets murdered for his trouble. This time it's Picard out of nowhere with some well-aimed phaser blasts.
Jean Luc takes Beverly in his arms and breathily whispers in her ear that he loves her, he's always loved her--and she gives him a "what the fuck" stare and glares him straight back into the friend zone.
Picard, back on the Enterprise, is crestfallen that he's ruined his relationship with Beverly. But wait, the ship's new chief medical officer has arrived and it's......Beverly! She quit Starfleet Medical (again), and is here to stay. She promptly shoves her tongue down the captain's throat and they live happily ever after.
Review: 2.5 stars. This book is OK, but definitely not "good". There are a lot of extraneous subplots that never really go anywhere, and ultimately just detract from the main story of Picard/Beverly--which is also kind of a let down.
The sole point of this novel was to hook up Picard and Beverly, once and for all--but they're not even in the vicinity of one another until the last 20 pages of the book or so. I thought maybe they'd both be captured and with no hope of escape they'd finally pledge their love for each other, or something equally dramatic--but nope, they both just realize they really miss each other when they don't have breakfast together. It was fairly anticlimactic, and I didn't think there was much heart to it--not to mention how absurd Beverly's reaction was when Jean Luc saves her life and confesses his love. She's spent her entire imprisonment thinking about how she feels the same, but when he reciprocates, she just totally shuts down? I didn't get it at all--and apparently she didn't either, because a few pages later she quits her job and starts making out with him.
And let's not forget Beverly's daring escape; she gets away from Manathas--a total bad-ass-ninja-spy-killing machine--by kicking him in the shin and running away. While he has a disruptor pressed right up against her spine. Terrible, lazy writing.
The Worf and Geordi sections could be completely excised. Basically they spend the whole book trying to figure out where Picard and Crusher went and how they can help. Just as they're piecing it together and start hatching a plan, Admiral Janeway shows up and tells them to drop it--so they do. Utterly pointless. (It was pretty neat to see Janeway again though.)
I think the story probably would've been better if Worf or Geordi was on Picard's away team instead of the Stargazer people; it really just felt like the author trying to shoehorn his own characters into the story. Maybe if I'd read the Stargazer novels I'd be more invested, but they were such 2-dimensional characters in this book that I really doubt it. I didn't understand why Greyhorse was repeatedly shown to be totally crazy pants, only for it to have absolutely no effect on the outcome whatsoever; he makes the vaccine, complains that it gave him a headache, and that's the last we ever really hear from him. All that build-up wasted. He should've at least gone crazy and killed a bunch of Romulans when they were ambushed at the end, then turned his phaser on Picard... But no, he just can't do it--he forgives him! Or ANYTHING else, really!
The whole Romulan political sublot also felt like nothing more than filler. Tal'Aura is the new praetor, but Braeg, an admiral, says she sucks at her job and he wants it. Donatra loves Braeg so she takes a fleet of warbirds and attacks the praetor's fleet, lead by Tomalak--which basically ends up being a stalemate. Braeg's revolution is quickly cut down when he fails to anticipate that maybe Tal'Aura might use weapons other than just foot soldiers (hovercraft are illegal in the state capitol--but she sends some in anyway! What a twist!). So what was the point of it all? It seems like pretty much every Romulan double-crosses every other Romulan in the story, so why would any of them ever trust anyone else? I guess it established that Tal'Aura sucks at her job, but she's cunning enough that she'll probably keep it for a while anyway? But it wasn't interesting enough for me to care.
So, outside the last few pages where Picard and Crusher hook up, and some slightly interesting continuity porn/backstory, there's not much here. Definitely won't be re-reading this one again.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
The recent premiere of Star Trek: Picard reignited my interest in Star Trek, mostly dormant for 20 years or so. I finally watched Nemesis, the only Trek film I hadn't seen (and, aside from Beyond, the only one I hadn't seen multiple times). And then I was finally ready, only 15 years late, to start exploring post-Nemesis fiction. And this is the book that started it all. And it's the worst Star Trek fiction I've ever completed.
Its major problem is that it's boring. Friedman never uses one word when he can use a hundred. This book is endlessly talky, full of dull infodumps, character exposition often in the form of dull re-hashes of TNG episodes, and a whole lot of padded-out nothing. At one point about halfway through he spends seven pages on a passage that could have read "They got through the security checkpoint without incident." Further, all that verbiage is monotonous. Characters don't have distinctive voices or styles. Whether it's Picard pining for Crusher, or Romulan intrigue, or a doctor trying to create a vaccine -- it all reads the same.
The other big problem is that this book is pointless. It exists for one reason: to get Dr. Crusher back on the Enterprise and into a relationship with Picard after it was established in Nemesis that she was leaving for Starfleet Medical. That's something that could have been covered in a prologue of another book and spared us this pablum featuring Picard moping like a lovesick teenager.
Further, it's bizarre to me that this, not just the first post-Nemesis TNG novel but essentially the kick-off of the whole united Star Trek publishing line, is so backward-looking. Instead of blazing forward into an open universe, this story leaves what's left of the Enterprise crew hanging in favor of bringing back some of the Stargazer crew yet again, and most of the character relationships are firmly mired in in past events instead of building toward anything much.
On a more positive note, I guess these stories have nowhere to go from here but up.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I was skeptical about this book going in, mostly from my misgivings with the cover. And I know, don’t judge the book by its cover. Except we do it all the time and we absolutely should judge a book based on the cover. It’s the first thing people see after all and I would think making that first impression would be something important to consider. This looks like a poorly photoshopped movie poster so my expectations were fairly low.
I should consider though that this was published at a time when Star Trek was pretty much done as a franchise. The first JJ film hadn’t even aired yet so I suppose it’s no surprise that the publisher wasn’t exactly throwing money at this. I made the decision to give the post-Nemesis novels a try and this is the start of that journey.
First off, there are a ton of great callbacks to the Berman era of Trek and there are some great appearances from some of your favorite characters. There’s also quite a bit of connections made to other Trek novels - an area that I did feel less informed on as I haven’t read many TNG books. Despite this disadvantage, I still felt like I could connect with the plot fairly well.
Ages ago, before TMP was made there was talk of a new series with the original cast - Star Trek Phase Two. It never happened obviously but what I like about this book was that it felt like it could have been the start of a phase two style show for TNG. So as the first book of this ongoing series it does a good job establishing this universe.
There’s also some good material between Picard and Crusher, a relationship that often was complicated on the show and this book plays on that relationship quite well.
I’m always a bit hot and cold with Romulan storylines. I tend to gloss over some parts and my brain goes a bit fuzzy keeping characters straight as it always just seems to come down to everyone scheming against everyone else. Still, the establishment of the power struggle post-Shinzon was nicely done.
I’m definitely excited to read more into this storyline. On to book one of Titan.
I read this because of the promised Beverly/Picard storyline, which was sweet, but rushed and weird. I would have enjoyed this a whole lot more without the focus on the Romulan political story that I really didn't care about. I couldn't keep track of all of the new Romulan characters, though I guess some of them already existed - I don't remember Star Trek: Nemesis that well, haha. Geordi and Worf's sub-plot seemed to be an excuse to put more TNG characters in there, which is fine I guess. Star Trek TNG novels are always fun because it's my favorite TV show, but this one was a little too unfocused. I guess fans of this author's previous novels would be happy since he inserts so many of his original Stargazer crew members into this, but I just can't do the weird mix of canon and non-canon characters. A couple is fine, but the entire separate plots about them and having more original characters than series characters in the action is draining.
3/10 is usually the highest I'd rate a novel that reads like an episode of TV. It was good. If this was a star trek episode I don't think it would have made my highlights reel, but it would be on par with other picard/crusher episodes, which this story even references.
One thing I like about a novel like this a lot, is that at 200 pages, I can burn through it in an afternoon and it only takes me a bit more time than watching an episode or two, which provides the same level of escapism that an afternoon of trek provides. I've read trek novels that I didn't get through before closing book due to boredom but this one isn't that.
If you wanna escape into a bit of harmless trek for a few hours this is a good one to go with. I've read a bunch of this author before and he does understand trek better than most.
This novel takes place shortly after Nemesis and sets things up for the novels to follow. The main story was okay, not great but not bad. There is a bit of a side story with Worf and Geordi that doesn't really go anywhere. The main focus is really on Capt. Picard and Dr. Crusher individually reflecting on their relationship with each other. It's a little disappointing that the author skips over Dr. Crusher's thoughts near the end of the novel when she makes her decision, opting to go for a "surprise" scene for Capt. Picard at the end, which is really no surprise at all. I also suspect that this is the point where the novels take a major branch away from what we have seen so far in the "Picard" TV series although they haven't even mentioned Dr. Crusher in that one yet. Overall, this was a middle of the road sort of story for me. It was okay, I didn't love it, I didn't hate it.
I won't say it wasn't worth reading... but it was awfully drawn out, and the most obnoxious part was the fact that they worked "clip show" framework into the story. Yes, you heard me right - clip shows, those cringe worthy blights on serialized TV shows produced in shameless moments of budgetary shortage... in a novel. Granted - it was thematic in nature, and a little deliberately corny (characters wondering "I wonder what made me think of that at a time like this?"), but at the end of the day the story wasn't strong enough to carry a novel. Would have been a suitable short story, or 2 or 3 chapters in a novel with a broader plot.