Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Forgotten War: Review

Over 200 years before Captain Picard's time, Starfleet Captain Lucien Murat, legendary Starfleet officer and contemporary of Christopher Pike, disappeared during the war with reptilian alien species, the Tarn. A cease-fire was called long since, but it is an uneasy peace that exists between the Tarn and the Federation. In the effort to speed diplomatic negotiations, Picard takes on Commander Karish of the Tarn as an exchange officer. While Karish is aboard, the Enterprise discovers descendants of both Murat and his crew as well as survivors from a Tarn ship on a planet in the No-Entry Zone between Federation and Tarn space. These castaways are still fighting the battle begun two centuries ago...and the Tarn have just perfected fission bombs. Unless Picard can convince both sides that the war is over, the humans will face certain destruction. Officials from both sides have forbidden Picard and his Tarn counterpart Admiral Jord from assisting their own people. Picard must devise a clever plan that will both conform to his orders and yet save the survivors from both sides. If he can't, the war with the Tarn may spread once again into space.

It's been a long time since I read a Star Trek novel. Back in the day--before the Classic Trek films and The Next Generation kicked off a series of spin-offs--all we had was Classic Trek in syndication. I, and most Trek fans, were always hungry for more stories about our favorite starship crew, so when the novels started coming out I grabbed them up as fast as Pocket Books could produce them. And managed to keep up with production. But once the Next Gen went on the air and there were now two series novels to keep up with I managed to fall behind.  That didn't keep me from buying every one that I could get my hands on--I just didn't get them all read. Then my attention wandered back to mysteries and I stopped reading Trek altogether. I thought it about time that I move some of these Star Trek novels off the TBR mountain....

The Forgotten War (STNG #57) by William R. Forstchen is a decent Trek novel.  It offers commentary on  the reasons for war and the results of an ongoing battle between two enemies who are equally matched and are neither prepared to look for an alternate solution to the generations of bloodshed. Trek has always examined huge social and historical issues of just this nature, so Forstchen sticks to canon in that way. There are small indicators that he doesn't quite have his characters down, however. Phrasing that just doesn't ring true for Picard. Referring to Riker as "Will" in about 90% of the situations--it should generally be Riker when narrating and unless in relaxed circumstances his colleagues should call him "Number One" (the captain) or "Commander." Small quibbles--but details do matter. another Goodreads reviewer (Jimyanni) noted--this race is awful reminiscent of the Gorn.  If there had been such a big conflict with the Tarn (another lizard-like race) during the time of Pike (not so very long before Kirk), then you would, indeed, expect that it might have been mentioned. Again--small quibble.  Overall--a good read. Quick-paced and full of action.  I do like how Picard and Admiral Jord work together to get their respective peoples to stand down from a final battle that will surely destroy all those on the planet.  ★★★

1 comment:

fredamans said...

I think I would like this one a lot. I watched every episode of The Next Generation on tv. Great review!