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Library Computer: Review Star Trek Destiny Book 3 ‘Lost Souls’ November 20, 2008

by Robert Lyons , Filed under: Books,Review , trackback

This week, the Library Computer reviews "Lost Souls" the final installment in the three part Destiny trilogy by David Mack, picking up the story with the Federation on its knees.

 

 

REVIEW: STAR TREK DESTINY III – LOST SOULS

(Please Note: This review contains mild spoilers concerning the Destiny trilogy, and major spoilers concerning previous post-Nemesis novels.)

David Mack obviously knows how to keep a secret. He managed, after all, to keep one of the central cores of the Destiny trilogy under wraps for two complete novels. In fact, there was a lot that he was able to keep hidden from view (while often hiding such things in plain sight). But with the opening of "Lost Souls", the tenor of the trilogy changes in one felled swoop. Secrets be damned, it’s time to bring the story to a resolution, and resolve it Mack does.

On the verge of an impending disaster throughout the Federation (and several other locales), Jean-Luc Picard, William Riker, and Ezri Dax lead their crews to hell and back in a last ditch effort to save the Federation. Joined by Erika Hernandez, once Captain of the starship Columbia, the crews of the Enterprise, Titan, and Aventine join together in what, on the surface, might appear to be just another Borg-based shoot-`em-up. Yet, on every page, Mack manages to instill vitality and resolve into the storytelling, virtues that keep the readers interest alive and, in the end, serve to bring the entire story to its epic conclusion.

While "Lost Souls" is, in my opinion, the weakest book of the trilogy, it can hardly be faulted for that. At some point, the story surrounding the critical element that threads the entire series together had to make an appearance, but its early revelation in "Lost Souls" was a bit of a let-down, mainly because it was too plainly obvious when it reared its (interesting) head. Instead of springing it for dramatic effect all at once, Mack builds up to the major revelation of the trilogy, but the payoff becomes entirely obvious when its first revealed. While it isn’t the story choice I would have made, it allows us to follow from a different perspective a major shift in the history of the universe with knowing eyes. The concept behind this momentous moment is rooted in irony, and it feeds the desire of the reader to assimilate the rest of the story and mull it over.

That being said, the brutal humanity of the story – written in the sheer desperation of so many individuals throughout "Lost Souls" is a refreshingly honest take on the disaster epic, one that goes beyond the stereotypical "The End is Nigh" bit and truly paints a picture of a multi-species civilization facing its impending eradication.

The Borg are, of course, the Borg of late in the relaunch novels; a group that can be summed up, basically, with the phrase, "We are the Borg. Screw you." Again, going into the trilogy we knew that there was no way to avoid this… but Mack finally puts some reason behind the fury that drives the Borg, and actually serves to make their entirely over-stayed welcome in the Star Trek universe feel like it had a genuine, honest to goodness purpose. (For this reader, at least, it paints the Borg in an entirely new and much more acceptable light.)

Federation president Nanietta Bacco’s presence in the trilogy stands out as a high point, with Mack following her and her advisors in the most trying moments of Federation history, yet, at the same time, managing to sculpt, in words, the image of a determined, caring leader who has more than a modicum of dignity and respect. Bacco’s interludes throughout "Lost Souls" were a definite treat, and provided moments to catch one’s breath while the rest of the story seemed to be flying by at warp speed.

If I have a major complaint, it is that "Lost Souls" could (and perhaps should) have been two books. Some vital scenes felt rushed. Major battles ended abruptly, serious moral issues that could have been chapters in and of themselves felt glossed over at times. At some of its weakest moments, "Lost Souls" felt like the dialogue in a teleplay: providing the words, but not fully setting the stage. At others, it conjured to mind the ‘sweeping epic’ (ala Cast Away) that eschewed verbage for setting. Neither extreme did full justice to these portions of "Lost Souls", but, fortunately, those moments are few and far between.

Captain Picard’s mood, once again, is a sight to behold, and if any one character felt ‘off’ in this outing, it was certainly him. He is understandably distressed, angered, and fearful about what is occurring all about him, but this simply did not feel like the Jean-Luc Picard that so many had went into battle with. While the book’s climactic moments attempt to explain this and connect it to his past, the effort feels like too-little-too-late to save the perception of Picard in this installment (and, frankly, in the last book). That being said, Picard makes a major transformation by the end of the trilogy, one that appears to be primed for future storytelling.

"Lost Souls" concludes the Destiny trilogy with a startling transformation of the Star Trek universe, one that will set forth a new world for our heroes to explore. I, for one, am looking forward to those stories… and am thankful that David Mack has, once and for all, helped us to turn back to strange new worlds, to new life and new civilizations… where fans of Trek lit can again boldly go where none have gone before.
 


"Star Trek: Destiny: Lost Souls"
is available now at Amazon

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS ON THE DESTINY TRILOGY

Destiny was put in the right hands, and Mack has helped to steer a positive future for the 24th Century Trek franchise. Each successive story puts the pieces into place to shake up the landscape in a way that appears to offer a positive foundation for what shall come in the months and years ahead. As I said in my review of "Gods of Night", if there ever was to be a revived film franchise set in the 24th century, the Destiny trilogy should make up the opening flicks in such a series.

More info on Star Trek Destiny


 "Star Trek: Destiny: Gods of Night" and "Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals"
are available at Amazon

 

Comments

1. DaiMonRon - November 20, 2008

I have never read anything by David Mack. Can anyone make a suggestion as to which book to read first?

2. CaptainRickover - November 20, 2008

Paramount/CBS should make direct to DVD-movies out of the three novels. That would be a fantastic “final voyage” for the TNG-crew and the tv-franchise. If Star Trek IX will be a success (what I hope for some points) then we could have back Kirk & Spock on Cinema, Picard & Co on DVD (like the Stargate-movies) and perhaps a new show placed in the 25th century on tv.

Maybe I’m the first?

3. rlwoody - November 20, 2008

DaiMonRon

-I suggest starting with Book 1 – Gods of Night; then Book 2; then Book 3.

4. Xizor - November 20, 2008

Start with the “A time to kill” “A time to heal” duology. One of the best Iraq-Qar criticisms out there!

Then read books 1 and 2. They are awesome, and would have made superb movies!

5. The Admiral - November 20, 2008

I look forward to picking this up on Tuesday from the local book store. I’m sure I know what the big reveal is, but can’t wait to see how it’s all laid out.

6. sean - November 20, 2008

Would someone mind spoiling what the big reveal is for me? I simply won’t invest the time into reading these if it sounds like the big reveal in the last book isn’t worth it.

7. SPOCKBOY - November 20, 2008

#2
I agree with most of what you said, but this 25th century stuff.
I think it’s virtually impossible to guess what things are going to be like in the 23RD CENTURY, but the 25th?
Too far.
For one thing they probably won’t have communicators, phasers, tricorders or very little instrumentality at all. I think communicators and tricorders will be some kind of direct link brain implant. Everything will be
automated.
Just look at Flash Gordon from the 30′s or movies from the 50′s-70′s. They had NO CLUE what the”not to distant” future looked like, nevermind over 400 years into the future
Just imagine what people in the 1500′s imagined 2000 to be like?

:)peace

8. DaiMonRon - November 20, 2008

^ other than the three in this article, that is….. :-)

9. AJ - November 20, 2008

I’m a “classic” Trek novel guy, and I tried to get through Book 1. But, in my opinion, it lost early credibility in taking disposable elements of Trek (Ezri Dax, and a captain at that, ‘Enterprise’ (NX-02), and good old wooden Will Riker).

Additionally, Mr. Mack introduces so many ‘new’ characters that I simply ended up skimming over these passages, and got lost. Ensign Jones and Lt. Smith, etc. multiplied by 20.

In the “old” days, Trek novels introduced non-canon characters who could evolve as the canon characters could not. I think Mr. Mack goes somewhat overboard.

Also, as a reader and avid fan, I want to read about the great Trek characters on their ships. TOS and TNG, a bit of DS9.

In book 1, I enjoyed reading about Jadzia, but Ezri, cute as a button though she is, is simply Trek dross, like Neelix and the Kazon. I lost interest.

Riker as Picard’s No.1 had his moments, but was mostly just a red lump in a chair for 7 years, and was essentially fired as First Officer of the E so he could finally get his own command in ‘Nemesis.’

As a series, “Enterprise” was the Great Depression and crash of Trek. Why bother referring to it at all?

We need a good Kirk or Picard adventure that doesn’t jump around timelines, but emulates the best episodes of those series, and uses the existing crews to their full potentials with new or old nemeses effectively portrayed.

And I bought the book on David Mack’s recommendation here on the site. I owe him at least a read straight through to the end.

10. CaptainRickover - November 20, 2008

# 7
Well, if we consider to start the 25th century show in the year 2401 (37 years after TNG Season 1 and 22 years after Nemesis) it would be not so far in Trek’s future. There should be still combadge communicators around, just very, very small. Smaller and more advanced Tricorders, new Phasers and the new ship should able to fly at Transwarp (not the TNG-Transwarp, but faster than Warp 9,999). Replicators included in the tables and can materialize things where ever you want them. Holographic touch- and viewscreens, that can pop out of nothing or projectend against an empty wall. Or a holographic surgery device, that show you the microscopic view of wounds, so the doctor can repair it with mind guided Nanoprobes. Stuff like this. I think, that could be cool to watch (Okay, I have to admit, that a show could be HORRIBLE for TOS-purists :))

Well, that’s just my ideas. But I agree, no one could ever predict that. It is also very possible that mankind had reached it’s technological potential allready and there would be just minor advancenments, like the years between 1500 to 1800 (for example: men used the same type of gun for nearly 300 years: muskets).

11. Sc00ny - November 20, 2008

I love Trek books. I picked up the first 4 in Shatner’s ‘Return’ series. Fantastic. ‘Collision Course’ was a lot of fun too! Canon as well !

I own ‘Crossover’ and it is hokey, but the theft of a TOS-era Constitution class starship by Scotty, complete with cloaking device is wonderfully nostalgic. I picked up Vulcan’s Forge too, which was a bit heavy handed with the Jewish-Vulcan analogies, but was a great read.
Spock as a boy… fascinating!

I’d love to try some TOS fiction if anybody can recommend..

12. CarlG - November 20, 2008

@11. If you’re looking for really good TOS books, my advice is anything by either Diane Carey or Diane Duane.

Carey’s books have this really cool, old-school naval feel to them — it really feels like “Horatio Hornblower in space”. And she writes Kirk amazingly well; she really gets the character and it shows.
Her first two Trek books are my favourite: “Dreadnought!” and “Battlestations!”. They’re narrated by this newbie Lieutenant who’s something of a nervous wreck and it’s a feally fun read.

Duane’s books really flesh out the idea of a Starfleet made of different species working side-by-side; her Enterprise crew has plenty of truly “alien” aliens. She’s also great at fleshing out characters like Chekov and Uhura that lesser authors might give shorter shrift to. You really understand how brilliant all these people are to do the jobs that they do, in her books.
And her Dr. McCoy is just awesome. And so are her Romulans.
If you like “Vulcan’s Forge” then I’d recommend “Spock’s World”. It’s an incredible history of Vulcan, spanning prehistoric times, up to the birth of Spock. It’s been contradicted by canon (grumble), but please don’t let that stop you from enjoying these books. If you do, you’re missing out on an astonishing read.
And if the chapter about Surak doesn’t put a lump in your throat, you are made of stone.

Happy reading!

13. Father Robert Lyons - November 21, 2008

11 – In the past I have offered some TOS suggestions here. If you look in the Books section of the site, and scroll back, you can see reviews of some outstanding TOS books (and the comments of others whose views have varied from mine).

We hope to provide more reviews in the not to distant future of classic TOS books… so stay tuned.

Rob+

14. curt - November 21, 2008

#11 – my suggestion for TOS would be the Yesterday saga books – there are 2 books that are sequels to the episode “All Our Yesterdays”. The first book is ‘Yesterday’s Son’ and the second is ‘Time For Yesterday’.

Turns out Spock had a son with Zarabeth in the past…both are excellent reads! There were supposed to be 3 more books wrote in the series, but they have been put on hold for now…

15. Sc00ny - November 21, 2008

Thanks Carl G, Father Robert Lyons and Curt.
All sound intriguing. Good time for reading is the winter. Especially about someplace warm!

Thanks for the recommendations guys. There seems no limit of the stories to be told in the TOS era, I always felt the Next Gen era was always about politics, where as in the TOS era, you have magic, androids, gods, fantasy come to life and a sense of wonder about the universe. I can’t wait to read these!

Cheers!

16. CarlG - November 21, 2008

#15 – Yeah, some of the TOS books were pretty crazy. Others were just terrible, though.
I get the sense that as the movies and TNG came along and Trek turned into something of a goldmine, Paramount started taking a closer look at the Trek “brand” stuff that was being released. Which is sort of good, since some of the worse early books would never have been released, but sort of bad, too, since some of the crazier ideas in the early TOS books also would have cut. Ah, well. As the say on Earth, “C’est la vie”.

Oh yeah, also read “How Much for Just the Planet?” Epic Klingon piefight win. :)

17. justcorbly - November 21, 2008

#2 (CaptainRickover):

I’d love to see the Destiny trilogy made into a movie. The special effects alone would be amazing. We won’t see it, though.

#9 (AJ):

Forget about Trek and give these books a chance as novels. I found them to be on a par with the best of genre fiction. These are really very affecting novels.

And, AJ, Ezri’s rise to a captaincy has been well documented in the earlier novels. She is no longer the hesitant little pixie from the last year of DS9, but, rather, a strong and decisive leader who has learned to leverage the memories of her Dax predecessors. In Lost Souls she behaves in a very Kirk-like manner. I’d like to see more novels focus on her.

18. Weerd1 - November 23, 2008

If anyone’s looking for a good TOS novel, I recommend “Cloak” from the Section 31 series. The author has a real grasp on the characters, and you could all but hear the characters delivering the lines.

As for the 25th century, once we get over the idea the Federation is going to fall (which seems a trend on the novels as of late) I agree we will see a miniaturization of tech, and possible more neural interface based on captured and adapted Borg tech. Imagine combining a combadge with replicator or holodeck technology. You wear your insignia, and don’t carry other gear. You decide you need a tricorder, you ask your badge for one, which it creates out from a matter stream held in transporter stasis. The tricorder itself isn’t a device one reads, but rather increases your own sensory perception and gives the input directly to your brain. You simply “know” the makeup of the weird alien substance, or how many lifeforms are in the next room.

19. CaptainRickover - November 23, 2008

# 18
Good thoughts indeed. But for me that’s sounds like something for the 29th century and the crew of the USS Relativity. If there should be a new show, the people should actually have something to DO. If they just can figure out everything without visible devices, they would appear like superheros (even if that might be quiet possible for our human future). If the future is too strange and to different from our days, the mainstream audience might switch off the tv.

Most important thing for a new show: Holodecks haven’t malfunctions anymore. That should be a rule for all writers. No more Holodeck-adventures!!

A real good TOS novel: THE WEB OF THE ROMULANS. It’s a very old one, but the very best that was ever written. Epic feeling, much suspense, a TUC-like political thriller-plot, a very good catch of the TOS-characters and the TOS-typical malfunctions of the Enterprise’s computer. That book is very old by now and maybe hard to find but it’s worth a read.

20. David Mack - November 23, 2008

#18 wrote: “As for the 25th century, once we get over the idea the Federation is going to fall (which seems a trend on the novels as of late)”

Since when? I don’t recall any of the recent novels being based on that concept, except perhaps some of the Myriad Universe stories, which are all parallel-universe, “what-if” tales.

21. Weerd1 - November 23, 2008

20- Hi Mr. Mack!

Maybe it’s just me. I’m not knocking the quality of the stories, they are quite good, and I love the fact Pocket Books is managing continuity within the various series. It just seems each large tie in for the last four years or so have the greatest threat our heroes have faced… until the next story. Then each successive series has the characters or the Federation still reeling from the last event. I find myself hoping everyone gets a break, and the Federation can stabilize for a while and boldly go out in the big black a little more. It’s really a trend which started with the Borg on TNG I think, then the Dominion, the SECOND Borg invasion, the Genesis Wave, Double Helix, the Iconian Gateways, etc.

Again, good adventurous stories with high stakes, very exciting. But I think maybe Picard sums it up in the movie Insurrection: “Can anyone remember when we used to be explorers?” There was even a proposal as I understand for an animated series which would be set in the 26th Century and show a fallen Federation trying to rise again.

Again, the quality is there, I don’t want to knock that. Purely a matter of personal preference. Thank you very some very enjoyable books, and I hope the continuity keeps up despite the new film. Hmmm. Any plans for TNG era stories set in the reboot timeline?

22. noirgwio - November 24, 2008

I’ve just finished book 2 of Destiny and WOAH!! I swear, I don’t know if I have ever been so emersed and caught up in any story in any book I’ve ever read – as much as with this series. I’m picky with books and outside Martin & Mangels’ “The Good That Men Do” and “Kobyashi Maru” – and now “Destiny” – I’ve never broken into ST books. But I am hooked!! I am so looking forward to part 3, and share in the fondness for a DVD movie version, you listening Paramount?!! Also, I too have suspected what the big reveal will be – I had a plot point in mind, and now that I know there IS a reveal, I am wondering if my surmise is correct… I can’t wait to see!!

23. Petey - November 24, 2008

Wow… now I’m so curious I don’t think I’ll wait for Destiny to end up in a trilogy collection. I think I might just head out now and see if any of the bookstores I frequent carry all three.

Thanks for the excellent review, Father Robert!

Mr. Mack, now that Destiny has run its course, I’m eagerly awaiting more Vanguard stories.

24. noirgwio - November 24, 2008

I am curios about the Vanguard ones… They’re the TOS era ones right? I cannot recall just now. Any good books set during Capt. Pike’s command of Big E?

25. David Mack - November 24, 2008

^ For those who are looking forward to new Vanguard stories, there will be a Mirror Universe Vanguard short story, “The Black Flag” by James Swallow, in January 2009′s trade-paperback anthology, “Shards and Shadows.”

May 2009 will see the publication of the fourth book of the Vanguard saga, “Open Secrets” by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore.

The fifth book in the series, “Precipice,” by yours truly, will be coming a year from now, in December 2009.

26. Dayton Ward - November 26, 2008

#24 – Pike books: There’s D.C. Fontana’s VULCAN’S GLORY, which is one of the older “numbered” TOS novels. More recently, there’s Margaret Wander Bonanno’s BURNING DREAMS, which came out in 2006, and is regarded by some as the “definitive” Pike novel.

27. EnsignRedShirt - November 28, 2008

David Mack: Woohoo, new VANGUARD books! I really like the three out now, they sit on the top of my bookshelves. Don’t like the year long wait between them, but that allows me to savor them all the more. Thanks for some of my favorite science fiction, not just Star Trek, in my collection.

28. Sci - November 30, 2008

#21: “Gateways,” “Maximum Warp,” “Double Helix,” and “The Genesis Wave” are all OLD. I mean, really old. As in, Bill Clinton was still in office during some of them old.

Why would you take a storytelling trend from almost a decade ago and imply that that trend has been continuous since then?

29. Brad - April 2, 2012

Who thought that making Ezri a captain was a good idea? I gave up the novels because I couldn’t get through her parts.

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