This week, the Library Computer journeys back to Organia to revisit the classic Star Trek episode "Errand of Mercy" through the eyes of Kevin Ryan as he draws the Errand of Fury trilogy to a close with "Sacrifices of War. Plus we have the second of three signed Destiny Trilogy book give-away trivia contests.
REVIEW – Star Trek: Errand of Fury – Book 3 – Sacrifices of War
Time has run out. The United Federation and Planets and the Klingon Empire teeter on the brink of war, and James T. Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise find themselves in the midst of the brewing conflict in the final installment of the Errand of Fury trilogy, "Sacrifices of War". It’s been a two year wait since the last book in this series was released (see TrekMovie review), but it was surprisingly easy to pick up the story upon cracking the cover of the latest volume. "Sacrifices of War" is, however, really two stories in one – one original, and one a retelling of Gene L. Coon’s "Errand of Mercy", an episode from the tail end of the first season of The Original Series.
The original story is the lead off (though elements from it will touch Ryan’s treatment of "Errand of Mercy"), and came across as somewhat unbalanced. While the Starfleet HQ storyline is strong, well written, and interesting, the Kirk angle is filled with far too many ‘whiz-bang’ moments to be terribly credible. In fairness, there were plenty of Original Series episodes that suffered from moments like this; ones where nobody should have survived, nobody should have been uninjured, etc. On the bright side, the Chandrans, aliens who find themselves under the oppressive boot of Klingon oversight, are an interesting enough lot. Ryan takes the time to give us a bit of a glimpse into their pre-occupation history, culture, and practices… but its simply not enough to save the Kirk story from reading like glorified fan fiction or like a rehash of the preceding two books in the series.
On the other hand, Ryan’s exploration of Lieutenant Leslie Parrish is quite engaging, and her story places her in a unique situation as Klingons begin chasing during her ride back to Earth. Parrish has to contend with a civilian crew, fifty year old equipment, and a growing Klingon/Human hybrid in her womb as she struggles to ensure the safety of both the Federation and of the cargo ship Antares. (Just as an aside, how many more merchant ships named Antares can we have in Star Trek?) She faces some pretty extreme decisions, and places some of those on the cargo ship into a position to be ‘accomplices’ (after a fashion). Ryan, instead of glossing this over, uses the opportunity to examine both the individual consciences in question, as well as the systems they hail from, which leads this storyline to a satisfying and meaningful conclusion.
The second half of the book, the retelling of "Errand of Mercy" is mostly forgettable, unfortunately. While there are some small additions (particularly with regards to Starfleet’s preparations for the impending Klingon invasion and some of the individual Klingon vessels involved in the attacks on the Enterprise in the episode) there is little of substance that is added in these additional portions. This is unfortunate, because there is so much there to be mined. "Sacrifices of War" certainly squandered a chance to do just that, which is surprising given the other five books in this double set of trilogies and the way they read.
"Sacrifices of War" isn’t bad, per-se… just disappointing. Given the excellent readability and creativity of the other books Ryan has written as a part of this storyline, this final installment ends with a whimper a series that began with a bang.
"Errand of Fury Book 3: Sacrifices of War" available now at Amazon
SIGNED DESTINY TRILOGY CONTEST – Week 2
Last week TrekMovie kicked off new trivia contest to give away three sets of the Destiny Trilogy, signed by author David Mack. A winner has been selected at random from the correct entries.
The question was:
Author David Mack has written for Star Trek in television, comic, and book form. Name the first Star Trek book that Mack wrote for Pocket.
And the answer is: "The Starfleet Survival Guide." Congrats to Aaron of Mishawaka, IN for getting that right.
And now you have your second chance. There is another trivia question already up on the Destiny Trilogy contest page
Please do not discus new trivia question in comments section below. The correct answer and winner of the contest will be announced in the next ‘Library Computer’ column.
Join us back here in two weeks for the Library Computer’s look at Keith R.A. DeCandido’s follow-up to the Destiny trilogy, "A Singular Destiny". In the aftermath of galactic-scale conflict, the soul and spirit of the Federation lay squarely in the hands of her leadership. Can the President and the people on her staff preside over a rejuvenation of the Federation? We’ll see… in two weeks. Plus we will give away another signed Destiny trilogy.
Our next book to review: