The Vanguard Star Trek novel series may be history, but author David Mack is making some new history in the Taurus Reach with “Second Nature”, the first book in the "Star Trek: Seekers" series. The TrekMovie review follows the jump.
REVIEW: STAR TREK: SEEKERS: SECOND NATURE
Author: David Mack
Pocket Books Paperback and E-Book
Things have settled down in the nearly six months since the Vanguard station was destroyed, and the Taurus Reach has settled back into a state that is typical of the late 23rd century… which places Federation starships such as the Endeavour and Sagittarius into that peculiar mode of exploring with one eye trained firmly astern. That’s probably a good thing, because in “Second Nature”, Captain Clark Terrell’s general neighborhood has some heavy equipment prowling around, all because of some quaint natives who never make it to adulthood.
As “Second Nature” opens, we meet Nimur, a new mother full of love for her child, her mate, and life… which means she has no small measure of disdain for the Cleansing that her people endure as they approach adulthood. In short order, her time comes… but as luck, fate, or coincidence would have it, her change comes while both Federation and Klingon parties are investigating her home planet.
Starfleet’s scout ship, the Sagittarius, under Terrell’s command has come to Nimur’s planet to investigate odd energy readings. The Klingons, well, they are there for Nimur. Oh, not her specifically, but her profile is exactly what they are seeking. When she resists her fate at the hands of the priestess and her wardens, the Klingons are only too happy to come to her aid. While their aid carries a high price, Nimur’s rapid evolution threatens to rock the foundations of an entire world, and forment conflict between Federation and Klingon forces in the Taurus Reach.
While Seekers is a new series, it has deep links to the Vanguard series which preceded it. “Second Nature” serves as a great introduction (or reintroduction) to the Sagittarius, a small scout ship operating in the Taurus Reach. Early on, Mack gives strong introductions for the crew, helping to really open up how a small scout crew operates on the edge of explored space. Personal interactions are very different than we see on major ships, the command structure is formal but carried in a looser fashion, and the creativity necessary to make things work on such a vessel comes from every quarter. We glimpse a bit of the Endeavour in this story, but in large part their reintroduction will come in the second novel of the series.
As always, Mack flexes some pretty hefty action muscle in “Second Nature”. Vivid portrayals of Nimur’s transformation and its effects on the Tomol (her race), as well as on the Federation and Klingon visitors populate the pages of this first Seekers story. He also skillfully crafts Arethusa, the home of the Tomol people, creating a feast for the mind in envisioning the unfolding story, particularly as it relates to the experiences of the Sagittarius’ landing party, under the command of First Officer Thierault.
One thing I definitely appreciated about “Second Nature” was the conclusion. It’s a cliffhanger, but its one I didn’t really see coming. Early on you begin to get lulled into something of a sense of ‘haven’t we seen this kind of story play out before?’, but the arc of Nimur’s character never quite meets what you expect from previous Star Trek outings. Instead, Mack subtly alters her trajectory from time to time, and leaves you with an unexpected conclusion that leaves the reader hungry for more. It’s a good thing that Seekers 2 is out now… because the hunger needs feeding. In fact, I think I’ll sink right in to “Points of Divergence” today.
If you’re looking for some exciting and thought provoking fun in the Star Trek universe, David Mack has more than delivered in “Second Nature,"
Two Seekers Available Now
Star Trek: Seekers 1: Second Nature is available now at Amazon, also just releases is the second book in the series, "Seekers 2: Point of Divergence" by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore (look for review of that second novel at TrekMovie soon).