It’s back to the Taurus Reach in this week’s edition of the Library Computer as we take a look at Dayton Ward’s new contribution to the Star Trek: Vanguard saga, “Star Trek Vanguard: Open Secrets.” We also have a super-sized version of the book cover designed by Doug Drexler.
REVIEW: STAR TREK: VANGUARD – OPEN SECRETS by Dayton Ward
[SPOILERS: for this and other recent novels]
In the wake of Tim Pennington’s redemption (so to speak) and Commodore Diego Reyes’ arrest, things on Starbase Vanguard keep moving along, revealing more and more about the true mission of the station, and giving an added urgency to Starfleet’s presence in the Taurus Reach. To say that I couldn’t have been more surprised by a book might be a bit of hyperbole, but Dayton Ward’s “Open Secrets” totally defied anything that I expected… and in the strangest of ways. Why strange? To be frank, it’s because everything I expected to be in this book was there, just as I expected it to be… just not quite. And it’s the not quite that makes this book such a vibrant read.
As with most previous Vanguard books, there are several storylines to keep your interest, though Ward made a great effort to bring some of them into parallel for this outing, making it a bit easier than in the past to keep track of some of the development and interplay between the ensemble cast. While the true story of the Taurus Meta-Genome remains at the heart of nearly everything in the book, each devoted subset of the book has its own unique flavor and direction that is both appealing and positively engaging.
As Reyes faces his court martial, Starfleet sends Admiral Nogura to take over the station from the XO, Jon Cooper, who has been doing an admiral job since Reyes’ arrest. The choice to place Nogura in charge of the station provides the reader with the chance to develop at least a bit of a profile of the admiral that Kirk was able to influence a few years later when faces with the V’ger Crisis. Nogura quickly demonstrates himself to be every bit the skilled leader while, at the same time, never succumbing to the temptation to create either the anti-Reyes or the Kirk-clone.
T’Prynn’s storyline continues to grow and develop as her ongoing internal struggle forces M’Benga to travel to Vulcan in search of a desperate treatment that even its practitioner isn’t completely versed in. M’Benga takes with him Tim Pennington, and their trip leads to many interesting discoveries about T’Prynn’s backstory and family.
Taking place as it does concurrent with the first season of The Original Series, “Open Secrets” makes effective use of Vanguard’s situation to further compel the unease between the Federation and Klingon Empires. Several incidents lead to continued complications and bickering between the two parties – and when pirates come into the picture, things go from bad to worse.
There is just so much in “Open Secrets” that it is impossible to truly unpack it all just this short review, but as I noted earlier, there is so much you expect to happen in this book that does that you feel like you might come away disappointed. And yet, nothing is as it seems to be… and the book concludes with a “What the…?” moment I would never have expected in a million years. I set down the book in absolute shock (a good kind of shock!) as the final pages played out. I just couldn’t believe what I had read.
Told with a pacing that is both engaging and exciting, Dayton Ward has a real hit on his hands with “Open Secrets”… a story that will make Vanguard fans ache for December’s release of “Precipice”, and that would probably appeal to anyone who was coming into the Vanguard series for the first time.
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"Vanguard: Open Secrets" is just arriving in in bookstores now and can be ordered from Amazon.com
Upcoming reviews for the next month from TrekMovie include the recently released Peter David New Frontier novel “Treason”, as well as the upcoming Star Trek movie adaptation by Alan Dean Foster and later in May a new TOS novel “Troublesome Minds,” by Dave Galanter.
"New Frontier Treason" (available now)