This week the Library Computer returns to the Taurus Reach to tie up loose ends and open the door for new discoveries as David Mack return’s to Starbase 47, in his new novel “Star Trek Vanguard: Precipice”, coming soon to bookstores.
REVIEW: Star Trek: Vanguard – Precipice
written by David Mack
Mass-market Paperback, 352 pages
NOTE: Contains spoilers
If Dayton Ward’s “Open Secrets” left you with more questions than answers about the future of the Vanguard storyline, David Mack is back to his baby to fill in the blanks and bring one phase of the tale to an end while, at the same time, paving the way for new adventures yet to come.
With Admiral Nogura now in command of Starbase 47 (i.e., Vanguard) and Commodore Reyes presumed dead, the story has taken on a new dimension as “Precipice” follows and resolves several storylines that have woven throughout the first four novels of the series. The events of the novel take place over a period of roughly one year, and the flow of the book makes it an enjoyable and well-paced read.
In “Precipice”, T’Prynn’s recovery and ‘restoration’ are fully explored, as is Tim Pennington’s relationship with her, which makes for interesting development on the part of both characters as they work together to contribute to the security of Project Vanguard through less than orthodox means. T’Prynn and Pennington’s interactions throughout the story help to form a much more complex view of each of their personas – especially T’Prynn’s, as she is now a very different person than she was before being purged of Sten’s katra in “Open Secrets”. While her directness hasn’t changed, other elements of her life have, and Pennington becomes an excellent ear through which to discern the nuances of a new T’Prynn.
In the meantime, Bridy Mac and Cervantes Quinn – both working for Starfleet Intelligence – discover a culture that survived a planetary disaster of their own making whose planet holds a coveted Shedai conduit. The only problem is that the Klingons know about the conduit as well, which leads Cervantes Quinn into the unlikely position of leading the charge in a game of guerrilla warfare between the planet’s inhabitants and their Klingon invaders. While Bridy Mac’s arc throughout “Precipice” is a bit bland, Quinn’s is spectacular, carving out for the reader a much deeper perspective on his past, and giving him motivation for his involvement with the Intelligence service.
In a bit of a surprise appearance, at least to me, Gorkon himself plays a pivotal role in attempting to persuade the chancellor of the High Council to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict with the Federation. In quite possibly the most interesting chapters of the book, we begin to get a feel for the Gorkon who positioned himself for the Chancellorship later in his life, and find an appreciation for his unique cunning in the face of an Empire rooted in its martial ways.
In many ways, Mack’s tale feels like the conclusion of the ‘first season’ of the story, which makes “Precipice” an aptly titled book. A major part of the journey is concluded. Resolution (mostly) is found for the major players in the narrative, but the closing chapters serve to set the stage for the next slope, where the Vanguard tale will once again pick up a new inertia.
Part of that inertia is found in the return of the Orion trader, Ganz, who was previously booted from the station by Admiral Nogura. Now he has returned with three bargaining chips that are impossible to turn away. At the same time, Ambassador Jetanian’s journey through “Precipice” seems to be sewing the seeds of what we will later come to know as the Planet of Galactic Peace. While both of these inertia points take up relatively few pages compared with the other storylines, both have a potential to pay off in huge and unexpected dividends as the series moves forward.
There are other surprises to be found between the covers of “Precipice”, all of them worth your time. Mack’s visit to the Taurus Reach definitely satisfies a momentary thirst, but will invoke a new hunger in the hearts of Vanguard fans who want to see more. Here’s hoping that the ‘more’ will be on its way very, very soon!
The official release date for Star Trek: Vanguard: Precipice is November 24th. Here is the cover (in high res).
Also from 2009 – Vanguard Open Secrets
As noted, this is the second Vanguard book from 2009. In April Pocket released "Star Trek: Vanguard: Open Secrets" by Dayton Ward. Check the TrekMovie review for more.
That book is available at Amazon now.
Coming Up Next: Star Trek Mirror Universe: The Sorrows of Empire
In December Pocket Books wraps up 2009 with another novel by David Mack. In "Star Trek Mirror Universe: The Sorrows of Empire" Mack extends his novella tale of Mirror Spock and the Terran Empire following Captain Kirk’s suggestion that "in every revolution, there is one man with a vision.” Look for our review in about a month.