Library Computer: Review of Peter David’s New Frontier: Treason

This month Pocket Books is releasing the mass-market paperback of last year’s "Star Trek New Frontier: Treason", written by Peter David. The book is just arriving in book stores, so TrekMovie is reposting our original review. Check it out below.




Star Trek New Frontier Treason
written by Peter David
Mass-market Paperback, 448 pages (reprint of 2009 trade paperback]

[review contains spoilers for this and other past Star Trek books]

The crew of the USS Excalibur faces challenges from within and without in the newest New Frontier adventure. On board, the once loyal Dr. Selar (from Star Trek: The Next Generation) has become desperate to save her son (who is half Hermat and half Vulcan) from his medical condition of aging too quickly. Selar betrays her crew and Starfleet by stealing a patient and Robin Lefler’s infant son Cwansi in what she believes is an attempt to help her own son. Meanwhile, the crew and its current and former shipmates deal with outside threats such as attempted assassination, treachery, aliens with a unique yet dangerous goal, and personal intrigue.

In sociology’s functional theory there are the notions of manifest (intended) consequences and latent (unintended) consequences. The idea is that social policies have a duality, intended effects and unintended effects. The same could be said of the New Frontier books by Peter David. They were intended to create a line of Star Trek books where there could be lasting consequences because it involved either minor characters from the television shows, or original characters such as Captain Mackenzie Calhoun. David would be freed from the constraints of resetting everything at the end of the book which was the norm for traditional Trek texts, at least until more recently novels. "Treason" shows this notion in abundance as there are lasting repercussions to the characters. One beloved character dies. Another original character from the novels dies and a well known TV show character is disfigured. Characters such as Robin Lefler and Selar experience conversions and changes to their

All of these repercussions are amid a good narrative which features both personal and galactic intrigue and has plenty of adventure and action. While Peter David has written what is my favorite Star Trek book of all time (Imzadi), his texts recently have shown a tendency for too much humor at inappropriate times. Frankly, some of the books have been almost self referential and congratulatory pats on the back (for example, the way Captain Kathryn Janeway’s death was treated by David in his book "Before Dishonor"). However, I am happy to report that none of this is present with Treason. It is David in perfect form and readers will laugh and cry as he takes them on an emotional adventure.

However, like everything, there are latent features to the New Frontier books, and that, too is true of "Treason." The New Frontier books, and especially "Treason," are more Star Wars than Star Trek. Calhoun is definitely Han Solo meets Starfleet (perhaps he should be renamed Calhan?). The banter between Kalinda and Calhoun’s smart alec pirate son is so reminiscent of Han and Leia that it is distracting. There is too much Obi Wan Kenobi type symbolism (including a character named Cwan…ObiCwan?). It isn’t that "Treason" is devoid of Star Trek themes or ideas. It is that characters talk and act as if they belong more to the universe of Lucas than Roddenberry. Somethings go well together, but Star Wars and Star Trek and not peanut butter and chocolate. This problem is abated somewhat by the fact that many of the characters are likeable despite their flaws and there are nods to Star Trek’s history.

All of that being said, "Treason" is definitely recommended as it is exciting and intriguing. Not to be proverbial, it is a book that is difficult to stop reading because of the way David weaves the narrative together. There is a very interesting conclusion to the book and there are threads here for good sequels. For those who have not read a New Frontier book before, there are enough "pointing arrows" to help navigate this unusual version of Star Trek, although you may want to engage the IDW New Frontier comic books to get visual references for some of these characters. It is a good book to read as a "first" in the line or for those who have been fans all along. In summary, David has shown again why he is arguably the best Star Trek author, even if his New Frontier world skews to the Force. This is a recommended title.

"New Frontier Treason" (available now)


There is a lot more Star Trek reading coming to your book store in March. First up isthe "Star Trek: Seven Deadly Sins" trade paperback collection of novellas exploring different Trek races, using the classic seven deadly sins as a framing structure. Later in March comes "Star Trek Online: The Needs of the Many", the ‘oral history’ as told to Jake Sisko (via Michael A. Martin) which is a tie-in to the new massive multiplayer game Star Trek Online. And also coming in March is Margaret Wander Bonanno’s "Star Trek: Unspoken Truth", a TOS movie era novel focusing on Saavik.

Star Trek books for March

For more see TrekMovie’s Updated 2010 Star Trek book schedule

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Why does the cover to “The Needs of the Many” have the title “Online” under the Star Trek logo?

As noted in the article, “needs of the many” is a tie-in to the MMORPG “Star Trek Online”

That’s because it is the novel of the backstory leading up to the events in Star Trek Online.

I don’t know, Peter David’s going to have to do a lot to top the Borg eating Pluto…

No big deal….Pluto was always a very Mickey Mouse planet……

I have always enjoyed the New Frontier novels and felt them to be a welcome addition to the Star Trek universe. I never felt that they were anything near Star Wars territory at all. I have this book sitting on my To Read pile, most likely after this weekend’s Gallifrey con.

Peter David rules, hands down.

If you haven’t read “Vendetta”, you REALLY, seriously need to.

His other works are all great but Vendetta is a supreme masterpiece.

I don’t really get how Janeway’s death in Before Dishonour was a self-congratulatory pat on the back.

For the record, best Peter David Star Trek novel: Q-Squared. That is just uber-wigged out.

Peter David rules, hands down.(2)

I particularly love the movie novelizations he writes, such as Spiderman 1 to 3 and Iron Man. It´s like talking to an old friend about other old friends.

Imzadi 1 and 2 made me laugh and cry. :)

I´m actually reading an original “Fantastic Four” novel he wrote in pocket book format. Yes, he does pat himself in the back a lot, but well, he´s our dear old friend. :)

Another good thing about these New Frontier books is it appears they can’t merely photoshop a crappy cover together. The cover of this looks like an old Trek book cover when the cover really drew you and set a “mysterious” and “out of this world” tone.

10: that´s right.

An old fashioned, 1970´s style, original painted pulp cover. :)

“Q Squared” was so much better than it had a right to be, and old Riker in “Imzadi” was probably the best interpretation of that character put on paper.
Vendetta was solid, but probably not as good character wise as the other two.

11. Ah, yes, those were the days. When thoughts of a revived Trek danced like sugar plums in my head. Growing up in the syndicated days and the early novels I remember the eager anticipation of ST:TMP. Geez, geezer time I guess. Those painted covers were the best. Plus, gives a job to an artist.

I so wished that IMZADI was filmed as a three parts episode.

But at least we saw glimpses of that Admiral Riker in the “All Good things” episode.

I love the humor and oddball situations in Peter David’s Trek books. Even look out for a Galaxy Quest reference in Treason!

12 and 14

I wish they would turn those two books into miniseries. They were simply amazing

Here’s a little fanart featuring most of the NF characters

Yeah, I think TNG missed the boat not adapting Imzadi in it’s later seasons, it’s really the only wrap-up to Riker/Troi’s first scene in “Encounter At Farpoint” (that and they finally hook up again in Insurrection & Nemesis, but the heart of that relationship is in the Imzadi novel. I view that book as 100% canon to me.)

However, Johnathan Frakes did the audio book of it, which I never heard, but I’m interested in listening too, and it would be as close as you can get to the actors participating in it.

I’ve read everything in the New Frontier series, but I actually hated this book. I got halfway through and couldn’t even finish it.

Imzadi and Q-Squared were not only Peter David’s best books, but the best Star Trek novels I’ve ever read (and I’ve read a lot).