Book Review: Star Trek: Vanguard: Declassified + Vanguard Series To End In 2012

It’s time to return to the Taurus Reach with the collection “Star Trek: Vanguard: Declassified.” Contributors Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, Marco Palmieri, and David Mack bring readers four novellas, spread across the Vanguard saga’s timeline, which promise to open up some new perspectives on the crew and the circumstances that are associated with the life of Starbase 47. The TrekMovie novel review below plus news on the end of the Vanguard saga.


REVIEW: Star Trek: Vanguard: Declassified
by by Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, Marco Palmieri, and David Mack
Mass-market Paperback – 400 pages

Pocketbooks – May 2011 – $7.99

Vanguard: Declassified consists of four separate novellas – here are reviews of each:

“Almost Tomorrow”
by Dayton Ward

Serving as a bit of a prequel to the series, Ward’s novella explores discoveries of personal and scientific natures as he explores the arrival of a new JAG officer, the discovery of a spy, and the ever-expanding fingerprint of the meta-genome observed throughout the Taurus Reach. Unfortunately, “Almost Tomorrow” isn’t even "almost interesting" as each story falls flat. Events aboard the Sagittarius are slow and plodding, the early encounters between Reyes and Desai are utterly forgettable, and even T’Prynn’s discoveries in her espionage investigation come across as unworthy of remark. Ward, while usually on target, missed the mark by far, penning what is easily the least interesting contribution to both “Declassified” in particular and, for my money, the Vanguard meta-story as a whole.

“Hard News”
by Kevin Dilmore

When Tim Pennington becomes persona-non-grata in the wake of his publication of damning evidence about Starfleet’s work in the Taurus Reach, Cervantes Quinn – possibly his last friend outside of Stars Landing – offers some assistance. At the same time, a young cracker-jack journalist seeking a quick name and some extra layers on her resume shows up, offering her relative anonymity as a means of breaking the story even wider open. Of course, Pennington hasn’t a clue as to what he is really going to find, but that’s the fun of the story, right? Well, in this instance, the story itself is somewhat predictable, but the novel use of first person narration throughout the story makes up for the relative straightforward nature of the novella’s plotline. Observing Pennington from the inside makes for a far more satisfying exposure to him than the typical third-person writing of Trek literature.

“The Ruins of Noble Men”
by Marco Palmieri

Captain Desai and Doctor Fisher are sent to investigate the death of Vanguard’s colonial relations guru on a planet which has elected to sever its ties to Starfleet and the Federation. Back at Vanguard, suspicion abounds as to what has truly happened, so naturally Desai and Fisher seem prepared for the worst. However, what should be a straightforward death investigation and security negotiation takes a significant turn when Fisher goes missing and talks of reconciliation grow cold, leading a lawyer to hunt for a doctor in a setting that is nothing close to a joke. The payoff comes a little too quickly in the story, and is communicated more cerebrally, but somehow, that seems to satisfy the mood of the work. Palmeri, who served as the developing editor on the Vanguard series, pens this novella… and its examination of provincial morality and its effects on society at large stands head to head with some of the great heavyweight episodes of the various Star Trek television series. While
it could be argued that the story itself has little to do with furthering the meta-narrative, “The Ruins of Noble Men” is a lovingly-crafted story that is not to be missed.

“The Stars Look Down”
by David Mack

Saving what is arguably the best for last, Cervantes Quinn and Bridy Mac head out to investigate the mystery hidden in the memory banks of of a ship – currently in Gorn custody – that could serve to be the next big break in the pursuit of the Taurus Meta-Genome and the background of the Shedai. In action packed romp with a shocking conclusion, Mack sets the stage for the next chapter in the Vanguard saga. Pouring all he has into it, Mack ensures that “The Stars Look Down” provides expansive action while, at the same time, offering what might easily (and on many levels) be called a touching resolution to the hopes and dreams of both Quinn and Bridy Mac, as well as a genuine Shedai payoff, one that fans of the series have been waiting years to discover. This novella punches above its weight class as Mack prepares us for the penultimate installment in the series, Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore’s “What Judgments Come”, due in late September.

"Star Trek: Vanguard: Declassified" is available now at


Vanguard Series Ending In 2012 – two more books

The Vanguard series started in 2005 and has spawned six novels and "Declassivied" collection reviewed above. But in 2012 that will all come to a (planned) end. The recently announced synopsis for the next novel "What Judgment Comes" first revealed the end is near:

Operation Vanguard has risked countless lives and sacrificed entire worlds to unlock the secrets of the Shedai, an extinct alien civilization whose technology can shape the future of the galaxy. Now, Starfleet’s efforts have roused the vengeful Shedai from their aeons of slumber.

As the Taurus Reach erupts with violence, hundreds of light-years away, on "The Planet of Galactic Peace," Ambassador Jetanien and his counterparts from the Klingon and Romulan empires struggle to avert war by any means necessary. But Jetanien discovers their mission may have been designed to fail all along…

Meanwhile, living in exile on an Orion ship is the one man who can help Starfleet find an ancient weapon that can stop the Shedai: Vanguard’s former commanding officer, Diego Reyes.


Vanguard series author Dayton Ward confirmed the end of the series in a blog post, where he explains how this was all part of a plan:

We’ve begun the process of bringing the Vanguard series to what we hope is a proper and epic conclusion. What Judgments Come, written by me and Kevin and coming in October, is the first of a 2-part conclusion to the series. It’ll be followed next year with the seventh and final novel, Storming Heaven written by David Mack, who faces the monumental task of putting to bed the series he helped create.

However, you’ll see when you read the title pages that the three of us are credited with the story for both books. We’ve been plotting this for going on two years now. The series had always been conceived with a beginning, middle, and end, going back to the original "bible" Dave wrote when he co-created the series with then-editor Marco Palmieri.

…more at Dayton’s blog

The Vanugard series is coming to an end

More summer Star Trek reading

There are more new and recent Star Trek novels to keep you going for this summer, including Christopher L. Bennett’s "Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching The Clock" (see TrekMovie review), David McIntee’s "Star Trek The Next Generation: Indistinguishable from Magic" (TrekMovie review), and Star Trek: Voyager: Children of the Storm (TrekMovie review).  And if you want a story from the new Star Trek movie universe, there is the just-released "Star Trek: Starfleet Academy: The Gemini Agent," by Rick Barba.

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Recently release Star Trek books

And coming up later in July, James Swallow will explore the relationship between Spock and Valeris in "Star Trek: Cast No Shadow."

The next Star Trek novel – due in late July

Pocket Books provided TrekMovie with a copy of this book for review.


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I’m sad to see it go, but I’d rather it go out on top than fizzle out like some of the other series. Definitely among the best Trek series the publisher has put out.

@ #1

Agreed. Fantastic series

I would love to see it as a tv series. why not make a movie of a star trek novel?

Definitely have more material to work with here than an 80-page outline and we wouldn’t have to wait 3-1/2 to 4 years between movies.

@ #3

or a mini-series? i miss star trek, in some form, on television.

Yep, while Vanguard moves at light speed… something else moves along at ludicrous speed, and I don’t mean plaid.

Should be interesting to see one of these book series actually have a conclusion, as opposed to quickly fizzling out (Challenger) or having an indeterminate future (New Frontier).

Too bad it’s ending, though I always suspected it had to end someday. There always did seem to be an overall storyline going through all the books in this series that would have to have a conclusion.

It seems New Frontier is on a once a year cycle. I would like to see a new Titan book, as it seemed we were just getting started (perhaps Mack’s trilogy planned for next year will touch on that. I also would like to see something new from DS9 (again, hopefully Mack’s books will include something from DS9). Beyer is doing good with Voyager and I hope she continues. I am currently in the midst of reading the Stargazer books by Michael Jan Friedman and would love to see someone (either Friedman or someone else) pick up on those. Picard was in command for years, and there are a ton of stories that can be told.

7–I read the Challenger book included with the Gateway series. I think the problem there was that it seemed too far removed from the familiar Star Trek universe. It just didn’t feel like it tied into anything else for me. The characters had potential and were well written, however.

My god, I LOVE the Vanguard cover art!

Vanguard’s cover indeed! It’s like Franz Joseph’s blueprints expanded with Star Trek 2009’s CGI. :) Best of both worlds, definitely.

I’d love a new series (even an online series, like New Voyages) that used all of those cool TOS-era ‘money shots’ seen on the covers of these books. As a matter of fact, there were a couple of shots like that kind of scattered here and there in the New Voyages series (which I enjoy very much; kudos to James Cawley and crew!).

The remastered “Ultimate Computer” used a new Vanguard-styled space station to replace the K-7 stock footage seen in the original episode. Mini-geekout moment! ;-)

I will miss Star Trek: Vanguard!! :-(

I have enjoyed the Vanguard series; it’s sad its coming to an end. I hope there will be more new crews and characters in the Trek literature universe – having new characters that were not on TV shows was quite fresh and new. I always though Vanguard took some of the best elements from TOS and DS9 and combined them with new elements to make something really good. I would like to see more books like the Lost Era series – even perhaps a Sulu or an Enterprise C series to help fill the gap. Thanks to the Writers!

@10: I know, isn’t it great? :) I knid of miss the old painted covers, but when it comes to CGI art, Doug Drexler is the man.

Vanguard is for me really the new “TV” series. In germany they are publishing the series as audiobook. Not a TV sereis, but nice.

@8- I loved the Stargazer novels, and I wish they had done more with them. It just kinda ended. Very sad.

Oh, now that I know an ending is scheduled, I might have to get back into these. There are just too many ongoing Trek series for me to keep up with them; knowing that there is one with a finite run is actually an incentive for me to seek it out…

Have never read a Vanguard, but the cover art has always been an amazing homage to Franz Joseph’s Tech Manual!

Still working on the current Vanguard, and very sad to hear of its demise. It’s the only ongoing Trek series I read.

I got a Great way to end the series – set the end right before STAR TREK : THE MOTION PICTURE and Have V’ger on the way to Earth destroy the station and all the characters!

@ #3.

I’ve recently been thinking Vanguard would make a great HBO series. It seems to fit their sensibilities.

I could seem them maybe doing one or one a half of the books per season.

I really hate this news. While the over all plot does not excite me but all the charaters are so interesting. I will miss them.