With Earth essentially left to its own devices, the Romulans begin, bit by bit, to set the stage for the end of the human race in Michael A. Martin’s second and final installment of The Romulan War mini-series. The TrekMovie review below.
REVIEW: Star Trek: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm
by Michael A. Martin
Mass-market Paperback – 352 pages
PocketBooks – October 2011 – $7.99
As death and destruction work their way ever closer to the core of the Coalition of Planets, Captain Jonathan Archer is in the midst of an offensive to make nice to just about anyone he can. All of his actions have an ulterior motive, but try telling that to the crew of the NX-01 Enterprise, who are still miffed about being essentially taken out of the war on account of the Romulan tele-control systems that have wreaked havoc throughout the early days of the war.
As months, and ultimately years pass by, the leadership of Vulcan remains on the sidelines; Administrator T’Pau steadfastly refusing to get involved in the conflict between the Humans and the Romulans. (Well, mostly steadfastly, depending on your point of view.) It certainly isn’t for a lack of trying on the part of many voices, but the only certainty remains Earth’s essential isolation by the interstellar community.
Of course, none of this keeps [SPOILER ALERT] the very much alive Trip Tucker down, as his Romulan persona is drawn into full overdrive as he attempts to investigate what has become of the suspected bomber who destroyed Surak’s katra in the preceding tale, “Beneath the Raptor’s Wing”. In his hunt he comes face to face with Admiral Valdore, the powerful Romulan fleet leader who is desperate to win the war against Earth with a superior, unstoppable new weapon – a starship capable of achieving warp seven.
“To Brave the Storm” packs in coverage of a significant period of time, and, as a result, the novel suffers in every conceivable way. While the ‘voices’ of most of the familiar cast and crew of the Enterprise are fairly spot-on, the story’s huge gaps make its epic scope to be of little effect. Months of events are covered in pithy paragraphs as new chapters begin, and very little depth is presented even in the then-current portions of the story. The climactic battle of the Earth/Romulan War feels, essentially, over before it begins, and there is virtually no suspense, creativity, or even novelty to the story.
What began with a great deal of promise, and as an era of Star Trek history that many fans (especially book fans) would have been ready to devour fell flat as the pacing and intensity that marked “Beneath the Raptor’s Wing” dissolved from page one. In part, this appears to be the result of compressing what was originally intended to be two books into a single volume, but it goes deeper than that. Nothing really compels you to turn the pages. “Meh,” was a word that I found uttering frequently when marking my place after finishing a chapter.
Sadly, “To Brave the Storm” fails to live up to its grandiose name. At best, the story and its execution amounts to braving a mild breeze on a retention pond in a rubber raft… and, unfortunately, that’s being generous.
The story could have been so much more… it needed at least double (for my money, triple) the page-count, and it really needed a champion to shepherd the original, expansive vision of the Romulan War to the forefront. Lacking such an approach, “To Brave the Storm” rolls out as one of the most dissapointing Star Trek novels in quite some time… and given my absolute disdain for Peter David’s “Before Dishonor”, it takes a lot to get me to say that!
"Star Trek: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave The Storm," is available in bookstores now and can be ordered at Amazon.com.
And if you need to catch up, the first book in the series "Star Trek: Enterprise: The Romulan War: Beneath the Raptor’s Wing" is also available at Amazon.
More new and upcoming Star Trek novels
Other recent Star Trek fiction releases include "Star Trek Vanguard: What Judgments Come" by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore (see TrekMovie review) and the ebook"Star Trek: Typhon Pact: The Struggle Within," by Christopher L. Bennett (TrekMovie review coming soon).
And just out this week (look for TrekMovie review soon) is "Star Trek Mirror Universe: Rise Like Lions," by David Mack. And finishing out 2011 will be Greg Cox’s TOS novel "Star Trek: The Rings of Time" which is due at the end of December.