Book Review: Star Trek: That Which Divides

The Library Computer is back with a brand new review of the latest Star Trek novel. This month provides us with a classic Trek adventure in Dayton Ward’s “That Which Divides," which revisits a classic episode (and mysterious race) while throwing in some Romulans and a few TAS character cameos. Find out how it all works out in the TrekMovie review.


by Dayton Ward
Massmarket paperback – 400  pages
PocketBooks – February 2012 – $7.99

The Dolysain people have a unique resource – a planetoid filled with a mineral they need for energy production hanging right over their heads. The trick is, most of the time, the little world is hidden within some kind of rift. In the wake of first contact between the Dolysains and the Federation, a science ship is sent to investigate. But when the USS Huang Zhong arrives to conduct scientific explorations of the rift and the planet, nothing goes as planned. Ultimately, one of the ship’s senior officers, Lieutenant Samuel Boma (yes, that Lieutenant Boma) brings news of the ship’s fate before Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock when the Enterprise arrives on site a few days later.

Of course, the Federation’s interest doesn’t go unnoticed by the Dolysain’s neighbors – the Romulans. They promptly send a scout ship of their own to the system to discover what is going on. A similar reception greets them as greeted the Huang Zhong, but with very different results.

Ultimately, both sides are committed to prevent the other from obtaining whatever is at the heart of the rift, but neither side knows exactly what they are in for… nor do the Dolysians, for whom catastrophe looms if the shipping schedule through the rift is interrupted for any length of time.

Dayton Ward’s new novel (with an assist in story-breaking from Kevin Dilmore) is a serious classic Trek novel in every sense of the word. It is a standalone story, so one can enjoy it apart from a connection to any of the currently-ongoing stories (though there are the occasional head-nods to various series). Upon first reading about the story, I wondered if it might too close to Peter David’s Trek novel titled “The Rift”, but no such issues came to the forefront while reading “That Which Divides”.

As the title most likely spoils, the story helps us to revisit a particular alien race; glimpsed during TOS through a projected avatar of sorts… but this time, we learn some more tantalizing clues about the people known as the Kalandans, and are, of course, left wanting to learn more.

"That Which Divides" includes Boma, revisits the Kalandans from "That Which Survives" and some TAS characters show up too

In true Dayton Ward style, pretty much every last line of dialogue is spot on, and even the visits of Lieutenant’s Arex and M’ress (from The Animated Series) flow seamlessly with the story. Also seamlessly and well-written are the guest aliens – both the Dolysian people and the Romulans. While we have a ship full of loyal Romulans to work with throughout the story, Ward takes pains to balance them between the people we glimpsed on screen in The Original Series and a deeper, more complex crew… a work that, at times, had me giving thought to Diane Duane’s epic Romulan stories from the 80’s and 90’s.

Worthy of particular attention in this story is Mr. Scott, who finds himself mildly deconstructed by Ward… several points in the story give the reader a very clear insight into the heart of the beloved engineer. True, they are mostly things we have already seen or discerned throughout the history of the series, but Ward’s writing really helps the concept to hit home and gives the reader an appreciation for the original Scotty, and for the work of James Doohan in bringing him to the screen.

Worthy of special note is Samuel Boma. Boma has appeared here and there in novels in the past, but “That Which Divides” really does justice to his situation after “The Galileo Seven” and helps to bring his story to a modicum of closure that previous tales involving him have never offered.

Overall, “That Which Divides” is a strong, enjoyable, and deftly written Star Trek adventure, worthy of a place on your bookshelf… and near the top of your reading queue.

"Star Trek: That Which Divides" is available in now and can be ordered at

MORE: new and upcoming Star Trek novels

Other recent Star Trek fiction releases include Michael A. Martin’s "Star Trek: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave The Storm" (see TrekMovie review), Christopher L. Bennett’s eBook "Star Trek: Typhon Pact: The Struggle Within" (TrekMovie review), and "Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Rise Like Lions" by David Mack (TrekMovie review),
and Greg Cox’s "Star Trek: The Original Series: The Rings of Time."

Also due out at the end of March is the final book in the Vanguard series  "Star Trek: Vanguard: Storming Heaven
" by David Mack.


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Aww, man. She’s going to touch me and I’m going to die. Still, more TAS is good!

Wow, somebody needs to tell the cover artist about tangents—when the outer lines of objects bump into each other, in this case the foreground BoP and the Enterprise.

C’mon, overlapping is our friend.

I quite like the cover art. I’ll probably pick this up, Dayton Ward wrote the good Vanguard novels.

Exellent book! Everytime I read a book by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore I feel like I am reading a TOS episode. They capture the feel of the show and of the characters very well. Nice job!

finally some good reading to look forward too….

Great TOS story. Dayton Ward knows his Trek!

Oh wait. No, David Mack wrote the good Vanguard novels.

Any word on how “polluted” it is by references to ENT, TNG, etc? That always spoils a TOS book for me, so hopefully this one is “clean.”

@8: What an utterly silly way of looking at Trek. “Polluted”, give me a break…

Quite looking forward to this novel.

I always liked little Easter eggs in the novels. I’m fine with the standalone novels (along with the relaunches of the other series), but it’s always nice when they make a brief reference to another story (sometimes just a single sentence). Nothing that would require anyone to read that story, just something that an avid novel reader like myself can say “Hey, I remember that book.”

I doubt there would be any TNG references. However, some of the current Star Trek novels have made little references to Archer’s Enterprise. But these references are always brief. Even if you were someone that hated Enterprise, I can’t see why a reference would ruin a book. If there was no “TNG” onward, Star Trek probably would have ended with Star Trek VI.

This novel also includes the first ever, in-universe appearance of the Official Starfleet Titanium Spork from Think Geek.

This book also contains a charector named after April Hebert, an actress previously employed at the late great Star Trek Experience.