Book Review: Star Trek: Voyager – The Eternal Tide

What happens when a fleet commander’s humanity becomes secondary to an entropic force that just cannot be stopped… well, I guess you can say “The Eternal Tide” happens, which works out pretty well, since TrekMovie’s review of the aptly named novel follows the cut.

by Kirsten Beyer
Massmarket Paperback – 400 pages
Pocketbooks – August 2012 – $7.99

While the search for traces of Borg and Caeliar gets underway in earnest, Fleet Commander Afsarah Eden’s connectional traces to something beyond herself wind up, almost literally, exploding in her face… placing the lives of much of her fleet (and, incidentally, perhaps even the fabric of existence) in jeopardy. To be sure, Kristen Beyer has a bold vision for her new Voyager novel, “The Eternal Tide”, which has made this review an extremely difficult one to write.

Beyer’s writing and sense of flow remain impeccable this time out, as does the way her characters seamlessly and dramatically interact with one another. As relationships continue healing, find renewal, or come into existence, Beyer treats each crew member and their situation with tangible respect and love. You can tell that each of these individuals mean something to her, and their place in the unfolding Voyager narrative is close to her heart.

Of particular interest is the continued growth and development of Tom Paris and B’Elanna Torres in the aftermath of the trials and difficulties surrounding Miral and their return to the Voyager fleet. Throughout Beyer’s recent writings, the pair have been a strong ongoing story, but her work with them in “The Eternal Tide” has a tenderness to it that endears the family to the reader in a very special way. However, Tom and B’Elanna are not the focal point of the story; and that’s where the problems begin.

In the acknowledgements of the book, Beyer writes: “I cannot help but fear that some will see this story as a failure of nerve, and others, most unwisely, as a vindication of the narrow constraints they would see put upon all Trek literature. Neither is true. This story, as much as those we have told up to this point, required telling.”

I hate to say it, because “The Eternal Tide” is a well written and engaging book… but I cannot agree with Beyer’s estimation of this story’s necessity. In the spirit of attempting to avoid spoilers (which is hard to do, given the massive changes wrought in the evolution of the novel’s storyline), I’ll sketch in broad strokes my overarching concern. Certainly, many will look at the cover and put two and two together to fill in the missing pieces, but I don’t want to go out of my way to ruin things for those intending to read the story.

This story, in no way, needed to be written.

Star Trek is, has been, and should be about exploring strange, new worlds. Up till now, the current Voyager relaunch has been doing just that. Yes, it has as its background the Borg’s destruction of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, the Caeliar ‘metamorphosis’ of said Borg, and the tough slog the good guys are facing back home as a framework for the story, but what we have been seeing has been interesting and unique. We have seen the daring of exploring a fleet commander whose life is a mystery and whose origins are sketchy at best. The hints dropped in previous stories have sparked significant hope for both personal and professional exploration of Eden’s past… all of which comes to a screeching halt in the pages of “The Eternal Tide”. Eden’s unique background becomes, far from an engaging source of longing in the Voyager tapestry, a total dead end, as she becomes the anthesis of a major power of the universe. While Beyer deftly portrays the struggle within Eden as the novel unfolds, it leaves the reader (well, at least this one) closing out the final page and saying, ‘what a waste’. The majesty, curiosity, and novelty of Afsarah Eden’s buildup is absolutely lost, and as the book closes, there is no way to get it back.

Further, instead of allowing the Voyager fleet and crew to shine forth, the show is stolen by outsiders, further destroying the growing sense of competence, adventure, and boldness which the previous novels have worked so hard to cultivate in the mind of the reader.

Finally, I suppose the elephant in the room (or, the admiral on the cover) has to be addressed. I don’t want to get into specifics about Janeway in this review, but it is obvious that somehow, she interacts with the story. It doesn’t matter what way she does so, or what the setup is… it is an absolute distraction from and detraction to this story. Voyager’s crew has come to terms with her loss on a professional basis, and many are still working through (even if buried) their personal feelings regarding her ignominious end. Bringing her to impact their lives in any way (virtual or other) destroys the progress made over the past several years of novels, and leaves the nastiest of tastes in at least this reviewer’s mouth.

You see, we didn’t much care when the Shore Leave planet took McCoy’s life and gave it back, nor did we get too flustered when Scotty was offed for about five or six minutes before coming back at the hands of Nomad. No, what really and truly set the final bar was Spock’s death and resurrection in the films. Since then, we just can’t let people be gone. As much as I loved Tasha Yar and hated to see her leave TNG, the ongoing Sela storyline cheapened Yar’s impact on the lives of the Next Generation crew. Her absence from Trek wasn’t noticed by casual Trekkies in the same way Spock’s was. Neither was Jadzia Dax’s… and yet we didn’t really loose her, because we scooped her worm out and put it into Ezri. Now, Data is gone, but isn’t, because B4 is still around… and finally, after mustering the cahones to off Janeway, we can’t simply leave her as levelled atomic dust. She must be invoked, she must be integrated into a story in some capacity – if for no other reason than to mollify the legions of fans who think that her death was a waste.

I do not know if Janeway’s inclusion in “The Eternal Tide” was a concept of Kirsten Beyer, of the editors, or a directive from CBS, but it is an epic fail that leaves me feel cheated and slighted for the investment I have made in a Voyager where Janeway’s death has helped to make people who they are today.

While the book is very well written, and has very engaging personal moments, I cannot in any way embrace it as a bold or positive step forward for Star Trek literature, or the Voyager storyline in particular. It truly is the story that should never have been written… and that is, regretfully, where I must stand.

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Thrilled that the books are continuing. Now, if we could just get a TV series…!

Disagree. I think the inclusion of Janeway in this story was appropriately timed and did nothing to detract from the great story. I’ve enjoyed the stories without janeway and appreciated the care with how the other characters have grown in her absence. In truth I feel there is now a better balance. Janeway (and probably Seven to some extent) consumed so much time in the tv series and early books to the detriment of the other characters. Her involvement in this book is as part of an ensemble of richly drawn characters. The reset button hasn’t been pushed, it will interesting to see how the characters continue to grow. And it’s star trek. Where we are only limited by our imagination. I get enough death in the real world. Star trek is my escape from the cynicism of the world we live in.

I tend to agree with Sweeny. The stories that have been told without Janeway over the last few years have deepened the characters we know in ways that never would have happened with her. Now, we will likely see Janeway as the outsider, as the person who is the non-sequitor, and she will struggle to fit into a crew that should be hers.

Harry Kim is no longer the whiny ensign with no backbone. He is now the Chief of Security with a budding romance that actually works this time.

Seven of Nine has matured into a brilliant young woman, also with a romance, no longer fragile.

Chakotay got over his Admiral’s death and regained his command in a strong, fitting manner.

The family Paris now has a second baby on the way.

The Doctor’s still a lovable jerk who pals around with Reg.

Overall, it was a good book, and it brought Janeway back in a way that was at least hinted at by Before Dishonor.

Now, was this book flawless? Far from it. Given that Children of the Storm has a lengthy bit on Quirinal only for it to go boom in this one is a bit insulting. And offing Eden was a disgrace. Whether or not that was Beyer’s idea or some editor, I’m pleased to never know.

Oh, and we’ll likely see Data come back into the fold later this year with Cold Equations, and Picard leaving the Enterprise. Also, the only Star Trek character that we have seen die and to remain dead is Kirk (the ENT crew not withstanding since they would be 200+ by this book). Nearly every single character in Trek has died, and NONE of them has remained so. Resurrection is about as commonplace as time travel.
The real world kinda sucks some days, if I can have my kind-of happy and hopeful Star Trek world, fine. It gives me something to look forward to. Just ended a sentence on a preposition. Ew.

I couldn’t disagree with the reviewer more. I’ve read all of Beyer’s Voyager novels (as well as most of the previous ones), and “The Eternal Tide” is head and shouders above them all. It was utterly fantastic, as was the resolution of Eden’s storyline. Janeway’s return in no way undoes the progress or develoment the other characters have made since her death.

If you read Before Dishonor, you had to know that Janeway was far from done in the Star Trek novel universe. While this particular story may not have been in mind at the time, if the reviewer here is disappointed, all I can figure is either he didn’t read the earlier book or he was fooling himself.

I enjoyed The Eternal Tide myself, and I’ll be interested to see how Voyager and the Project: Full Circle fleet, if not other Starfleet crews, move on from here.

#3 the fact that Ressurection is commonplace doesnt make it a good idea .

Janeway should have never been killed off in the books, and this just corrects that mistake. The tie in to all the other books is great.. and this one sets the stage for true Voyager tales to return to print.

Yeah I disagree as well. I loved Janeway’s return, and I seriously hope they finally bring Data back.


Oh I know. Nor is time travel. I hate time travel with a fiery passion. But we’re stuck with it as a plot device.

Albeit, the DTI books are quite good.

I agree with the reviewer. I thought many of the same things as I was reading “The Eternal Tide”.

Finally, FINALLY, Star Trek was dealing with moving on, change, difference, absence, etc. The stories were good, the growth was tangible and I genuinely cared about the Voyager and her crew.

Death is a part of life. Death is something with which we all will deal with at one point or another. There is no out from that. However, the results of “The Eternal Tide” cheapen that to a triviality. It actually seemed like a big “Never Mind!”.

I have a lot of faith in Kirsten Beyer’s ability to weave a good story and to handle characters appropriately and to generally make me care (something which I could not say with any honesty before she took over the Voyager story). However, I am genuinely afraid that future Voyager stories will begin to focus solely on the one character that shouldn’t be there anymore, to the exclusion of the other characters I have come to care for. That may not be Beyer’s intention and, indeed, she may not have much of a say if given other editorial direction.

The story, the suffering, the growth and everything else that has come with it has been cheapened by the outcome of “The Eternal Tide”.

Agree on the general point, though I disagree about 2 people you included as examples – Yar and Dax. Sela didn’t cheapen Yar in any way. Yar wasn’t brought back, she stayed dead. While Sela was her daughter, she was an entirely different character.

As for Dax, Ezri and Jadzia were no more alike than Jadzia and Kurzon. Rebirth is a built-in feature with Trills, so it’s not like that was a cheap, out-of-nowhere rug-pull. Jadzia wasn’t brought back, she remained dead. This was made even more plain in the relationship between Worf and Ezri.

Other than that, yes, I agree we have a tendency to bring characters back from the dead far too often. Though #3 has a point – this *is* fiction, after all.

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ trailer will be in theaters this holiday movie season.

I agree with just about everything that Robert says in his review. Having said that though, I’m glad Janeway is back.

I do think Eden’s departure was a massive waste of a great character though. It’s not like this is a tv series, where they can’t afford to pay two lead actors. We didn’t need to trade one for the other. Eden’s journey…not only her personal journey…but the way she was growing with this crew, were some of the main highlights of this relaunch.

I agree with the comment above about the Quirinal’s crew. I had a lot invested in them as a reader after Children of the Storm. I feel I’ve been robbed of all these great characters too quickly.

When is “this holiday movie season” in the US?



Soooo.. Janeway is dead? What purpose
was that supposed serve? Of course, I’m
still working on Kirk’s death (both from
Generations; and then his reincarnation
in The Return series) – no wonder I can’t
get into the novels…

And I was wondering how long it would be before people moved from the book straight back when new info on the movie is about..

I haven’t read the book yet so I don’t know if I will like the way Janeway was brought back or not but I would like to say that I don’t mind resurrection in Star Trek at all if it’s well done and serves a purpose. After all Star Trek is a sciense fiction series and it’s the role of sciense fiction to deal with “unrealistic” matters. In a universe full with god like beings, parallel universe and time travel the least I would expect is realism. What I really want from trek lit is to deliver some good stories with our favorites characters. And I would really like to see Data and Jadzia back in the novels, perhaps in stories that take place during the show’s run.

Rose ,
I think it is between Thanksgiving and New Years.

“and yet we didn’t really loose her”


Talk about an epic FAIL!

Why is it so hard now to spell this word without adding another “o”. Loose is the opposite of tight. A *completely* different word. Is our school system that far gone that nobody in the 2010s can spell this word anymore?

Characters coming back from the dead aside — which I think we can all agree is a vastly overused trope in popular science fiction — I grow increasingly weary of existential threats to the Galaxy/Universe/Multiverse/What Have You. I realize this is just an extension of the principle that the characters’ lives and/or the ship will be in jeopardy week after week (which often got fatiguing as well, of course). But when it’s constantly, “civilization and/or existence as we know it is about to end!!” … I find myself just detaching from the drama. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve been completely turned off by all of these VERY IMPORTANT STORIES stretched out over seemingly endless volumes that have eaten up the majority of Trek lit over the last decade or so. I have the same problem with Star Wars, actually. Once in a while a stand-alone novel comes along that I enjoy, but for the most part I’ve checked out. These types of books are apparently selling, so perhaps I’ve just reached my own personal saturation point.

I love this book! I thought is was brilliant all the way. My review is up here

End of November through New Years…

Characters coming back from the dead (taking how they died into consideration and how long they’ve been dead of course) is pretty lame, in my humble opinion.

Spock should have either stayed dead, or never been killed, although I was willing to look past it given how well integrated the stories were in that trilogy of movies. The one thing I could not forgive however was the complete reset button of returning the crew to the Enterprise. I had been reading the comics prior to Trek 4 and was following the adventures of Kirk in command of Excelsior. What I had hoped to see at the end of Trek 4 was Kirk and crew flying toward the Excelsior only to have it revealed that the Excelsior had been re-branded Enterprise 1701-A. I felt the lines “a ship is a ship” and then ” my friends, we’ve come home” would have carried a lot more weight in that scenario. Home was with those people, not the ship they were on. I dunno, a lot of fans would have cried murder but this fan would have appreciated them taking the risk.

I agree with this review more. This is just another of a long line of silly things that pocket books have done to the prime universe. Andor, DS9 ( not what happened just the way it did), sisco, Picard and Beverly having a child, I could go on


Let me throw your arguments into the wind one by one, given that Star Trek actually has, dare I say it, a PLOT now:

ANDOR: So we see the culmination of many of the DS9 books finally give way to a people who are feeling left out and frustrated. A bit of upheaval in the Trek universe may well be good for it rather than the reset button.

DS9: Typhon Pact spies blowing up an important station? Yeah, seems plausible. Besides, it was an old station. It makes sense to replace it with actual Federation technology rather than commandeered Cardassian tech.

SISKO*** (get the spelling right if you’re going to complain): This one I will kind of agree with you on, at least with Rough Beasts. The story did get carried through essentially 5 years over the course of two books and could have been handled better, but I really think that we saw a great deal of development in his family.

RENE PICARD: Really? How is this not possible? Also, it fits perfectly with him retiring to become an ambassador, a move that will surely be mentioned very soon.

JANEWAY: As I stated in my previous comments, it’s not the best idea, but… meh. I would have left her dead for another 3 or 4 years, let the crew grow more together, and THEN brought her back. Because in the actual Trek timeline, she’s only been gone for… what was it? 14 months? Not exactly a long time. And ridding the series of Eden was just a gross mistake, I will admit that.

This is where a strict belief in Canon helps me out .
The only Jaaneway who died at the end of Voyager was the one from the alternate timeline .
The book adventures did not happen .
That includes all of the recent and future changes in TNG as well .

Despite what anyone else says- the book is terrific
Just finished it– and depressed that it had to end.
I’d been getting a little antsy about Trek books lately– their quality has been spotty- at best. But this book put my fears to rest. Non stop action, terrific character development and game changing events make this a must read for every Voyager fan. Buy it asap– you won’t be able to put it down.


Let me throw them right back

Rene – Dr. Crusher was born in 2324 and Rene was born in 2381 that makes her 57 when he was born. Women must not go through menopause in the 24th century even if they don’t most people think about retirement rather then “can’t wait to raise that teenager when I’m in my 70’s” hell Picard was already 76 when he was born but ya they got together they deserve a baby.

Andor – The whole secession was based around the Shedai metagenome. Even if you were to forget how a tholian ship made it to a federation core world during a time when both governments are in a middle of a cold war with one another, andorians were involved in operation Vanguard there was an andorian SI officer who knew all about the metagenome and the federation council who has andorian members made the genome so classified that everyone forgot about it. Andorians were just too involved in every level of the federation to make it believable. Andorian rebels who took over the government would be far more believable.

DS9 – I can’t go into this too much without spoiling it for someone who hasn’t read it. As I said i have no problem with it being blown up just the way the station was having so much trouble handling a handful of Typhon Pact ships when the station stared fleets of ships. It really had a enterprise-D being blown up by a 20 year old bird of prey feel to it. for those who haven’t read it, its not the whole story please read it overall it a great book.

I’m sorry if the misspelling of SISKO offended so much, I was typing on my phone while on a train so these things happen

If you disagree with me on any of these points thats fine. There is no need to snide about it remember one person’s PLOT is another person’s PLOT-HOLE

Your review of “The Eternal Tide” precipitated me to move from reader of this site for many years to poster. I had looked forward to the novel with greater enthusiasm than any Trek offering this year. And since I had assumed there was no possibility of Janeway being brought back to life (for so many reasons), seeing her face on the cover did not alarm me as to its portent. I figured the crew of Voyager would face both new elements of their grief (wouldn’t returning to the Delta Quadrant evoke painful memories?) and the consequences of choices Janeway had made during the ship’s seven years in the DQ, and I believed the latter would unexpectedly and dramatically aggravate the former. I envisioned crises brought on by choices Janeway had made that would test the characters and their relationship with their dead comrade: grief made more complex when lives were in danger and threatened with death due to prior actions by a loved friend who made some of those choices to protect some of those very same people.

But the story was not thus.

So it is with grim sadness that I agree wholeheartedly with everything you write about Afsarah Eden and her demise. And when you write–“Bringing her [Janeway] to impact their lives in any way (virtual or other) destroys the progress made over the past several years of novels”–you succinctly identified the source of my sense of loss when finishing the novel: my interest and joy in this unexpectedly wonderful series had cratered by the time I finished it.

“But it is an epic fail that leaves me feel[ing] cheated and slighted for the investment I have made in a Voyager where Janeway’s death has helped to make people who they are today.” True. I never really liked Kathryn Janeway as a character, yet I was shocked when she was killed. And I grew to care about the characters, even Janeway herself–something the series never managed to engender–through Beyer’s rendering of the impact her death had on each of them individually and on the group collectively. I felt the dreaded re-set button had been resurrected and pressed again, something I never imagined to experience again during my foray through Beyer’s post-finale books, and though I will consider buying the next installment, I will not automatically pick it up for purchase, and this is a sentiment that, as a reader, leaves me with a particular grief.

yes, a very particular grief.

Beyer’s Voyager books have been good thus far. I have yet to read The Eternal Tide and hope to do so in the next month or so. I figured based on the way Janeway “died” the door was very much left opened for her return at some point, so this does not surprise me (I’m actually surprised it was not done sooner).

Even if this book turns out to be disappointing to me, Beyer has written enough good Voyager books that I will still look forward to her next Voyager outing. I figure the good outweigh any bad and I’d give her a pass if this wasn’t as good.

It looks like we’ll have 3 more Next Generation books this year, then next year will be original series heavy (likely due to the release of the next film). But it does look like there will be a new DS9 book next year.


Okay, you got me on the Sisko spelling. I was a jackass on that one.

Continuing on, though:

RENE: People live far longer in Star Trek than they do now. Keep in mind, McCoy was helping out with the relief efforts after the Borg invasion. He has to be around 140 by then. Furthermore, it’s 370 years in the future. They would likely have many pregnancy-aids by then. Also, the Baku planet helped in giving them all a few years back.

ANDOR: I can agree with a fair portion of that, though I will still say that politics can change drastically over the course of a century. That is a plot hole. A very legitimate one, at that. I would like to see this played on more during the Lost Era books if they ever get around to it.

DS9: The station was not destroyed by TP ships, it was destroyed by a bomb in the reactor. It held off the ships just fine. As I recall, all Pact ships in the area were destroyed by either the station, the Defiant, or the Rio Grande. However, it could not deal with an internal explosion quite as easily.

Actually…..Kirk was brought back, and should have stayed that way in novel “cannon” in “Shatners” series of books. My prefered novels of choice. Good reads.

What a terrible review. You easily and obviously showed your disdain and dislike for Kathryn Janeway.

Characters come back in Star Trek because they are beloved, and people care about them.

This book was extremely enjoyable, just like all the Voyager novels since Full Circle.

5 out of 5 stars.

How many stars would you have given the book If Janeway didnt come back ?

Thanks for all the spoilers guys!

The author of the review went out of his way not to spoil the book, and the replies rather than respecting that… spoiled the book for those of us who haven’t yet read it.

Thanks… lots!

37–One lesson I learned from these boards is never read the comments if you don’t like spoilers.

34–I liked the first 2 or 3 Shatnerverse novels, but then they seemed to go downhill. It seemed like Shatner was portraying Kirk as a victim a little too much and Starfleet as a bumbling organization that was always out to screw him. It was starting to get old.

# 38: Can’t argue with that. He did make Captain Kirk out to be someone who was trying to ditch his past life yet starfleet the greedy wouldn’t let him.

I think alot of that may have had to do with Shatner. While we all know he didn’t really write the novels, he did provide the ideas behind the books and even some of the themes, and I’m willing to bet that portion of the novels was something Shatner wanted in, maybe as a way of venting frustration either at the studio or the Trek producers…and Kirk’s severe hesitation at recognizing admiration a way of showing how he feels with the fans. Who knows….

39–Agree with you there. Shatner’s ego is well documented and I think that reflected in his portrayal of Kirk in the 24th century. The trilogies he wrote were interesting stories. The whole Kirk as victim thing just got a little tiring, like the whole universe was out to prevent him from having a happy retirement with his wife and son. It even carried a bit over to his Academy novel, where he was basically duped into joining Starfleet.

I could have gone without the “starfleet is the enemy” stuff, mainly because the stories were so damn good. I loved the trilogy format. Even managed to get my 1st edition hardcover copy signed by Shatner. Kirk was just not portrayed the way Kirk would have been. He had way too much conflict with Spock, McCoy and Picard.

Actually, Starfleet reminded me more of the DS9 version of Starfleet, or section 31.

* Copy of The Return, that is.

We all know by now that death is temporary in Star Trek.

I am still curious though ,
To those who read it and liked it ,
would you still like the book as much if Janeway had NOT returned?

41–It’s a shame it looks like the Academy series is done before it started. It would have been nice to see Shatner writing Kirk’s experiences in the Academy, but last thing I read, no new contracts were signed and Trial Run will not happen now.

I do agree, though, that it was not just Starfleet that was against him, but the way his friends seemed to turn on him just didn’t jive. Spock, McCoy and Scotty would go to the ends of the universe for Kirk (McCoy would have complained, but been right there with him).

I’ve read the Shatnerverse novels as their own reality (kind of like the whole Abramsverse thing). I know the current relaunches have gone their own direction, which I also have liked. Early on, it seemed Shatner and his co-authors tried to incorporate what was going on in other stories (a reference was made to the Dominion War novels), but they seemed to abandon the attempt early on. That was fine, though. It would have been to hard to reconcile them (esp. Kirks resurrection).

I agree with pretty much everything the reviewer has to say. When I ran across the “I cannot help but fear that some will see this story as a failure of nerve,” quote in the book, I said, “That’s me!” I’ve never been a very big Janeway fan, though. Probably someone who is would be more accepting of her having a role big enough to dominate the cover. To get more specific would be more spoilery than I want to be.

I would still like to know if anybody who liked this novel
would feel the same way if Janeway had no role in this book whatsoever.
If the name “Kathryn Janeway” was not mentioned,
Would you still by it and if so why ?

Huge news, Enterprise is coming to blu ray next year:

So stoked!

Anyone else notice that Anthony and get a shout-out in the new ST:TNG 365 book? They’re cited in the pages about the episode “Parallels”.

Gary S. in reply to #36:

I still thought it was an excellent novel with or without Janeway. Janeway was obviously used as a stepping stone for the future Voyager novels.

I’m excited for the next Voyager book!