Book Review: Star Trek Typhon Pact: Brinkmanship

Bickering leaders, an increasingly militarized border, back-room machinations… no, we’re not talking about anything in domestic or world politics here at TrekMovie, we’re talking about Una McCormack’s new novel, “Brinkmanship”. The TrekMovie review follows the cut.


by Una McCormack
Massmarket Paperback – 334 pages
Pocketbooks – September 2012 – $7.99

Oh boy… the Typhon Pact is at it again as Una McCormack moves the Typhon Pact storyline ahead with her new novel “Brinkmanship”. The story, centering around the supposed-militarization of bases on the borders that the Tzenkethi-leaning Venette Convention shares with various Khitomer Accord powers, begins mired in tension, and keeps that underlying sense alive and well until the final chapter.

As a Federation, Ferengi, and Cardassian contingent visit the Venette Convention to discuss the Tzenkethi use of Venette supply bases, one significant misstep after another leads the straightforward, direct Venette leadership ever deeper into the Tzenkethi fold. The Venette, already snubbed by the Federation in the wake of the Borg invasion, are easy targets for the Tzenkethi, who make a great show of being open and forthright with their newfound friends.

But, as in all things diplomatic, forthrightness rarely produces results. Espionage and covert operations have their place too, and McCormack skillfully weaves such cloak and dagger games into the diplomatic narrative of the storyline. The result is an amazingly engaging story, filled with plenty of dramatic tension, where one is totally unsure of how the situation will be resolved, right up to the very end.

While the story is driven by an ensemble cast, three particular individuals stand out as meriting express comment. First, McCormack’s treatment of a Neta Efhney throughout the book is superb, richly engaging, and filled with unexpected twists – even though a hint of the book’s conclusion is found in the opening pages of her narrative. She is easy to empathize with, a character you want to see protected, developed, and nurtured throughout. The author does an outstanding job with this as she sends Efhney through her work – both regular and irregular – and through her relationships with others on the Tzenkethi homeworld. In many ways, her story is the most solidly engaging storyline in the book… but it is not the best.

Ezri Dax, too, gets some extensive face time and significant development as she interacts with former classmate Peter Alden, a Starfleet Intelligence operative who knows an awful lot about the Tzenkethi. It is clear that Alden has issues, however, and Ezri struggles with her friendship, her counseling background, and her duty to the Federation throughout in her interactions with Alden. Ultimately, Dax’s conflicts in working with the intelligence operative provide an amazing growth and development opportunity for her character, one that is most welcome. And yet, there is a greater, more significant, and much more satisfying story to be found in “Brinkmanship”… that of Dr. Beverly Crusher.

Crusher, who – on thin justification – is sent into the diplomatic fracas in place of the ship’s contact specialist, truly shines forth as the bright light of McCormack’s pen. With a gentle style, she interacts with diplomats, admirals, and functionaries in ways that seem perfectly natural… no, that are perfectly natural for her! And yet, the whole time, something is brewing with her; something hard to identify, something beyond herself. McCormack brings Crusher into the focus during the most pivotal moments of the story with great success, and, in the process, plants the seeds for the further development, not simply of her marriage or family life, but of the sense of direction her life should, perhaps, take.

Little clues abound in the pages of “Brinkmanship”, as they have in the past several novels set aboard the Enterprise, about potential changes afoot aboard the iconic starship. Crusher’s experience is sure to factor into those clues and, who knows, David Mack’s upcoming Cold Equations trilogy may well begin to explore some of those issues in a much more straightforward manner. Needless to say, I think you can be assured that the current state of Trek literature remains ‘in flux’, though in a mostly positive way.

“Brinkmanship” was an outstanding story, and McCormack’s at-times poetic delivery, combined with the deep love she obviously has for the subjects of her plotting make for a most satisfying and engaging read. A perfect story, from cover to cover.

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Looks awesome

Another book review? And no coverage of Destination Star Trek London which was at the weekend?

Where the World Record for the most amount of Star Trek costumed fans was broken. Is this not news? Why hasn’t covered this?

I remember when this used to be a good website, updated frequently with Star Trek and Sci Fi news, now it’s just hawking some guy’s kickstarter project and a hole to suck people in for advertising page hits

I am a grumpy smegger.

And.. where all 5 captains attended!

That said.. I enjoyed Destination Startrek London.. But was I the only one who found it a rip off!!

And no… you arent a grumpy smegger.

Don’t know who posted comment #4 – But it wasn’t me.

Why do people have to flame others? Hopefully the innappropriate comment will be removed.

I also found DSTL a bit of a rip off too. £95 for the Opening Ceremony which lasted just over an hour. I was smarting a bit after that one!

A Second Story!



Thanks Ryan, great review! Folks, stop bashing what articles we do get, at least there’s someone posting something lol

#2 – “Where the World Record for the most amount of Star Trek costumed fans was broken. Is this not news? Why hasn’t covered this?”

No, that’s not news. It’s embarrassing and pathetic (at least to THIS Trekkie). The Destination event is news; the pointless costume gathering is not.

And when Trekmovie isn’t even covering the MOVIE, why would you expect them to cover anything else? This site has gone to seed, and the commenters have turned feral.

The Iron Man 3 trailer came out today. It opens two weeks prior to Star Trek Into Darkness. We need to have a trailer for Star Trek soon. Within two weeks. This is gettng ridiculous.

11. SciFiJunky

Relax. We already know when a trailer is coming out. Bob Orci told us that there would be a trailer during the Christmas season movies. The Hobbit in December would be the perfect place for the Trek movie trailer.

#12 – It was a more general comment as to why the event hasn’t been covered seeing as though all 5 TV Captains had attended!

To also say that something like that or the World Record attempt is pathetic and embarrassing is frankly insulting to true Star Trek fans.

I’m sure if the event or a similar attempt was in San Diego, LA or New York then we would have seen several articles about it on here!

Sorry this was directed toward comment #10

“I’m sure if the event or a similar attempt was in San Diego, LA or New York then we would have seen several articles about it on here!”

I’m not sure about that — this isn’t a general Trek news site anymore.

Good to see another article posted so soon after the last one.

In before people find something to complain about..

Oh wait, too late

Thanks for the review Robert!


I too attended. I and my fiancée left home on Wednesday and came back on the Sunday night. London is expensive full stop.

I refused to pay £95 for a opening ceremony ticket as well as £75 for me to have a pic on the Bridge with The Shat.

In total we probably ended up paying over £700 for everything. (train, hotel, travel, food, merchandise, pics & autographs). Yes it was enjoyable but hopefully next time (!) do it at the Birmingham NEC please.

17. Remington Steele

No matter what articles are posted here, no matter how much Trek news is in them, no matter if the site posts every day… people will find something to complain about. They either find there is not enough movie news or they don’t like the title or they are worried the movie will fail or they feel that JJ is going to beat this movie into the ground and stamp on it or they can’t read everything about the movie and see all the images and know the plot before the movie comes out.

I guess that is a fact of life here on Trekmovie and that people complain just to complain. :)

@#5 – If Chris Pine wasn’t there then it wasn’t complete.

There are SIX Captains!

21. Simon

5 TV Captains… 3 movie Captains.

They had all 5 TV Captains there. It was complete. ;)

Kirk/Pine is the alternative timeline. He is another Kirk.

But I remember an interview of him and Zach during premiere of ST2009, where they said they had no intention of being in future conventions.

I am in the latter half of the book and I too find it a good read so far. I wasn’t sure about this book when it was first announced (being sort of a standalone Typhon Pact book) but it is interesting. I agree that the development of the characters is particularly good and the interactions of the Ferengi, Cardassians and Federation. It’s good to see a stronger Ezri too (she seemed a bit whiny in DS9, though there was some marginal improvement as season 7 went on). That’s not too suprising, though, since everyone grows in life.

I’m looking forward to the next 3 TNG books, then that looks like it’s it for the forseeable future as there are a number of TOS books on the horizon (likely because of the new film), though TOS books are always welcome.

I only wished Pocketbooks spaced the books out differently. Maybe a Voyager book, Titan book, Typhon Pact (or TNG & DS9) book mixed in with a TOS book about every other month and maybe one or two books on one of the spin-offs that take place during the series’ run. I also wouldn’t mind an Enterprise book now and again, though it seems Pocketbooks closed the book (pardon the pun) on Enterprise.

Which does leave me to my oft repeated request for something like a Tales of the Romulan War book (like the Dominion War version) to fill in some of the missing gaps from the formal novels.

@13 I reckon I’m not a “true Star Trek fan” even tho’ I watched and enjoyed the ORIGINAL runs of the show.


Oh ill add this each time a new article comes before invariably, and depressingly, people cry foul over nothing…

27. Remington Steele

I’m still waiting for the first comment on an article to be a complaint! LoL. But this one was close with the second comment being a complaint!

I feel bad for the contributors that work hard on their article or review and then they get bombarded with complaints. That being said……………… Thanks Robert Lyons for the review… I may have to pick up this book!

I just watch the world premiere of Skyfall in London live online … Please I want the premiere of “STID” like that! … boborci??… :-) ;-)

29. Dee – lvs moon’ surface

You saw the Skyfall premiere ONLINE? I wouldn’t want that, I want to see a movie on the big screen with full surround sound. I’ve tried to watch movies on my computer and I find the screen too small. But hey, to each their own! Good on ya!

#29 – Do you know if Benedict Cumberbatch attended the premier as one of his fans thought he might?

I thought a premier was a place where people could meet some of the actors, producers, writers and others, where people associated with making the films get interviewed, a place for photo opportunities, etc. Premiers are not just where people (many of them especially invited like film critics) get to see a fully completed movie for the first time.

BTW, I wasn’t complaining about the lack of daily Trek news here — but I didn’t think the site deliberately left out London (conventions there have been covered here in previous years, no?). It’s just not covering everything anymore.

And I agree with posters who aren’t thrilled that new articles are getting filled with comments complaining that the the article they’re commenting on shouldn’t be here, but instead there should be stories on _________.

Truth is, this isn’t site isn’t doing constant Trek news roundups anymore. There are other sites that do. And no matter what stories are here, we’ll just fill them with complaints…


I’m talking about the red carpet premiere… you know all the guys there… Daniel Craig, Javier Barden, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes…. SonyPicsUK live on youtube

replay here:

#31 Keachick…

I didn’t see Benedict Cumberbatch or Chris Pine… unfortunately just Prince Charles… with all my respect for the Prince… LOL

Well, it’s 007…

;-) :-)

Fair enough, Dee. After all, 007 did manage to bring the Queen (Prince Charles’ mummy) safely into the Olympics Stadium via parachutes. I should think, at the very least, the Prince should be there to shake 007’s hand…:)

33. Dee – lvs moon’ surface

I stand corrected! Makes more sense now. Thanks for the clarification!

36. Trekbooksstink

Speak for yourself… there are some great Trek books. If you haven’t read them all, you shouldn’t generalize.

Here’s a high quality image of the new Star Trek movie count down. Doesn’t look like Gary Mitchell anymore …


Anybody mention that swedish couple having a Klingon wedding?

Seems fun and nerdy and all that, but jeeze, I guess the Swedes didn’t get the message about the inappropriateness of blackface!

Just bought the book today- before reading your review. Now- really looking forward to it. (Thanks for not including spoilers) The Typhon books (and Trek novels in general) have been wildly inconsistent recently. Hoping this new author will turn things around.

Anyone see Apple released the iPad mini today and it looks like TNG’s Padd.

Hey, I go away for a week and someone is using my nickname! That wasn’t me posting any of this today!! WTF!

Where the heck are the moderators? I really wish that there would still be moderators checking things even when Anthony is not here. This site is starting to really p*ss me off.

Paul I guess Anthony was the full time moderator? Now we can’t even tell if we have a fake Bob Orci in here.

Looks like Stunkill is up to his old tricks again, and Anthony is nowhere to be found, as usual.

Any news on the new Star Trek movie? When will we see a trailer? Is there a count down clock (haven’t seen one yet…) Why is information on the new movie so hard to come by??????

So anywho …

That link to to a high rez image of the prequel comic book that I posted back in #39 seems to dispel a couple of items…

First, the main figure is Kirk, not Mitchell.

Secondly, what looked like the Doomsday Machine in earlier images was simply … lens flare.


There’s a timer on this site:

205 : 02 : 34 : 56
Day Hr Min Sec

Correct me if I’ve missed anything on the list coming up:

We’ve got the title, the release date, the main cast, a list of crew, the composer and cinrmatographer (same as last time), a few spy shots from during filming this past spring, plenty of media speculation as to who Cumberbatch is playing, the ongoing comic, an upcoming game, announcements of the novelization and prequel comic, oh, and three frames… and fairly constant, carefully unrevealing chatter from Bob on here (and there’s been more of it lately).

We don’t have, impossibly and thankfully, so far: script leaks, plot leaks, major spoilers.

Also, no teaser, synopsis, or list of our character names. I’m hoping these don’t come out at all — well, a teaser would be fine…

Also, no merchandise or product /toy designs yet. Which could be spoilers.

No stills or clips longer than three frames.

We also don’t have a trailer yet. If we get it by around Christmas, we’ll still have five months to go until the thing’s in the theatre.

Actually, is there a possibility that we.’ll just get a teaser by Christmas/January with the trailer coming a couple of months before release (like it did with Skyfall)?

Even 5 months before would still mean a long time to have a lot of footage — as one would see on a long trailer — out there.

And now I should read this book…

Trek is doing a much better job anymore