Book Review: Star Trek: Seekers 1: Second Nature


The Vanguard Star Trek novel series may be history, but author David Mack is making some new history in the Taurus Reach with “Second Nature”, the first book in the "Star Trek: Seekers" series. The TrekMovie review follows the jump.

Author: David Mack
Pocket Books Paperback and E-Book
Retail: $7.99

Things have settled down in the nearly six months since the Vanguard station was destroyed, and the Taurus Reach has settled back into a state that is typical of the late 23rd century… which places Federation starships such as the Endeavour and Sagittarius into that peculiar mode of exploring with one eye trained firmly astern. That’s probably a good thing, because in “Second Nature”, Captain Clark Terrell’s general neighborhood has some heavy equipment prowling around, all because of some quaint natives who never make it to adulthood.

As “Second Nature” opens, we meet Nimur, a new mother full of love for her child, her mate, and life… which means she has no small measure of disdain for the Cleansing that her people endure as they approach adulthood. In short order, her time comes… but as luck, fate, or coincidence would have it, her change comes while both Federation and Klingon parties are investigating her home planet.

Starfleet’s scout ship, the Sagittarius, under Terrell’s command has come to Nimur’s planet to investigate odd energy readings. The Klingons, well, they are there for Nimur. Oh, not her specifically, but her profile is exactly what they are seeking. When she resists her fate at the hands of the priestess and her wardens, the Klingons are only too happy to come to her aid. While their aid carries a high price, Nimur’s rapid evolution threatens to rock the foundations of an entire world, and forment conflict between Federation and Klingon forces in the Taurus Reach.

While Seekers is a new series, it has deep links to the Vanguard series which preceded it. “Second Nature” serves as a great introduction (or reintroduction) to the Sagittarius, a small scout ship operating in the Taurus Reach. Early on, Mack gives strong introductions for the crew, helping to really open up how a small scout crew operates on the edge of explored space. Personal interactions are very different than we see on major ships, the command structure is formal but carried in a looser fashion, and the creativity necessary to make things work on such a vessel comes from every quarter. We glimpse a bit of the Endeavour in this story, but in large part their reintroduction will come in the second novel of the series.

As always, Mack flexes some pretty hefty action muscle in “Second Nature”. Vivid portrayals of Nimur’s transformation and its effects on the Tomol (her race), as well as on the Federation and Klingon visitors populate the pages of this first Seekers story. He also skillfully crafts Arethusa, the home of the Tomol people, creating a feast for the mind in envisioning the unfolding story, particularly as it relates to the experiences of the Sagittarius’ landing party, under the command of First Officer Thierault.

One thing I definitely appreciated about “Second Nature” was the conclusion. It’s a cliffhanger, but its one I didn’t really see coming. Early on you begin to get lulled into something of a sense of ‘haven’t we seen this kind of story play out before?’, but the arc of Nimur’s character never quite meets what you expect from previous Star Trek outings. Instead, Mack subtly alters her trajectory from time to time, and leaves you with an unexpected conclusion that leaves the reader hungry for more. It’s a good thing that Seekers 2 is out now… because the hunger needs feeding. In fact, I think I’ll sink right in to “Points of Divergence” today.

If you’re looking for some exciting and thought provoking fun in the Star Trek universe, David Mack has more than delivered in “Second Nature,"

Two Seekers Available Now

Star Trek: Seekers 1: Second Nature is available now at Amazon, also just releases is the second book in the series, "Seekers 2: Point of Divergence" by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore (look for review of that second novel at TrekMovie soon).

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I love how they have made the covers look like the old Star Trek short story collections from the 70’s :)

Gunsight1: It isn’t only me, then!

Dave Mack should be write the plot of the next star trek film..he is a very good writer and he nows what ST Is…this new saga is worthy of Vanguard series…

There’s an article here on the cover art. It’s a great story.

2. Nachum
“Gunsight1: It isn’t only me, then!

No, and not just you two. I immediately thought of that old series. NEW VOYAGES wasn’t it? I may have one or two of them around….somewhere.

3. oscar

No offense to Orci and Co, because I’ve liked the new movies. But I do agree with exploring the possibility of having a professional Trek novelist get a crack at the new movie. At least, write just the story, and let the regulars handle the script. I’d love to see what a professional novelist would come up with.

By the way, I haven’t really checked out this Vanguard stuff, but I think I might have to. Clark Terell? I love when writers flesh out little used characters. It’s my hope to see some of those characters pop up in the new movies as well.

The Vanguard Series, and now the Seekers series… and probably the best ST Original Series timeline books ever written… they bring a perspective to Starfleet that we really haven’t had.. and they are a joy to read!!!

7. JJ’s Secret

I whole heartedly agree that the Vanguard Series and now Seekers are some of the best TOS books ever written. Also, 6 LogicalLeopard, I concur that the professional Trek novelists should get a chance to expand their tomes into new movies. Their character developments and imaginations would shine on the “big screen.”

Speaking of having Mack write a Trek movie, I’d like to see him write a trek series! I’d like to see Trek given the high-budget Game of Thrones treatment on cable with a GoT-worthy budget.

I too thought this was a great read. I’ll just finished this one and will start the new one tomorrow. I enjoy most of David Mack’s work on the original series and in the continuation novels of the spin-offs. I’m looking forward to his upcoming Section 31:Disavowed novel coming out in the next month or so.

This year had a nice mix of novels from all the series. Later this year, there will be a novel that actually takes place on the Enterprise-A a few years after Star Trek V. I always thought that was a great, untapped period for Star Trek novels and hope it does well enough that we see more. It’s also great to see a Deep Space Nine standalone novel this year, the first since “The Neverending Sacrifice” not counting the crossover Destiny, Typhon Pact and The Fall novels.

Re: movies in the Abrams reality, it seems Paramount is the one holding things up there. They want to see how the movies play out first, but I’m sure someday we will see novels based on those stories. The spinoff novels are closing in on 2387, the year from when Spock-prime and Nero travelled back in time. It will be interesting to see how they handle the destruction of Romulus, esp. how it affects the Typhon Pact, since Romulus is a major player and really the power resisting an aggressive stance toward the Kitomer allies. At last tally, the novels are now at the year 2385.

Oh, and the covers have improved dramatically in the last year or two. I really didn’t care for some of the Typhon Pact covers and some of the others that came out during that time.

But some of the newer novels lately have gotten better with the cover art. Seekers are much improved, as were the covers for The Fall novels, and other original series novels.

Just started reading the new one and lo and behold, Kayla Iacovino is a minor character on the Endeavour. :)

9. Mr. Poopypants – September 3, 2014
Speaking of having Mack write a Trek movie, I’d like to see him write a trek series! I’d like to see Trek given the high-budget Game of Thrones treatment on cable with a GoT-worthy budget.

It would probably take GoT style nudity and sex to make it work as well, which would turn off many fans and perhaps not make many new ones.

People have been talking about the Netflix option for a while though, which is a good idea. Have a novelist bring in a good concept, drop a season in, there you go. I think it would make the most sense to put it in the same universe as the movies. You’d get the best response from fans and non-fans that way.