This 1988 Star Trek novel is a deserving prequel to the original series. If they ever decide to do another “Prime Universe” series prequel (which I doubt they would) then this is it. This is what a prequel series should have been.
I like the old Pocket Books. I like the enclosed story of each book unlike the books of today that are linked by continuity. While I think that’s great I just don’t have the time or interest to read all those books and new characters, especially if it’s required to follow another book that I might be interested in. It’s ironic that while I am a supporter of Canon and continuity in Star Trek on screen I am not when it comes to the novels. But with the novels of old the adventures can be a little more rip roaring because it won’t effect the events of the next book. All the toys are back in the box by the end and what we get is sometimes a lovely nugget of a book like this. It’s been a long time since I read an old Star Trek novel that came before the current era. When I started reading this I truly felt whisked away to my youth once more and felt so comfortable and familiar with the writing.
The story in brief: George Kirk, the Father of Jame T Kirk is kidnapped by Captain Robert April to go on a secret mission to save a transport in distress. Along the way the ship runs into engine trouble, Romulans and almost starts an interstellar war.
I like the characters in the book. April is an idealist, and one wonders if he’s based on Gene Roddenberry himself, at least the myth that surrounded the man. There was a picture of Gene as Robert April in the Star Trek Encyclopedia and Chronology books which makes me think that others might have had the same impression. George Kirk is the more of a hard headed, military man with prejudices in his pocket and a healthy suspicion which is why he’s brought on-board. Himself and April sometimes seem to be a split of different aspects of James T Kirk.
Captain April can across as a little naive. The Enterprise (here named ‘The Empress’) is unlike anything that has been built before. Outfitted with the latest technology and armed to the teeth. He sees the ship as one of exploration and of peace but as George Kirk rightly points out, they come in peace as long as others do and if they don’t then they’re ready for them. George Kirk is exactly what April thinks he is missing in his command of the Enterprise.
The book predates a lot of TV Trek so the continuity is a bit iffy but for anyone who has watched or is a fan of the 2009 Star Trek movie will be tickled by what was taken from this, for example George Kirk is the Commander of the original Enterprise, the 2009 film had him as Commander of the Kelvin and an early idea for the 2009 film was to open with George Kirk as Commander of the original Enterprise not the Kelvin.
I picked this book up in a discount book store. Unfortunately since it’s from 1988 and probably hasn’t been read since then it practically started to fall apart. The cover fell off while I was reading it but I’m really glad I was able to dive back into the glory days of Star Trek books.
Favorite Quote: “It’s wrong to be the first to fire.” George Kirk