Friday, January 7, 2011

Reunion

Star Trek TNG: Reunion
© 1991 Michael Jan Friedman
343 pages
On the cover:  Unknown models as Idun Asmund, Picard's former human-raised-by-Klingons helm officer and Captain Morgen, who looks rather scary.  There's also a little quirk on the cover: the Stargazer is depicted with only two nacelles. This was before the four-nacelle model  became official, I suppose.


Many years ago, fresh young lieutant named Picard saved his ship from peril by assuming command following the death of his captain and first officer. In recognition of his services rendered, Starfleet named him captain of the Stargazer.  Now an officer of legend, Picard commands the Federation flagship -- the Enterprise-D -- and is hosting a Stargazer reunion. The arrival of several Stargazer officers brings back mixed memories for Picard: fond recollections of those days when he was young and brash, before his best friend Jack died under his command -- before Stargazer was lost. The memory of Jack is painful, though, and even moreso for Jack's widow, Beverly Crusher. She and Picard aren't the only persons haunted by the memories of what once was:  after the reunion is troubled by a series of nearly lethal accidents, Picard realizes someone among his former comrades is targeting the Stargazers on by one.  With the ship in peril, Picard and his friends both old and young must find the would-be murderer among their ranks and while striving to prevent a diplomatic catastrophe.

I don't think I've looked forward to any Star Trek book as much as Reunion, perhaps save S.D. Perry's DS9 capstone Unity. I began reading the Stargazer series years ago, and the first two books in it rank as some of my favorites in Trek literature as a whole -- but Reunion invented those characters.  Death in Winter spoiled the mystery for me by alluding to the killer, but even so I had fun trying to figure out why the character in question had 'snapped' -- and was able to use my previous Stargazer reading to keep ahead of Picard and the others.  There's considerable peril to be had outside the potential assassin: while on a diplomatic mission, Enterprise is trapped in a high-warp slipstream that threatens not only the mission, but the  ship itself by throwing it far beyond Federation borders. Characterization is accurate for both the TNG crew and the Stargazers, though Picard is more formal with his old XO than I would expect -- in the Stargazer books, they're 'buddies'.

I expected a great deal of Reunion and come away from it feeling quite satisfied. Like other Friedman novels, this is one I can see returning to again and again.

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