© 2009 David Mack
To date, the Vanguard series has been marked by a vast archaeological and scientific mystery, but as its matured, the implications of the Taurus Reach discoveries have been taking precedent. We saw this in Open Secrets, where the political situation between the Federation and Klingon empires deteriorated to the point of war, and it continues here. Although the setting is the Vanguard series, most of the action takes place off-station following various characters from the series as they work to prevent future catastrophes. Concerned that the Klingons are looking to weaponize the remnants of the Shedai technology, Starfleet is attempting to undermine their efforts through clandestine means. Meanwhile, the disgraced T'Pyrnn has fled Starfleet custody and is hoping to redeem herself by discovering the means with which the Klingons are carrying out their own cloak-and-dagger enterprises against Vanguard. Multiple plotlines converge to great success.
This is a series carried by its strong characters, and that trend continues here -- magnificently. I've been fascinated by the interplay between former intelligent officer T'Pyrnn and her journalistic adversary-turned-ally, Timothy Pennington, and it's done no better than here, where the two cooperate to spy on gangsters and Kingons in hopes to saving Vanguard. Perhaps the finest contributions of this book were the appearance of Gorkon -- a Klingon official whose political views will lead to the greatest peace in the galaxy and his own assassination -- and the reappearance of a Vanguard character thought dead. I'd hoped for for this character's return, and am eagerly looking forward to what becomes of the Vanguard crew in future books.
The next Vanguard work, not yet released, is called Declassified. It will consist of four novellas by David Mack, Kevin Dilmore, Dayton Ward, and much-beloved former Treklit editor Marco Palimeri, whose years in the editor's seat marked some of the best Trek literature produced to date.