Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Open Secrets

Star Trek Vanguard: Open Secrets
© 2009 Dayton Ward
448 pages

In Reap the Whirlwind, Vanguard commander Diego Reyes took some drastic steps to prevent the secret of Vanguard Station and the Taurus Reach from claiming more innocent lives -- steps which have earned him the ire of both Starfleet and the Klingon Empire. While Starfleet is content to court-martial him for treason, the Klingons will settle for nothing less than Reyes' head on a plate. (Which they would then...possibly eat?)  Tensions between the Federation and its rivals continues to mount, especially after Starfleet's lead scientist on the Vanguard project vanishes inside a Klingon transporter beam. As the friction builds, a flotilla of Klingon cruisers approaches the station with weapons loaded for bear.

Open Secrets almost seems like a break in the action in the Vanguard series. While the science investigation continues, much of the book's focus is on the decaying political situation, the trial of Commodore Reyes, and the slow recovery of Commander T'Pyrnn, who is trapped in her own mind on Vulcan.  Because Ward and Mack have built such strong, varied, and sympathetic characters in the last three books, the focus on their trials here -- mostly separated from constant action -- carries the novel well. Ward also works in more TOS references than preceding books: it opens and ends with references to a Star Trek episode.  Reyes is one of my favorite characters, so I read with interest. Worth reading for the characters, but this is probably the book most easily to summarize through a recap in following novels. It has one of my favorite pieces of covert art in the series, though.

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