I'm gonna need another bang in the eye for dismissing Peter David's New Frontier world before I read this book. Admittedly, there are holes because I didn't read a few NF installments, but those holes didn't diminish my understanding or enjoyment of this book. A few details missed? Yeah. But in the Big Picture, I was still able to put it all together. The holes just make me want to go back and read the NF books I missed, so how could that be a bad thing?
In this, novel, Peter expertly guides his "irreverently-professional" bunch through a rousing adventure involving both ancient technology and ancient enemies.
Take two vicious enemies and put them on separate planets to keep them away from one another. Introduce technology (those dratted gateways) that enables them to get to each other in the blink of an eye and boom Big Trouble in Thallonian space.
Enter Mac Calhoun on the *Excalibur* and his wife, Elizabeth Shelby, on the *Trident,* charged by Starfleet with keeping the peace.
What follows is "peacekeeping" quite unlike what you might expect from, say, Jean-Luc Picard. Take, for example, this excerpt, written here to give you an idea of the reigning attitude throughout:
"Calhoun was standing in the open area within the desk, and Si Cwan was next to him. The Counselars had made it clear that they would not convene nor speak with him at all unless he stayed in the 'Place of Address,' which was where he was standing at that moment. Calhoun did not particularly want to be in the Place of Address. Just then, he'd have far preferred to be in the Place of Beating the Crap out of the Counselars, had such a location actually existed."
I ask you, can you beat this?
While this novel stands alone just fine, it *ends* with a gateway cliffhanger, same as all the rest of them do, to be taken up in the final novel in this series, "What Lay Beyond."
But for real? Read this puppy. And read all the other Gateway novels while you're at it.