"A Good Day to Die" is a wonderful beginning to a new Klingon saga. No need to worry with Kirk, Spock, Picard, or even Janeway, nope, this book is all about the Klingon Empire. Suffering a great blow during the Dominion war, the Klingons send out their ships in search of new planets. Unlike the Federation, though, they have no intention of making nice with anyone. Their plan is to overtake the natives, enslave them, and use them to harvest whatever minerals the Klingon Empire needs. In this particular story (part one of a trilogy), Keith R.A. DeCandido takes us on a conquest with the I.K.S. Gorkon, headed up by Captain Klag. The Gorkon's crew feel as if they should be fighting someone instead of "exploring," but they get the chance to fight soon enough when they stumble upon the Children of San-Tarah, a violent, almost simien-like race who values the honor of a good fight just as much or more than the Klingons. Their weapons are primitive, but their planet's atmosphere (explained in the book) prevents the use of "technology." What this essentially means is that the disruptors have to stay onboard the Gorkon and the Klingons have to count on their hand-to-hand combat skills and their traditional bladed weapons such as the much-heralded bat'leth in a series of contests devised by the Children of San-Tarah's leader, Me-Larr. If the Klingons win the most contests, then the tribes will submit to them without a fight, but if the primitives are victorious, the Klingons must leave and never return. All of this is tied up nicely at the end by a message from General Talak, who literally sets the stage for book two.
Klag's inner demons are what drive the story, but it's the actions of his crew, from Goren to Voq to Leskit and all in between, that make this such a fun read. It's space opera at its best, told from the viewpoint of an alien race that seems to be bred for both violence and rather comedic interactions between each other.
This was the first "Trek" book that I've ever read. I picked it up primarily due to the fact that it's about the Klingons, and not about the typical "Trek" characters such as Data, Picard, McCoy, etc. Not that I have anything against these characters (I actually love McCoy), it's just nice to see that the entire "Trek" universe doesn't revolve around the Enterprise. The tale is a fun, briskly paced read, and I have the full intention to finish the trilogy. DeCandido has done well with this book.