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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2014
To use a classic Star Trek adage, the opening chapter of this fine addition to the Enterprise universe is *ahem* fascinating. The book opens aboard a typically renegade Klingon pirate vessel, the Sud Qav. The reader witnesses a fascinating (there's that word again) vision of the dastardly Klingons selecting their next victim based on the cowardly rules and algorithms only they can truly and honestly justify.

Back on board the USS Pioneer - captained by none other than fan favourite Malcolm Reed - life is relatively plain sailing and the reader is completely immersed in the beautifully written and perfectly structured opening salvo, getting re-acquainted with long lost friends and - for some - lost loved ones.

A security alert blares suddenly throughout the ship destroying the peace and tranquility created so well by Mr Bennett and before the reader knows it, their heart rate is travelling at warp factor eight as the Federation starship Pioneer races across space and time to save those aboard the lonely and desperate Lorellian vessel. Will the Pioneer arrive in time to save the day? Will they catch the Klingons? Will the Pioneer itself become a victim of intergalactic terrorism the Klingons are so fond of perpetrating? Of course you need to read the book to find out.

I am ashamed to admit that this is the first Trek novel I have read of Christopher L Bennett, but i can safely say it won't be my last. Characterisation is excellent. Emotional attachment is a given considering the subject matter and there is no lack of excitement, action and suspense for the reader to enjoy as he or she progresses throughout the tale. This is probably NOT a good entry point for those new to the expanded universe (can I use that here?) of Star Trek Enterprise lore if you have not read any works since the TV show was terminated but for those that have kept up with the lives of the crew then this is an awesome read.

I am happy to award this awesome Star Trek book a very healthy four stars. No doubt i will update this review as I approach the story's end but I don't expect the rating and review to move away from excellent.

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I have just hit the Halfway mark of the book and i can say the action contained in the prologue of the book is completely irrelevant to what has happened so far. There has been no further sign of the Klingons, merely a rumour of their possible involvement in a political conspiracy involving a potential new member of the Federation. Speaking of politics, this book is VERY political. I guess that is not surprising given the major overlapping series this book is set in (RISE OF THE FEDERATION) but i still like my books to be entertaining. An event happens just before the reader hits the halfway mark of the story which should get your pulse racing, but i am used to being taken in by a book well before i have read virtually half of it.

So will i finish this novel? You betcha! It is not the greatest Trek novel i have come across but Enterprise the TV show always did have a different focus from the norm and the book's writer is trying to reflect that in the story. If Babel was a more traditional star trek tale then i guess it would not be a ridgy-didge Enterprise one.

You can't have your cake, and eat it, too.

BFN Greggorio!
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on 7 May 2014
“Tower of Babel” by Christopher L. Bennett is the second novel in the “Birth of the Federation” series which continues the adventures of the crew from Star Trek Enterprise. I thoroughly enjoyed Bennett’s previous novel in the series and therefore I had been looking forward to this from the moment I heard about the release date.

The story picks up where “A Choice of Futures” finished off with the fledgling Federation still trying to understand what it really wants to be in the galaxy. This is highlighted by a presidential election which is being fought between two factions who have very different views on what the Federation’s future should entail. With this election in the background, Admiral Archer is undertaking negotiations to bring the Rigel system into the Federation although his attempts are being hampered by an alliance of criminals including Orions and Malurians who are determined to ensure the Federation fails.

Without doubt this is one of the busiest Star Trek books I have read in a while, there really is a lot going on and my summary above only briefly touches on it all. There are multiple plotlines on the go and Bennett has managed to find a role for pretty much every main character from the series which was nice to see. I was quite impressed that I didn’t actually feel lost at all even with so much going on, Bennett manages to blend all the pieces together into a well-paced, coherent and entertaining story. The only minor downside in utilising a wide array of characters and plotlines is that the novel felt like it was missing a powerful central plot that would have made me really care. Don’t get me wrong, it was still fun and entertaining but it just didn’t draw me in as much as other books have.

This was only a minor fault to be honest and it was easily overshadowed by some other elements of the novel such as the way in which Bennett has tried to create some depth to the villains. So often we get treated to a one dimensional villain but in this book we get some rounded characters whose motives and actions can be understood on some level if not necessarily agreed with. In addition, he has continued to flesh out some of the other minor characters such as Sam Kirk and Valeria Williams so that they interest me almost as much as the regular crew from the TV series.

One interesting observation I had about this book and in “A Choice of Futures” was the way in which various aspects of the plot relate to episodes of both the Enterprise and Original series. What I liked about this is that it was done in a manner which adds to the story and feels completely natural. I know some people don’t like “continuity porn” and I admit in the past I have seen links to various TV episodes that look forced and very much in your face, but with this series of novels Bennett has managed to seamlessly blend the various continuity points into the plot so this it should still make sense and be enjoyable for people who don’t know every TV episode.

Overall, “Tower of Babel” was another enjoyable novel in the Rise of the Federation series and it is always nice to return to this neglected era of Star Trek history. Bennett has done a good job in keeping the light burning for the Enterprise series and I am looking forward to seeing where we go next.
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on 3 May 2014
The second book in Christopher L Bennett's ongoing Star Trek Enterprise follow-up series is much more of a standalone than the first, which contained a lot of setup of where the characters had got to following the previous novels in the series. Having said that, there's a lot in this book that recurs from the previous and I felt it would probably have been useful had I re-read A Choice of Futures before reading Towel of Babel.

The focus of the story is the potential for Rigel to join the 'fledgling' Federation, and Bennett has built his plot around pulling together the slightly absurdly varied and potentially contradictory facts we've learnt about Rigellians through the Star Trek tv series, movies, novels and comics to date - which as always he does very well, clearly demonstrating that a lot of effort goes into his research process.

I found the plot slightly complex to follow though - there were almost too many things going on, with Bennett trying to give page time to all the main characters. This also had the effect of giving each character only time to show one aspect of their person and some of them felt like they were there just as a nod of the head. A lot of the characters do grow, but I'd have liked a novel which picked one out for a bit of a meatier storyline. I felt Archer's story could in particular have done with a bit more exploration at one point, where he could have gone through a lot more turmoil than he got away with.

Overall I enjoyed this return to the Enterprise universe, but didn't think it was as strong as the first novel in the series, which I absolutely loved. That's not in any way going to stop me from reading the next two that Bennett and the publisher have already announced - these Enterprise novels really do well to put the series on a strong footing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2014
Best Star Trek Enterprise book yet and can't wait for the next one. Read the Kindle Edition from 12 am to 11 am. I just couldn't put the book down. I thoroughly recommend this book.
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on 23 October 2014
It's not a bad book, but many of the characters seem to function more as place-holders and are not developed past basic archetypes, this may be a problem of trying to compress many events into so short a book. The material present wouldn't stretch to more books, but what's there could easily be expanded upon to do just that. There are some interesting plot points, but it feels like there's not much of a literary journey between them to the point of deus ex machina in places. I have enjoyed Christopher L. Bennett's works far more, especially the D.T.I (Department of Temporal Investigations) stories.
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on 16 July 2015
The story of the formation of the United Federation of Planets, this manages to be an adventure story, the personal journeys of several characters, and an exploration of the moral and political birth pangs of an entity such as the U.P.C. in a sometimes hostile universe. No mean feat!

It also contains a level of continuity with the rest of Star Trek which only becomes apparent in the afterword. But this doesn't get in the way of the story.

If Larry Niven had written a Star Trek novel, it might have been something like this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 April 2014
Not anywhere near what it could have been; very disappointing. No action to speak of. Neither was there any decent character progression.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 April 2014
the book was ok but the story lacked any real substance it seamed to just drift along and the ending left you feeling the was more to add
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on 27 July 2015
A bit slow after the previous books but any book about Star Trek Enterprise is a good read.
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on 14 April 2015
Still reading but great so far
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