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4.0 out of 5 stars
Destiny Trilogy - A Good Beginning., 16 Oct 2011
Genocidal Borg, unexplained deaths on the rediscovered wreck of an early warp vessel, untenable emotional pressures and an apparently omnipotent alien race all combine to test the resolves of four captains and their crews as they provide a last line of defence for the citizens of Federation space.
David Mack takes us on a journey of four paths - the commands of four captains - that ultimately begin to weave together into an unfolding tapestry of the desperate fight for survival which begins in this first book of the 'Destiny' trilogy, and will no doubt intensify in the following novels.
There's very little as likely to keep so many readers off-balance and uncomfortable as the Borg, and within the pages of 'Gods of Night' they are more ruthless and terrifying than ever. Uncompromising and merciless, they are hell-bent on nothing short of the complete destruction of all but themselves. The Borg element of the story is a perfection of tense hopelessness as David Mack shows us there is little we can do to stop them, especially when those in whom we trust are compromised by self doubt and recriminations. When those on whom we rely face devastating personal struggles that cut them off from their own sources of strength and resolve, all that seems left is a frantic scramble to clutch at any straw of hope. Thus, Mack handles Riker's helplessness in the face of his wife's anguish with a brutal honesty that is almost visceral, and Picard's instability under the crushing presence of the collective becomes a frightening reminder that even the strongest are vulnerable. These combine to make those sections of the book truly disturbing.
Less effective, at least through the progress of this volume of the Destiny trilogy, is the weaving of the Caeliar arc, and while Captain Hernandez and her crew's plight is harrowing, (and the MACO enough to send even the most controlled of Starfleet officers into a frenzy of 'grunt-hating violence), it feels less sharply focussed, and therefore less effective at drawing the reader in to suffer with them. However, the potential of this thread of the tapestry remains, within the final words of the novel, with Captain Riker's crew's discovery of the Caeliar survivors in a way that troublingly parallel's that of the crew of Columbia, leaving the reader with the feeling that it's all going to come back and bite the heroes' rear ends - hard.
New characters are richly drawn and the old familiar faces, perhaps not so familiar with the passage of time, nonetheless maintain integrity enough to hear the voices that brought them to life within the shows themselves speaking to the reader from beyond the TV franchise's grave - a rarity in so many novelised continuations of popular shows. This book is a page-turner especially once the story achieves its momentum.