"Well, things have certainly got a bit more interesting.",
This review is from: Open Secrets (Star Trek: Vanguard) (Mass Market Paperback)
The Vanguard series continues its saga with book four, Open Secrets by Dayton Ward. This book covers a lot of time over the first season of the original series from a few weeks after 'The Corbomite Manoeuvre' through to the ending of 'Errand Of Mercy' and references 'Balance Of Terror', 'Courtmartial' and 'Arena' as well.
Carrying on days after the dramatic end of Reap The Whirlwind, Commodore Reyes now faces a court-martial for letting Tim Pennington release the information on the Shedai and the incident of Gamma Tauri IV to the news networks. Reyes is removed from command and Commander Cooper is placed in charge until a replacement can be found.
The Klingons continue to push into the reach but after the incident at Jinoteur they are prepared for war with anyone who gets in their way.
Commodore Reyes' replacement is none other than Admiral Heihachiro Nogura (Starfleet's 'old man' himself) who shakes up the status quo within moments of his arrival. His first week on the job goes from bad to worse when Klingon attacks in the area escalate and a Tholian renegade demands sanctuary on the station.
Doctor M'Benga and Tim Pennington take T'Prynn back to Vulcan in an effort to heal her before her mind collapses in on itself forever.
Lt. Xiong also has help on the meta-genome project in the form of a young scientist called Carol Marcus. Between them and the Tholian they determine that they must return to Erilon, site of the first Shedai attack, and with the Tholian's assistance, hope to reactivate the Shedai conduit there.
While Reyes finds himself dealing with Rana and his court-martial, Nogura has to try to diffuse tensions in the area, prevent the return of the Shedai and try to stop an interstellar war.
This book has a lot going for it but compared to the previous Vanguard novels it lacks something. The problem may be that the book covers such a large span of time whereas the first trilogy didn't and there isn't any direct references to the passage of time until the author just drops in an event from a first season show. This can make it feel a little disjointed in places. A stardate or two might have solved that problem.
However, this does not detract from the story too much and we get an interesting development on nearly all fronts of the Vanguard story arcs. Ward does a great job of splitting the action between the various plots and as time goes by the need to read the next chapter becomes more and more irresistable.
The court-martial is excellent and the introduction of characters like the Tellarite prosecutor Captain Sereb add spice to the whole event. The whole segment with T'Prynn is also well handled and it also gives us a little more insight into her character, her childhood and her family.
Jetanien gets a little arc to himself that I'm sure will develop in the coming novels and the possibility of a diplomatic conference between the Federation, the Klingons and the Romulans seems like a possibility. Fans will get a kick out of the site he chooses too.
Nogura is a great introduction to this saga and his opening scenes with characters we already know is priceless, especially with Ganz. The introduction of Carol Marcus is also well done and it's obvious where she gets the idea for certain future projects from.
The book rattles along at quite a speed and leads up to events that tie in simultaneously with the final moments of 'Errand Of Mercy' and the last chapter is an eye opener.
Setting things up for book five nicely, Open Secrets is a welcome addition to one of the best Trek novel sagas in years.