"The masks are part of their society.",
This review is from: Masks (Star Trek: The Next Generation) (Paperback)
Titan Books continue their series of novels based on Star Trek: The Next Generation with #07: Masks by John Vornholt.
This book is set sometime in the latter part of the second season of the show and given the relationship between Worf and Pulaski, it would seem to be after the events of `Up The Long Ladder'.
The Enterprise is escorting Federation Ambassador Fenton Lewis to the primitive planet Lorca. The world is a geologically unstable planet and home to a colony of humans who left Earth two centuries ago to start a new world not dependent on modern technology. Half of the crew were farmers and anti-technologists and the other half were part of a travelling acting group. When their ship crashed the people had to start anew and somewhere along the way the theatrical became part of their way of life.
Now, all he people on the planet wear highly decorated masks to highlight their status in the society. Lewis is there to make contact with the planetary leader, the Almighty Slayer, and Picard, Worf and Troi accompany him to the surface. When volcanic activity cuts off communication with the ship the Away Team have to adapt to Lorca and it's strange customs.
With a rescue party dispatched from the Enterprise, the two teams struggle to find each other while attempting to stay one step ahead of the Lorcans and their medieval codes of combat. To make matters worse, Ambassador Lewis abandons the team leaving Picard in the company of Lady Piercing Blade, a fierce warrior who claims the right to rule Lorca.
When a Ferengi ship enters orbit it becomes clear that they are attempting to take the planet for themselves and there appears to be a connection between them and Ambassador Lewis.
Masks is a typical adventure novel set in the Star Trek universe with a distinctly medieval flavour. Vornholt does a great job in creating Lorca, the people, society and the animals but there are parts of the book that stand out as wrong. He has Picard acting like a lovesick teenager at times which is most out of character and a couple of the plot twists are a little easy to spot.
This is still a good book and at the end you wish he'd carried on for another chapter to finish up a couple of things and as story this stands above most of the season two episodes. All in all, a worthy addition to the Next Generation library.