Though a quick read, the latest novel in the New Frontier series has brought it back from the brink. A definite improvement on recent falls.
Several factions are out to kidnap the son of Robin Lefler and the late Si Cwan, some with more obvious intentions than others. They will stoop as low as controlling the minds of crew members to achieve their goals, but the ghost of Si Cwan has similar powers.
My main complaint about recent New Frontier novels is that the crew have become too spread out, and that there are too many main characters to focus on, however this time, David has pulled the focus back to the Excalibur, and while the other characters still appear, it's only in a supporting role.
There's an interesting juxtaposition, whereby the new aliens wanting to take control of bodies is bad, while Si Cwan's ghost taking control of Kalinda's body is somehow right, though none of the cast seem to realise this. The beginning also feels disconnected from the rest of the plot, as the original gang of kidnappers, while still suspected for a short while, are soon forgotten about.
Overall, I'd say it's an improvement, and has left the story with a few loose ends left to tie up. It still needs to lift a little further to equal the earlier days though.
Jumping into the `Star Trek New Frontier' series at `Treason' would be like starting `Lost' half way through season 3. In `New Frontier', Peter David has created an all new cast of star trek characters that fans of this series have grown to love, but everyone else would never have heard of. Captain Calhoun et al are back and as dysfunctional as ever. Vulcan Doctor Selar is the catalyst for this adventure when she goes off the deep end in a quest to find a cure for her son's rapid aging. Can the crew stop Selar before she goes too far and hurts herself, or the baby that she has kidnapped?
The fact that `New Frontier' sits within the world of Star Trek, but free of the constraints of the TV and films, means that it can take the best of the Universe, but also play with it. The structure of the Federation of Planets is a great jumping point for adventures, but the mismatched crew could only exists free of corporate suits. There are moments of dry humour and high violence in `Treason' that have rarely been matched in the core cannon. The tension is also higher as you know that the likes of Picard will never be killed off, but there is nothing stopping David from doing what he likes with the people he created.
`Treason' is typical of the high energy that the New Frontier books have provided. The eccentric characters and amusing asides are as present as ever. There is a real issue with people new to the series not knowing what is going on, but established fans will be reading another great addition.
There are no Borg in this book! I can't tell you what a relief that is, after the Borg-heavy TNG relaunch, and the depression-fest that is the Destiny triology. I don't even remember the Borg getting a mention in Treason (which does make it a bit difficult to place whether the story takes place pre- or post-Destiny - the general positive vibe of all the characters makes me think pre-Destiny).
Mackenzie Calhoun and his oddjob crew are back, boldly stumbling into things they should leave well alone. The main focus of the plot is on Selar and her desperate attempts to stop the rapid aging of her son (caused by his hybrid Vulcan-Hermit perantage). In trying to help Xy she makes some bad decisions and leads the Excalibur crew into an encounter with a threatening new species.
Peter David's writing is as good as ever. He remains very easy to read and mixes some dark and heavy stuff with light humour. Soleta and Calhoun are, as ever, particularly funny - especially in their scenes together. This book is an entertaining read by itself and seems to serve as the first part of a new Excalibur adventure. Certainly the final chapter points to something much bigger and more sinsister than even the (pretty far reaching) events of the main story indicated. I can't wait for the next part, and only hope it won't take as long to get here as Treason did.
A minor gripe: by now New Frontier has so many characters that some start to seem superfluous. We have the crews of both Excalibur and Trident, not to mention Kalinda, Xyon, the Thalonian guys, Shelby, and Soleta's lot. This book includes them all, but the net result is that everyone has very little to do unless they're Selar. Some characters appear seemingly to set up arcs for later stories, rather than to contribute to the plot of this one (Lefler, I'm looking at you).
Despite that I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of New Frontier, The Original Series (Calhoun's still doing his best to out-Kirk Kirk), or Trek Lit in general. Definitely if you're as tired as I am of the Borg.
The latest in Peter David's "New Frontier" series was worth waiting for. It doesn't have the comedy element of some of his previous works, and some parts are pretty hard-hitting. So much has happened to each crew member that you can't expect everything to be just like it was in the beginning when we meet them again, but that's part of what makes this series so good. The characters have grown and changed and some of them aren't going to make it through this book in one piece. Then the last little bit makes you wish you could fast-forward time until the next one comes out - hurry up!
I bought this book for my husband who a big New Frontier fan. His first comment was that it was funny. He also said it was good compared with the rest of the series. He is a man of few words. That was the most I could coax out of him!