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on 21 March 2013
The Titan series of novels continues to improve with this fourth instalment. This time the crew get caught up in some odd time and space effects and an away team dispatched to try and resolve things find themselves trapped on a hostile planet.

This novel is complex, you need to keep your wits about you to understand what's going on as the technobabble flows thick and fast. As well as all the science stuff there's a healthy slice of theology thrown in as well.

Ultimately the story told is clever and engaging and helps to place the Titan novels in a more cerebral part of the star trek universe, offering a clear delineation from the other novel series.
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on 11 July 2008
I'm not really sure how to review this book. I think it's been the best so far, but in my opinion, it isn't without some pretty huge flaws.

First off, the book runs at just short of 400 pages, which I'm sure could've been trimmed down somewhat by removing a lot of the extraneous conversations and description that ultimately don't matter. Having said this, the first 80 or so pages are actually quite enjoyable. As other reviewers have noted, we're no longer being forcefed the idea that it's The Most Diverse Crew In Starfleet, which has *really* done a lot for helping things along. Athough you can argue the book is relatively slow moving, I found it quite enjoyable to read about the crew interacting and going about their everyday business.

I'm not sure whether it's good or bad, but I think over the course of four books we've now been introduced to well over a sixth of the crew - which is frankly, a lot of characters to remember, and although it's good to get that sense of missions not revolving round three or four key personnel, with the odd redshirt for emotional impact, it's slightly detrimental to getting to know any one character too well.

Established characters, in particular Captain Riker and Commander Tuvok, serve little to no purpose in the book, while Troi has no real character development. I noticed Alyssa Ogawa (among others) was completely absent from this tale.

Luckily, characters like Cadet Dakal and Jaza Najem get a bit of well deserved time in the limelight, and we're really given an opportunity to see how The Most Diverse Crew In Starfleet interacts. I especially liked the gentle nod to New Frontier for incorporating a Brikar scientist.

I have got point out though, that it's quite obvious that there's a fatal flaw in the command structure of Titan, with Riker and Troi both coming under scrutiny from Vale - who, going by this novel, seems to be a much more experienced and objective commander. Personally, I'm surprised there hasn't already been a mutiny if that's how the ship is being run.

The story itself, I've got to admit, got pretty confusing in parts. My heart sank when I realised there was an element of time travel to this story, and to be honest, the whole story involving Modan, Jaza, the crew of Charon and the eventual resolution went a bit beyond my understanding for a "relaxing read". I love my Trek-Tech as much as the next person, but I don't want to have to have an in-depth knowledge of interdimensional temporal mechanics in order to fully understand the book. It's easy to muddle through to the end, but it did bug me I wasn't totally grasping what was going on without re-reading entire chapters.

Another bugbear of this story is the whole issue of the Prime Directive. Riker's grasp of it seems to be flimsy at best. As I understand it, Starfleet are supposed to die rather than break it. In this case, Riker's first choice is to contaminate a culture in order to find a way round it... which confused me.

All in all, I much preferred the level of interaction and the "day-to-day"ness of being on a long term research vessel, and the smaller focus on the fact that it's The Most Diverse Crew In Starfleet, but the technobabble and time travel elements were a bit of a letdown. Definitely the best in the series so far.
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on 18 June 2009
Finally, a Titan novel I actually enjoyed! This one was very different from the previous three novels in the series - there's very little direct contact with aliens, and it's closer to the new characters, focusing on one or two of them in particular.

Thorne has pulled the series in a new direction, looking more at the 'humanity' of the characters, and it seems more in the style of Deep Space 9... and I don't mean just because it focuses on a Bajoran, but because it deals with issues of faith, destiny and sacrifice.

It's more emotionally charged, not least because everyone thinks everyone else is dead. And this leads to characters making decisions that they wouldn't normally, and yet they feel completely rational.

The focus on the new characters is good this time round, with the established and human characters mostly being relegated to sub-plot. I'm enjoying the interactions between the younger members of the crew, particularly the Cardassian cadet.

A good book, but not all of my favourite toys make it back to the box. The description above, taken from a certain shopping website, is rather inaccurate.
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on 7 February 2008
Geoffrey Thorne is a relative newcomer to the published Star Trek mythos, with just a few short stories to his name. Sword of Damocles, the latest "Titan" novel, is Thorne's first full-length novel, and he's written an exquisite one. The Titan writers seem to be excelling at not having "villains" in their novels, instead having antagonists that have conflicting points of view with our heroes, and Thorne provides us with a perfect example of that here. All of that, and Pocket Books has given us technical diagrams of the new ship too!

While the technobabble can get a little thick in Sword of Damocles, Thorne never lets it get out of control, and it helps that he has some non-technological characters for others to explain things to. Thorne has created an extremely intricate plot, dealing with some time travel, cultural contamination (and its avoidance), and how things that are not understood can assume heightened significance in those who don't know any better. Thorne puts all of his characters through the wringer, as all of them must make choices based on both the Prime Directive (the non-interference policy Starfleet has) and what's best for their ship.

What I especially liked about Sword of Damocles, though, is that the fact that the crew is extremely diversified was not used as a cudgel over the reader's head. We saw the integration of the crew, but nobody actually *mentioned* it. It was a breath of fresh air given the past three books. Thorne doesn't avoid this by not using any of the alien crew members, but by showing us how they're interacting with the crew without actually announcing it. I hope future Titan books do the same thing. I realize that this diversity is sort of a novelty, but we're four books in now, so it really should be stopped.

Thorne's characterization is almost perfect, from Vale, Troi and Riker to the other Titan crew members and even the Orishans themselves. Commander Ra-Havreii, the rather arrogant chief engineer, is annoying to everybody, but somehow he walks that thin line of not turning off the reader as well. The reason for the rift between Riker and Troi seems a little basic for how much anguish it causes, but it is understandable, especially in their situation. Still, the writing is powerful and the characterization is right on the nose. The climax to the story veers a little bit into the heavy technobabble mode, but it's exciting nonetheless.

Thorne's prose is quite good for a first novel, and the book reads very smoothly, with very few clunky phrases throwing you out of the book. He describes both the character scenes and the action scenes quite well, never making it boring but also not overdoing the action too much. There were a couple of coincidences that I shook my head at, but for the most part they have a plausible explanation that makes it so they're not too annoying.

Sword of Damocles is the best Titan book since Taking Wing, and here's to many more adventures in the future. Of course, we'll have to see what the upcoming Destiny trilogy holds for our Titan crew before we get the next Titan book, and since that series is written by David Mack, maybe they'll all be dead! Whatever happens, though, Geoffrey Thorne has himself a winner here, and I look forward to reading some more of his stuff in the future.

David Roy
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on 19 January 2008
Ok i previously reviewed this book giving it only 2 stars, but now upon rereading it find my opinion chaning.

The plot is good and well thought out, charicterisation is great with certain exceptions.

The only thing wrong with the story was the whol Riker\Rroi Pregnancy thting and its effects -- it was like a blatant reuse of Dax\Worf from DS9 only with angst added in.
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on 15 August 2009
Yet another good book of the Titan series. One of those books you wish was developed for TV. Carries on the Trek genre very well.
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on 31 March 2008
I HARDLY KNOW WHERE TO START HERE.
THE BOOK WAS DIS-JOINTED WITH POOR CHARACTERISATIONS. IT SEEMED TO ME THAT THE AUTHOR HAD PAID NO ATTENTION TO PREVIOUS TITAN NOVELS,TNG NOVELS OR EVEN THE TV SERIES ACTOR PORTRAYALS.
THE STORYLINE DID NOT GRIP AND THE CONSTANT JUMPING BACK AND FORTH IN TIME AND/OR LOCATION QUICKLY BECAME ANNOYING AT BEST.
I REALISE THAT ALL THIS IS PERSONAL OPINION BUT HOW THIS CAN GET A 5 STAR FROM A REVIEWER MAKES ME RAISE A "SPOCK-LIKE" EYEBROW !
IF I SEE THIS AUTHORS NAME ON ANY FUTURE STAR TREK BOOK I WILL THINK VERY LONG AND HARD BEFORE SPENDING MY HARD EARNED CASH !
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on 6 November 2015
A fantastic story although there could have been more to it or leading into the next book.
Can't wait to read more Titan stories
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on 2 March 2013
Well I have to say that I didn't enjoy this story as much as the previous three. I don't really recommend it
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on 21 April 2016
A+++++++
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