So "Distant Early Warning" by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore is my first experience of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers Ebook series and I would it to be a rather interesting if rather quick experience. Whilst the majority of these books focus on the 24th Century, this book takes a look at the crew of the USS Lovell in the 23rd Century and appears to be a prequel to the Vanguard series of novels which I am about to start reading.
The year is 2265 and Starfleet has fast-tracked the construction of Starbase 47, also known as Vanguard although the reason for such a rush to get it built is being kept secret by Starfleet Command. Unfortunately, there are various technical problems plaguing the Starbase and so the USS Lovell is called in with its Starfleet Corps of Engineers team ready to help. However, it soon becomes obvious that this isn't just teething troubles and there appears to be something much more mysterious causing the issues.
The first thing that did impress me about this story is that even though I haven't read any SCE or Vanguard novels I found it to be accessible and understandable. With such a large collection of new characters and a limited page count I was pleasantly surprised by this as I was worried that I would struggle to follow it. The fact that the authors didn't try and link the story into the regular 24th Century SCE crew also helped to ensure the ebook was fully concentrating on the plot and the characters of the 23rd Century.
The story itself was entertaining and attention grabbing although some elements of the plotting didn't completely work for me. Basically, I was a little bit disappointed that the two main plot lines seemed to have no relevance to each other. I just didn't understand why the authors felt the need to try and cram both elements into novella like this when there was no actual link between them. I suppose having both plot lines did keep the action and excitement levels up but I think I would rather have seen a bit more exploration of the characters.
Overall, this was an enjoyable novella that has given me a decent introduction to both the crew of the USS Lovell and Vanguard. The story itself had a fair amount of action alongside some intriguing mystery which helped to ensure that I completed it in no time at all. Now, I am just looking forward to picking up the first book in the Vanguard series and finding out more about the mysteries of the Taurus Reach.