Pocket Books, out now
Two hundred and fifty years after the Lewis & Clark carries Shaun Christopher towards Saturn, the crew of the Enterprise face problems around a similarly-ringed planet…
Although occasionally overladen with continuity (would people really think about the similarities between current events and something that’s happened in their past on every single occasion there’s an overlap as they do here? And just how long has Spock served with humans?) this is an enjoyable standalone original series tale, which sees Jim Kirk and Shaun Christopher having to deal with problems way outside their normal remit.
With two sets of crews to feature, one of whom is completely new to the reader, Cox has a delicate balancing act in this story, and it’s not too surprising that many of the crew of the Enterprise are drawn in broad strokes – there’s some time for Uhura, but otherwise this focuses on the Big Three. We need to empathise as much with the Lewis & Clark crew, as they go through their various difficulties, and Cox does a great job with them, Alice Fontana particularly.
The ending may not satisfy everyone: the status quo has to be returned, but the manner of doing so anticipates events in a later story which are deemed to be highly unusual and almost without precedent when they happen there. But that’s a quibble – some tense sequences in both time periods are well-written and draw the reader in.
Verdict: Very much one for fans of Jim Kirk. 7/10