Pocket Books, out now
When the Tzenkethi Coalition seem to be on the verge of getting control of bases on the borders with the Khitomer Accord powers, it’s down to the Enterprise and the Aventine to prevent war…
Una McCormack’s Brinkmanship makes for a great contrast with the previous duology in the Typhon Pact series, which threatened to collapse under its own weight. This is a lean tale, well told, with echoes of the confrontation between the US and the USSR over Cuba half a century ago, as well as numerous stories of agents embedded in place whose loyalties are severely tested.
McCormack gives us great insight into the culture of the Tzenkethi, as seen by a Cardassian spy who’s been there for many years and whose cover is threatened by a human spy, and the Venette Convention, whose belief in a very black and white universe (things are right or wrong) is threatened by the many shades of grey that are part and parcel of diplomatic manoeuvrings. Beverley Crusher becomes caught up in these dealings, her natural honesty a sharp relief to the games being played by the Cardassians and others.
Ezri Dax shares the cover with Picard, and this book is also a very strong character study of her – in particular, how the Ezri part of her has changed since her time at the Academy, and how the Dax symbiont reacts with Ezri to sharpen some of her attributes. In common with many of the characters, she has to make a number of very difficult decisions and judgement calls as the story progresses against a background of rising paranoia and potential war, and the reader comes away with a much sharper idea of Ezri as captain than we’ve seen in some time.
Verdict: A strong character-based continuation of the 24th Century saga. 8/10