Pocket Books, out now
The Tholians are coming. The Shedai are beyond pissed off. This is it: the final battle for Vanguard.
There are not many book series, written by multiple authors under the aegis of various editors, which maintain a continuity of style and standard throughout, from start to finish. Come to that, in the Star Trek universe, there aren’t that many written by a single author which manage to maintain such a standard! While I’ll admit freely that the writers of this series are friends, I tip my metaphorical hat to them – and especially David Mack for this finale – for the work that they’ve done across the Vanguard saga.
It’s not just that they have managed to weave a story in and out of established continuity – the Doctor Who book writers during the hiatus years were doing that – but they’ve created a series that stands alone, separate from the Star Trek series that spawned it. Yes, there are times when the necessities of the Trek universe have perhaps forced story decisions that might have gone differently if the Roddenberry rules weren’t there, but Mack, Ward and Dilmore have negotiated their way around these difficulties, to the extent that mention of Kirk and the Enterprise almost feels wrong.
Mack has been nicknamed the Angel of Death for his ability to kill off large swathes of his characters (with the Destiny trilogy allowing him full sweep across the entire 24th Century Federation). Here he’s perhaps more restrained than some might have expected. Not everyone dies. Not everyone who should die, dies. Some people who deserve better get dealt a bad hand. Others even get what, anywhere else, might be considered a hackneyed happy ending – but in the context of the Vanguard saga, is tinged with a sadness of the memories of what has led the characters to this point.
Verdict: There’s an eBook coda to the series coming but this is the end of the Vanguard saga, and those people who have stuck with it since the release of Harbinger in 2005 will hopefully share the sentiment I had when I put the book down: “Utterly f***ing brilliant.” 10/10
Read our reviews of the earlier books: