Book Review: Star Trek: The Fall: Peaceable Kingdoms

Star Trek: The Fall: Peaceable Kingdoms

Dayton Ward

Following the resolution of the fertility crisis that nearly caused their extinction, the Andorian people now stand ready to rejoin the United Federation of Planets. The return of one of its founding member worlds is viewed by many as the first hopeful step beyond the uncertainty and tragedy that have overshadowed recent events in the Alpha Quadrant. But as the Federation looks to the future and the special election to name President Bacco’s permanent successor, time is running out to apprehend those responsible for the respected leader’s brutal assassination. Even as elements of the Typhon Pact are implicated for the murder, Admiral William Riker holds key knowledge of the true assassins— a revelation that could threaten the fragile Federation-Cardassian alliance.

Questions and concerns also continue to swell around Bacco’s interim successor, Ishan Anjar, who uses the recent bloodshed to further a belligerent, hawkish political agenda against the Typhon Pact. With the election looming, Riker dispatches his closest friend, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, in a desperate attempt to uncover the truth. But as Picard and the Enterprise crew pursue the few remaining clues, Riker must act on growing suspicions that someone within Ishan’s inner circle has been in league with the assassins from the very beginning . . . .

This is the final entry in the five-book The Fall miniseries.  It was a mostly satisfying conclusion.  I think I use the word “mostly” because I am not a huge fan of Dayton Ward’s writing style.  There is no denying his knowledge and love of Star Trek, but his writing just doesn’t quite catch me.  All that being said, this is easily the strongest book I’ve read by Dayton Ward.  And, he also ended the miniseries very nicely.  I have to admit that when I first saw that he was ending the series, I had low expectations.  I’m thrilled to be proven dead wrong.

The various threads of The Fall have been a bit disparate.  President Bacco was assassinated, the pro tem president seems to be a war monger, and Dr. Bashir not only solved the Andorian fertility crisis, but he ended up in solitary confinement for it (and resigned from Starfleet in the process).  The Fall is one of those special book series that does NOT bring the end back to the beginning — there are some seemingly lasting repercussions here.  Bacco was always a book-only character, so although her loss is gravely felt, it was “okay” to off her.  Dr. Bashir, on the other hand, is a TV character and I was a little surprised to see that he faced such disastrous consequences.  (And I like being surprised by books.)  I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised, in retrospect, since previous Star Trek books have shown that the book team is okay with some carefully planned major changes, such as the destruction of the Deep Space Nine station (which was later replaced with a very different station).

Ward did a solid job of not only tying all of these threads together into a riveting whole, but he also brought in some gripping plot elements of his own.  Throughout The Fall, readers have grown to detest pro tem President Ishan Anjar — and Ward brings Ishan’s past and story to light.  Initially, we learn that Ishan is not who he claims to be.  That piqued my interest.  I certainly hadn’t expected anything like that.  Ward does a great job of keeping up that suspense until the secret is revealed.  It was also a very well-thought-out secret that tied in to the deep mythology of the Star Trek universe.  In other words, the secret added to the overall story.

This book, by necessity, jumps all over the place.  In tying together the many threads and in concluding a series that has involved the Enterprise crew, the Titan crew, and Deep Space Nine, Ward drew in all of these aspects in one way or another and brought a satisfying resolution to the series.

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