Michael A. Martin
EARTH STANDS ALONE
The Coalition of Planets has shattered, with Vulcan, Andor, and Tellar abrogating the treaty. Their pledge to come to the mutual defense of any power that is attacked has been shunted aside. Horrified by how easily the Romulans can seize control of their advanced starships, turning them into weapons, Andor and Tellar have joined Vulcan on the sidelines. Humanity is now the only thing that stands between the Romulan Star Empire and total domination of the galaxy.
To drive humans from the stars, the Romulans employ ruthless and murderous tactics . . . and even dare to strike on the Vulcan homeworld with the hopes of demoralizing their Vulcan brethren. Heartened by their victories, the Romulans carry their all-out war assault closer to the heart of humanity–Earth.
But the tattered remains of Starfleet stand unwavering, with the resolution that never again would any enemy strike ever reach Earth. On the front lines of the Earth-Romulan War is the United Earth flagship, the “Starship Enterprise.” Her captain, Jonathan Archer, has seen his vessel of exploration become a battleship. Once hailed for his work bringing the Coalition of Planets into existence, Archer is now a pariah. Undaunted, the captain keeps fighting, searching for allies and determined to do his duty: to save Earth and forge a new federation of planets.
I was really reluctant going into this book. The first half of the Romulan War duology, Beneath the Raptor’s Wing, was not a favourite of mine. In fact, the Enterprise books have been less than stellar for me. I think part of it is due to the fact that Enterprise doesn’t really have a solid premise of its own. Like the original series and Next Generation, Enterprise is simply about humanity exploring the Alpha Quadrant and dealing with local politics and the “alien of the week.” These three series are very similar and I think, because of this, the strongest of the three stands out as the best, which I feel is Next Generation. (Deep Space Nine and Voyager have very distinct storylines and environments that allow them to stand on their own.)
It’s also hard to get too excited about a war when you already know a big part of the outcome. Earth and Romulus are in an uneasy peace — really more just a state of non-aggression — by the time Original Series comes around, so we know that it ends without one race conquering the other. Also, for all the threats against Earth and Vulcan, we know they will escape relatively unharmed. As well, as I mentioned, I didn’t find the first book, Beneath the Raptor’s Wing, to be all that captivating. If I remember correctly, I felt it dragged on.
Now that I’m catching up with my reading, I have a small pile of Enterprise books that I bought and never read… and so now I have to start digging into them.
And was I ever surprised by how much I’m enjoying my re-experiencing the realm of Enterprise.
This second half of the Romulan War carried along nicely, jumping from event to event and nicely detailing how this crisis leads up to the founding of the Federation. (The actual founding and growth of the Federation is currently being explored by Christopher L. Bennett in his Rise of the Federation novels, which I’m currently reading through.)
This book helped me fall in love with Enterprise again. I’m enjoying getting to know the characters again and experiencing the world one more time. Despite the difficulty of maintaining tension when the outcome is reasonably obvious, Martin does a good job of grabbing the reader and carrying them along.
To Brave the Storm was a high quality entry in the Enterprise series, one that was both enjoyable and energizing. I’m powering through my remaining Enterprise books as you read this.