Kevin Dilmore - Shastrix Books

Kevin Dilmore

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Purgatory's Key

Purgatory's Key

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8th October 2016

The third and final part of Star Trek's fiftieth anniversary celebratory trilogy follows Kirk and his crew, and selected special guests, as they attempt to tie up the many problems that the last two books have raised.

Ultimately I suppose that is where this story suffers - it doesn't really have the chance to set up its own internal plot, but instead is left to put the toys back away. While this does lead to some interesting quite science fictiony concepts that get explored, it also drives a secondary plot which seems bolted on and doesn't seem to add much other than to delay the conclusion of the story. I also felt that some of the detail went over my head - whether because I missed something key or something key was missing - which meant that although I got the ending it wasn't entirely clear how or why we had got there.

The characters didn't all feel quite as fleshed out as in the previous stories, and I didn't find them as engaging, particularly the special guests. It also felt in places like this novel had been written without an understanding of what was happening in the others, as several scenes have characters reflecting on having not done something before that they had only just done in the previous book.

Overall it did well at wrapping things up, but I don't think it was as strong as the other novels. Admittedly, I'm not really an Original Series fan and so might not be the target audience, but it hasn't done anything to make we want to pick up anything else from this era in the near future.

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A Time to Harvest

A Time to Harvest

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7th January 2010

The second half of this duology is a slight improvement on the first, containing more action and a plot that moves more quickly. It's also easier to follow as we are aligned with both parties this time from the outset and can understand what's going on from both points of view.

One thing I've noticed and am ambivalent about is that the authors like to drop in references to a lot of prior events in the Star Trek continuity, but then take up a couple of paragraphs explaining it in a little too much detail. In one or two places this is justified where it is essential to the plot (or, I suppose, filling in the reader on events of the first book - although why would you read the second part without reading the first, and both were published simultaneously so it's not like you could have forgotten...) but in others it seems a bit of overkill - why not just leave the references as an added bonus for those that will get them and let everyone else gloss over them? Instead I have a couple of paragraphs that I end up skipping over because I know what they are telling me.

The main thing that I dislike about this book though is the way it seems to be forced to build in the direction of the film Nemesis. Yes, I know that the entire point of this series is to fill the gap between Insurrection and Nemesis, but there are really irritating parts, particularly having to explain how Data lost his emotion chip, that I really wish these novels could have done without.

I'm hoping that the rest of this series will have slightly less introspective characters. Picard, La Forge, Crusher all seem to have been fairly grumpy in this one, which gets a bit over the top when it happens over and over again. Having said all the above, I still enjoyed reading this.

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A Time to Sow

A Time to Sow

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4th January 2010

The third 'A Time To...' book, while not a direct sequel in the truest sense to the second, is very definitely a follow on, in which Picard and the Enterprise are suffering from the damage inflicted on their reputation previously.

Unlike normal Trek novels, this series seems to have escape from the pattern where each book has to be focussed on an individual character, and it is more of an ensemble tome. Despite this, it gives an appearance of being biased slightly towards Geordi - but it's difficult to say whether this is real or just an appearance because he normally gets little more than a couple of scenes.

My only issue with this book is that it is a bit slow to get going. It starts well, but while interesting things are happening, the actual plot doesn't make an appearance until fairly near the end of this volume (the first half of a duology). This is followed by irritatingly little being revealed about the bad guy's identity before we reach the cliffhanger ending, or most of the detail of his motivation.

Overall I think this is in the upper half of the trek book ranking - it's certainly not bored me as I read it in an afternoon - though it has yet to make a mark as a really special adventure.

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Unreviewed books

Have Tech, Will Travel
Miracle Workers
The Sky's The Limit

Top books

  1. A Time to Harvest
  2. Purgatory's Key
  3. A Time to Sow