Peter David - Shastrix Books

Peter David

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Strike Zone

Strike Zone

Peter David

4th December 2015

Book five of the Next Generation tie-in novels sees us joining the Enterprise D crew early in the second season, dropping references all the way through to some of the new aspects of the show that have been introduced - Riker's beard, Crusher's absence, Pulaski's presence, and the arrival of Guinan and Ten Forward.

It's also the first Star Trek novel by now-veteran author Peter David, one of the most famous authors in all of geek literature, and I'm amazed at how much he was allowed to get away with even back in the eighties. This is probably the most hilarious piece of Trek fiction I've read in all seventeen years I've been reading it. Right from the start David is joking around with the characters, especially Riker, and this makes it into a very entertaining novel that survives the decades between publication and reading extremely well.

What sadly hasn't survived intact is some of the background that David supplies for his characters. There's a lot of backstory and exposition that is later massively contradicted by later episodes (especially relating to the Klingons) or that the TV writers had probably planned but never followed up on (Picard/Pulaski). Despite this being me out of the plot a little, it's good fun and interesting in itself to see what was going through the minds of the writers back this early in the series.

Finally, the plot of this specific novel is also good - both the A and B stories are interesting and serve to explore the world well and bring up a number of points that deserve reflection and thought. I was intrigued to see the introduction of one character from a species over read about before I later Trek books by other authors, and I didn't expect to see inter-novel connections like that from so early on. Bit disappointed though that he's consistently referred to as an elf through the story, as that feels a tad racist.

Overall a really good and enjoyable novel and one I'm glad that my re-read brought to my attention. I'm now looking forward to reading more of David's output as I continue the series.

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The Returned part three

The Returned part three

Peter David

24th September 2015

The final part of this new New Frontier adventure follows up on everything we've seen in parts one and two. There are several vaguely interconnected threads that tie the characters together and demonstrate that Peter David still has what it takes to produce a solid, funny Trek adventure.

As always, the story is filled with imaginative twists, unexpected events (some very surprising!) and humorous moments that made the early New Frontier stories fantastic.

I'm pleased with how David has closed things in a little, focussing back on the original characters and enabling new readers to be drawn in (and old ones to remember). The trilogy as a whole has really impressed me - I'd been scared that it would be terrible, but actually really enjoyed it and hope that there will be more to come.

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The Returned part two

The Returned part two

Peter David

21st August 2015

The second part of Peter David's new e-novella trilogy about Captain Calhoun and the crew of the Excalibur follows directly from the cliffhanger at the end of part one, as the ship investigates a pocket universe while attempting to recover missing friends.

I found the secondary plot more interesting though - focussed on events on New Thallon and flashbacks giving new insight into the background of the Thallonians who have played such a big part in the New Frontier series.

Overall though, although it was funny, action-packed and fun to be back with the core of characters, it does feel a lot like a middle, and this part doesn't seem like it stands alone as well as the first ebook. Strong setup though for part three, which is only a few weeks away.

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Buy ebook: UK
The Returned part one

The Returned part one

Peter David

26th July 2015

It's been a few years since the last outing of the USS Excalibur as part of the novel-only Star Trek: New Frontier series, and I had thought that the series had run its course. I’ve been reading the stories since they began in the late 1990s, and although I found the first couple of tranches very enjoyable, felt it had lost its way toward the later end of its life.

So I was surprised when 'The Returned' was announced - a set of three ebooks continuing the adventures of Captain Calhoun and his crew. And, despite having little recollection of where the most recent books had left the characters, I found it easy to pick up and get back into this world.

Peter David gradually reintroduces the key characters, and it feels a bit like he's going around getting the band back together. This first part of the story is very much focussed on laying the land - getting the characters into place, getting the reader up to speed, and introducing some of the elements, both new and old, that will come into play (presumably) in the following two volumes.

A very satisfactory short story and introduction to this trilogy, and one that I felt served well as a reintroduction. I’m definitely going to continue reading with the remaining two ebooks over the coming months, and hope that they are just as good.

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Buy ebook: UK
Pulling Up Stakes (part 2)

Pulling Up Stakes (part 2)

Peter David

21st September 2013

The second half of Pulling Up Stakes continues the story from part one, in which Vince, the vampire hunter who is himself a vampire, is drawn into an unexpectedly complicated situation that he's desperate to get out of.

It's taken me some time to read this ebook, reading it in chunks over the past nine months when the opportunity has arisen and I've not had any dead-tree books to occupy myself with. I was surprised to find though that this didn't impede my enjoyment of the story, and my memories of the story so far hadn't faded as much as I thought they might.

The novel is an interesting take on the vampire meme and Peter David certainly shows that he's able to think outside the box with his storylines. From what sounds like a simple premise he's created a rich world inhabited by deep and varied characters with a complex set of storylines.

Probably the best vampire story I've read, and definitely a world with plenty of possibilities for more stories to come.

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Pulling Up Stakes (part 1)

Pulling Up Stakes (part 1)

Peter David

30th January 2013

The first half of Peter David's Pulling Up Stakes introduces us to Vince, a vampire hunter with a deadly secret - he is a vampire himself.

David builds a surprisingly rich world in a short space of time, giving his characters round edges and creating a tale that is easily believable. It's an interesting concept to set up what appears to be a straightforward story, but becomes increasingly complicated throughout.

The author's usual sense of humour shines through, filling the first-person narrative with real-world references that amuse at the expense of other popular vampire franchises.

It was great to have something short yet memorable to read through over a weekend and I've already downloaded part two to continue reading when I next have an odd e-book moment.

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Blind Man's Bluff

Blind Man's Bluff

Peter David

24th May 2011

The latest entry in the New Frontier series is another disappointment. It makes for a very quick read that hardly justifies the trade paperback format and accompanying inflated price tag. My experience with it wasn't helped by the complete lack of memorability of 'Treason', the previous book in the series.

In 'Blind Man's Bluff', the aliens from 'Treason' are out for revenge, attacking Captain Calhoun on his home planet of Xenex, while he is also under assault from forces closer to home, including Morgan, the self-aware computer aboard the starship Excalibur.

As much as I used to love New Frontier, I've either grown out of it or it has lost its way. The plot is extravagant and unbelievable, and totally disconnected from the continuing storylines that other Star Trek authors are writing. The characters, once a rich, varied group, have been replaced with bland two-dimensional cardboard cut-outs, none of whom seem to have any existence except to be the butt of jokes from the superhero Calhoun has become.

Despite all this the book does have a few good points. There are some amusing moments (Doctor Who references) and for the most part the narrative is well written, it's really just the plot that lets it down. I imagine that for old time's sake I'll continue to read New Frontier when it comes along again, but I'm not going to find myself annoyed by the inevitable protracted delays to the publication date.

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Buy book: UK

Other reviewed books

Missing in Action

Unreviewed books

A Rock and a Hard Place
After the Fall
Before Dishonour
Being Human
Cold Wars
Dark Allies
Doomsday World
Double or Nothing
Fire on High
Gods Above
I, Q
New Frontier
No Limits
Once Burned
Stone and Anvil
The Quiet Place
The Siege
Triangle: Imzadi II
What Lay Beyond
Worf's First Adventure
Wrath of the Prophets

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