Jim's Books

Force and Motion

Jeffrey Lang

Force and Motion
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ISBN: 9781501110733


In 2367, Captain Benjamin Maxwell of the starship Phoenix ordered the destruction of a Cardassian warship and a supply vessel, killing more than six hundred crew members. Maxwell believed that the Cardassians were arming for a new attack on the Federation, and though history eventually proved he was probably correct, the Federation had no choice but to court martial and incarcerate him.

Almost twenty years have passed, and now Maxwell is a free man, working as a maintenance engineer on the private science station Robert Hooke, home to crackpots, fringe researchers, and, possibly, something much darker and deadlier. Maxwell's former crewmate, Chief Miles O'Brien, and O'Brien's colleague, Lieutenant Commander Nog, have come for a visit. Unfortunately, history has proven that whenever O'Brien and Nog leave Deep Space 9 together, unpredictable forces are set into motion.

Reviewed on 6th July 2016

Jeffrey Lang returns to the Star Trek Novelverse with a book that, like his previous entry, takes place away from the ongoing narrative of the series. This time we join O'Brien and Nog as they head off on a slightly weird holiday to visit a former colleague, Benjamin Maxwell (who appeared once in a TNG episode).

It's a good fun adventure story. I really liked how it explores Maxwell in particular, reflecting in flashback over much of his life and exploring how he had evolved as a person over maybe twenty years since we had last encountered the character.

However the parts of the plot set in the 'modern day' part of the timeline were quite confusing, and I never really felt like I had a good understanding of what was going on, what the various characters' motivations were, and why events were unfolding in the way they were.

I've also become used to the novels telling a chapter in an ongoing story, tugging on threads left by earlier novels, leaving things dangling for the future, and evolving the characters. I didn't fee that this book did that - instead being much more in the 'toys back in the box' mould of earlier novels, and I found that quite frustrating that it just seemed to be an adventure rather than moving the lives of the main characters. It could be that I'm totally misremembering this though as its a few weeks since I read it.

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