A Time to Heal
A cataclysmic war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire has been miraculously averted, and a new government is finally in place on the planet Tezwa. But deadly secrets still threaten the fragile peace accord. Rebels loyal to the old Tezwa regime have captured Commander Riker and are willing to kill to achieve their goals.
Reviewed on 5th March 2010
A Time to Heal is another good David Mack contribution to the star trek line, although I didn't find it as interesting as the previous novel in the series. This one seemed more predictable, with the culmination of the plot fairly obvious on the basis of knowing later events from seeing the film set later than it. This stripped Riker's incarceration of all its weight and made Doctor Crusher's ridiculously slow decision making tortuous.
The story itself has surprising and interesting parallels with the Iraq war - here the Federation is fighting rebels on a planet it has invaded (but not 'occupied'), where the local leader has gone into hiding, and it was the Federation that had supplied the planet with weapons in the first place. Troi's temptations to torture a captive general were really well written - although possibly a little implausible - as her actions in my book certainly add up to psychological torture and I'm very surprised that the Starfleet regulations permit her to get away with it.
Mack writes the minor characters aboard the Enterprise just as well as the regulars, particularly focusing on Vale and Peart in security and Kell Perim - the way he dealt with these characters was really surprising and refreshing. Mack has also made a good bash at getting some romance into his novel - in one case I felt it really worked but in the other I found it unsatisfying, going the way of most trek romance in seeming very out of character.
Overall, I've enjoyed Mack's two novels in this series, and am glad that the final episode is by another of the best trek authors of the current generation, as going back to some of the recent dross after this would be a let down.