A new ship, a new crew, a new mission. The Thallonian Empire has collapsed and the USS Excalibur has been sent by Starfleet to offer aid. The crew consists of old friends from The Next Generation such as Elizabeth Shelby, Robin Lefler and Dr Selar but it is the new characters who are the more interesting. McKenzie Calhoun, one time rebel leader, now starship captain; Zak Kebron, a Brikar best described as a walking cliff face, Soleta, half-Romulan, half-Vulcan; Mark McHenry, human, but more like a Vulcan than most Vulcans; and Burgoyne 172, a dual gender Hermat.
Definitely an enjoyable piece of literary escapism.
Captains Calhoun and Picard team up to stop a madman from taking over the world, for which they both have their methods for working undercover, and Calhoun gets to hit Admiral Jellico (who is not impressed about it). Meanwhile, back on board the Excalibur, Riker has been ordered to take over the ship, which Shelby isn't happy about, although she does enjoy winding him up with the eccentricities of the crew.
Its fairly safe to say that not a lot actually happens in this book. The best bit about it is that you don't have to have read any of the other books in the Double Helix series to understand what is going on. Its quite good, but its mostly action, and even that's never really life-threatening enough.
The best bits are set aboard the Excalibur, but does anyone have any idea why Riker and Picard recognise Morgan Lefler?
After hearing stories of how Captain Calhoun and the Excalibur deafeated hoardes of giant bird-planets, most of the ones left in Sector 221-G decide to worship Calhoun as their Saviour. However, this leads to various madmen then trying to kill people, as you'd expect really.
Simply put, the plot involves most of the crew either sleeping with each other, or thinking about doing it. The nastiness of the Redeemers is revealed, and there are some interesting, if unexplained, goings-on around an old prophet's cave. Its alright, but not as good as the standard set by the first four books.
Lieutenant Soleta investigates the strange goings-on on the planet Calhoun was abducted on, and in the process finds out the truth about the reveared prophet Ontear. Robin Lefler finds her mother is alive and well, despite evidence to the contrary several years previously. And the crew deal with the aftermath of sleeping with each other.
Unfortunately, this book really has to be read after Martyr, which is not the same for the others in this series. The stuff with Lefler's mother is very strange, especially the bits involving an old friend of hers and a big gun. This ones not actually that good either.
A daring pilot, Xyon discovers a plot to kidnap and torture a girl called Riella and so he sets off to rescue her. However, many people turn out to want to know her secrets, including the Redeemers, the Dogs of War, and Si Cwan, who believes she is his sister, who was hidden from him by an enemy of his.
This book is strange for a New Frontiers book. It barely involves any of the Excalibur crew. Its difficult to understand the phenomenon of the Quiet Place, even when it is revealed. Its not actually that good, and given that the plot is revealed in the next one, I'd recommend missing this one out entirely.
A strange creature or group of creatures known as the Black Mass has terrorised the galaxy for years. Now, the Redeemers have discovered it is on a course toward their home planet, and they are determined to do something about it, even if it involves deceiving the Excalibur crew.
This is possibly the best New Frontiers book so far. There is the leader of the Redeemers, the Overlord, and Captain Calhoun trying to outwit each other, and the relationships between different members of the crew. Also, there's possibly the most annoying cliffhanger ending ever. The only problem is that the series is starting to turn into a soap opera, with all the characters having crises the entire time.
Still not up to the standard of the earlier books but still worth a read if you're a fan. This perhaps suffers a little due to the absence of Calhoun but the humour is still there and this gives a chance to expand the other characters. In particular an encounter with Q brings us a new mystery about the background of one of our enigmatic characters