The Folded World by Jeff Mariotte is the latest novel in my resurgence of interest with the original Star Trek series stories which I grew up reading first from the James Blish era and right up to the latest breed of authors who are tackling the adventures of the NCC1701. The Folded World tells the story of the Enterprise while on route to the homeworld of the Ixtoldans encounters a spatial anomaly which has trapped a number of space ships including the USS McRaven which was also making the trip to the ceremonies intended to seal the incorporation of Ixtoldan into the Federation. The ambassadors on board the Enterprise pressure Kirk to ignore the anomaly and any rescue attempt as they believe the official ceremony is too important to their world and future for Federation representation to be absent. However Kirk as you would expect will not abandon any Federation ship and her crew and once they figure out how to breach the anomaly two shuttles are dispatched and the investigation begins.
So back to the story itself, it starts on a world which we are given very little information about, it's pre-technology and seems to be under the thrall of superstition but with very real events happening which leaves the local population dying and/or missing. We then take a big step away into the world we know from Star Trek with the usual crew and ship with one or two additional characters which play their part especially Miranda Tikloko who was the sole survivor of the canon events from Balance of Terror. She was at the time of the slaughter of the outposts by the Romulans onboard a shuttle and survived by shutting down and going dark and was undetected. She continues to suffer from the trauma of seeing her friends die and being alone in the void of space and McCoy is trying to work her through her issues but it's clear she has earned her place on the crew and is performing her duties to the level expected of the flagship.
Alas I can't really go into many details about the events onboard the derelicts within the folded region of space just that there are many ships from different races and in this area of space where time is in flux and chaos rules being dead doesn't always mean you are not still there.
Some of the reviews I've read for the book have not been too complimentary however many have also stated they were not original series die hards but as huge fan of the original series the story worked very well and had echoes of other stories which dealt with graveyards of ships but added in the mystical element and a huge conspiracy to hide events from the long distance past. The character of Miranda worked very well and her survivor guilt which Kirk also had to deal with after Tarsus IV was a key part of the story, it did add a lot of weight and onboard the derelicts within the folded space becomes critical to their hopes for survival.
Overall I enjoyed the book and while everything eventually makes sense it did take me a while to put everything into place, the opening chapters dealing with this mysterious people felt too unattached to the story I was expecting and I wonder if maybe one or two readers would have been turned off before getting into the Trek they may have been expecting.
The Folded World Amazon UK & US
Jeff Mariotte Official Site