Savage Trade by Tony Daniel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Enterprise is sent to investigation the loss of communications with the science outpost Zeta Gibraltar at the outskirts of the Alpha Quadrant in a region of space known as the Vara Nebula a huge spawning ground for new stars and totally unexplored by Federation vessels. Upon arrival the outpost is found to be deserted yet there is something not quite right apart from the blood and an alien body part, some quarters are furnished with what amounts to antique items totally out of place but the chase is on as the Enterprise follows an ion trail deep into the nebula.
So that's the basic premise of this story by Tony Daniel, a mystery at the edge of explored space and maybe the rise of a threat to the security of the Federation and who or what had such lavious furnished quarters on what was advertised as a simple science outpost? Of course the novel is well fleshed out with a Vulcan official who serves under Sarek and represents the Federation because as per usual Starfleet hasn't quite been honest with what Kirk and the Enterprise have to deal with and she is written well and her ties to Spock also add a lot of depth to the story. The protagonists and antagonists are maybe the weak parts of the novel but while I can't say they really got me excited at least the protagonists were developed throughout the story and I do have to say I enjoyed the twist in the story near the end.
Overall a solid original series novel, not quite as good for me as Tony's last TOS novel "The Devil's Bargain" but enjoyable in it's own right and it's never really a bad idea to mine the original televised series for characters and races to expand upon.
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