The Lost Years by J.M. Dillard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
So what did happen in the year or so after the Enterprise returned after her first five year mission, much has been speculated in fan fiction but in The Lost Years we get as close to cannon as you can in novel form. Kirk is adamant he will not accept a promotion to the Admiralty and most of the core crew expect to serve with him once again. It comes as a surprise when Kirk is convinced to hold flag rank and Spock and McCoy do not take it well as revealed in the novel.
The core narrative focuses initial on the comings and goings of the crew and then concentrates on the three main characters of Kirk, Spock and McCoy who have gone their separate ways but events conspire to bring them back together albeit not in a joyful way. We know from the The Motion Picture that the three are estranged when the Enterprise refit is nearly complete and the novel certainly fills in all the gaps to explain that disturbing situation.
I'm not going to go into specifics but all three main character arcs worked very well and the encompassing narrative centered on Vulcan was perfect, no other world really would have been able to set in motion the events that would drive our classic trifecta.
The Lost Years gave us some interesting twists, humour and tragedy while staying true to the characters we know and love and still delivered on the promise of the era when the crew were deprived of the all encompassing safety that was their home away from home, Enterprise.
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