Shadows on the Sun by Michael Jan Friedman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Shadows on the Sun is an unashamedly Dr Leonard "Bones" McCoy novel and sheds some not canon light onto his early years before and just after joining Starfleet. We learn about how he met his wife in high school and their relationship leading up to marriage and the birth of their daughter and then the collapse of the marriage which paved the way to joining Starfleet.
Present day Enterprise as it completes it's final cruise (post Undiscovered Country) receives new orders to ferry two diplomats to the world known as Ssan which is being racked by a civil war between the existing Federation friendly government and an outlawed sect of assassins once held in high esteem by this world's population. It turns out that the diplomats are Jocelyn Treadway along with her husband Clay, yes the former wife of McCoy. The Enterprise has been given this particular assignment as McCoy himself spent some time on Ssan during the last crisis when the Federation supported the government with medical aid.
The novel spends a good portion of it's time exploring McCoy as a young man in his native Georgia with Jocelyn as well on his first assignment as a young doctor on the war torn Ssan learning exactly what sort of Doctor he will become when faced with the horrors of war. The rest of the novel concerns the ramifications of McCoy having to face his wife after so many years and deal with Clay who seems to have something to prove by taking risky chances when dealing with an Assassination cult deeply embedded in the psyche of the Ssan people. The initial contact goes very badly and members of the party are taken hostage leading to an even more dangerous rescue attempt and a surprise for McCoy as his past comes back to haunt him even more so than his wife.
Shadows of the Sun was a very entertaining read, McCoy's family life pre-starfleet was illuminating and his time learning what it takes to be a Starfleet Doctor explained a lot of who he came to be when serving on a Starship. I liked the insights into the Assassination culture and the one on one discussions between McCoy and his Ssan patient were fascinating as was the reactions from his friends and colleges. A highly recommended novel for anyone even mildly interested in McCoy and a sold Trek story if not.
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