Legacy by Michael Jan Friedman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Landing parties beam down to Alpha Octavius Four for a brief survey, Spock is attacked by a huge subterranean dwelling tentacled creature and is fortunate to be rescued before being eaten and is beamed back to the ship. Kirk then finds himself in an earthquake and as the world around him collapses the Enterprise receives a priority order to rush to a colony in the Beta Cabrini system which under attack. Scotty is forced to leave his missing Captain and landing party behind and deal with the threat of Merkaan pirates.
Spock is suffering from a toxin delivered by the creature that attacked him and McCoy is unable to find a cure so Spock imposes his own control on his metabolism to allow him to function. Spock is indeed the best man to deal with the Merkaan threat as years earlier serving under Christopher Pike he was a principal player in their defeat when first encountered.
Legacy chooses to split the main characters between two storylines, this makes sense to allow Spock to take center stage in dealing with a threat he is familiar with and for the "flashback" elements of his time with Pike not to feel out of place along with current Pike and Vina on Talos IV. It is a tricky juggling act and that's where Kirk's narrative fighting for survival along with three of his crew counterpoints the main story very well.
An enjoyable Star Trek novel made more so for the inclusion of a Pike both then and now and the focus on Spock without ignoring the regular characters as well as a villain with some substance and a mystery for Kirk to solve.
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