Disclosure: I’m a geek, which means I like Star Wars AND Star Trek. I also used to read a fair bit of Laurell K Hamilton. When I heard that Hamilton had written a Star Trek book, I added it to my radar—this was years ago and for a very long time the item in question was out of print. I checked PaperbackSwap and other sites, but had a hard time finding a reasonably priced copy. Boy, was I glad to see Amazon’s re-release of this, with a new cover. I snagged it as soon as I saw it and am very happy I bought it. Hamilton presents a compelling story that lends well to the Star Trek Universe.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise are called to help negotiate some peace talks on the dying planet of Oriana. Factions that have been at war for centuries are now ready to talk, with the help of Picard. Picard, Counselor Deanna Troi and Commander Worf beam down to the planet, as the Enterprise gets called away on a distress signal, and find that the peace talks quickly de-evolve as the death of a key negotiator dies, and a new faction (the Greens) arise. Picard is a murder suspect and it is up to Deanna and Worf to get to the bottom of the mystery of whom is the assassin before Picard is killed in three days time. Will they be able to break through this insular underground community in time, or will they have to return to the Enterprise without their Captain?
I enjoyed this story a lot more than I thought I would, as it includes two of my least favorite characters on the Enterprise (Note, I enjoyed Worf’s storylines and character a lot more in Deep Space Nine). And, surprisingly, I was not as motivated to hurry onto those parts to get to non-Deanna or non-Worf pages. Laurell K Hamilton did A LOT with both the characters actions and the way they spoke to endear me to them. For example, Deanna was tortured throughout the novel, and I finally understood the pain she must feel when surrounded by others in pain. Worf was a great and skilled negotiator, which I felt like was never really allowed for him in Star Trek : The Next Generation.
I also really enjoyed the secondary mission the Enterprise found themselves pursuing (mostly Data, Geordi and Beverly). There was a suspicious element that I enjoyed, along with the mystery of why the ship was distressed. It was great to see Geordi shine, despite it not being an engineering problem. There was one slight timing issue (it seemed that the ship would have expired by the time the final precautions were complete), but it was just a minor issue.
I credit Laurell K. Hamilton with the success of this novel. I waited a very long time to read this, and cannot believe it was so long. I am happy that I was able to snag an ebook. Hamilton’s characterizations and dialogue were on-point and perfect. I really liked this book, despite it heavily featuring two of my least-favorite (and most-weak) characters in Star Trek: The Next Generation! I felt like, had I read this when I was reading the books during the series run, I would have thought differently about Deanna Troi (and possibly Worf).
I was also able to find a picture of the original cover, as I had known it—how funny is this cover in comparison to the new cover? I really like the newer cover, but the old cover takes me back to the 90s and reading the series books while the series ran. I would have loved it had there been a lot more females writing episodes during that run.
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Nightshade by Laurell K. Hamilton can be found (or ordered) from your favorite retailer, available in paperback and ebook. Pick up yours now!