I.K.S. Gorkon: A Good Day To DieBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at October 31, 2003 - 11:36 AM GMT
Title: Star Trek: I.K.S. Gorkon Book One: A Good Day to Die
Author: Keith R.A. DeCandido
Release Date: November 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The pursuit of honour and glory is the heart of Klingon culture and once again Keith R. A. DeCandido proves with this magnificent new novel that he understands what it means to be Klingon. Book one of the new I.K.S. Gorkon series, A Good Day to Die reintroduces the crew of the Chancellor class I.K.S. Gorkon that fans first met in DeCandido's first Star Trek novel, Diplomatic Implausibility. Readers were immediately taken with this motley crew of Klingons serving under the command of Captain Klag, from The Next Generation's "A Matter of Honour". With this new series readers can once again delight in the exploits of the Gorkon crew as they embark on a mission to bring honour, glory and new territories to the Klingon Empire.
While exploring the previously uncharted Kavrot Sector in the Beta Quadrant the Gorkon discovers an M-Class world rich in resources the Empire desperately needs. However, instead of the populace of easily subdued primitives they expect to encounter, the crew of the Gorkon finds themselves facing the Children of San-Tarah, a race of warriors whose skill any Klingon can admire. In fact both groups find much to respect in the other. Klag and the leader of the San-Tarah, Me-Larr, come to an unusual decision; the fate of the San-Tarah will be decided by five martial contests. If the Klingons win the majority, the San-Tarah will willingly become subjects of the Empire, but if the San-Tarah are victorious the Klingons will depart and leave them in peace.
Even if you have not read any of DeCandido's previous books featuring the crew of the Gorkon, you can plunge right into A Good Day to Die. The author provides enough background within the narrative to allow a new reader to feel right at home without overdoing it to the point that those familiar with the characters and their previous exploits feel frustrated. But before you settle in to read A Good Day to Die you might want to poor yourself a large raktajino and bar the door, because once you start reading this splendid tale you will find it very difficult to stop.
This is indeed an adventure worthy of song, populated by lively characters that will have you enchanted from the first chapter. One of DeCandido's greatest skills as a writer is his ability to create multidimensional characters that you can't help but respond to. Some you'll despise and some you'll cheer, but most importantly the point of view of each character comes through loud and clear.
Life aboard a Klingon battleship comes vividly to life in the pages of A Good Day to Die and DeCandido continues to expand our knowledge of Klingon culture with his colorful prose. One particularly satisfying element is getting to know some of the 'grunts', the soldiers that make up the Gorkon's troop compliment. They are a diverse lot you can't help but be taken with. Leading the 15th squad is Wol, a fierce and highly intelligent female with a shadowy past. Those familiar with DeCandido's The Brave and the Bold duology might remember the jovial G'joth and the annoying Davork.
The author doesn't neglect to further develop the more familiar Gorkon characters either. Klag still continues to adjust to his new arm, Leskit is back, Commander Koran (DS9's "Soldiers of the Empire") joins the crew and Rodek is loosening up a bit. Readers are also introduced to Dorrek, Klag's brother and the commander of the I.K.S. K’mpec. There's a lot of bad blood and an intense sense of rivalry between the two brothers.
The tale begun in A Good Day to Die will be followed next month by the conclusion Honour Bound. And while the ending of A Good Day to Die will likely leave you salivating for more it also leaves you with no doubt that as far as this adventure goes, the best is yet to come.
Jacqueline Bundy reviews Star Trek books for the Trek Nation, writes monthly columns for the TrekWeb newsletter and the Star Trek Galactic News, and hosts the Yahoo Star Trek Books Group weekly chat.