A Time for War, A Time for PeaceBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at October 27, 2004 - 12:27 AM GMT
Title: Star Trek: A Time for War, A Time for Peace
Author: Keith R.A. DeCandido
Release Date: October 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When the A Time To… novel series began this past February readers knew it would end where the movie Star Trek: Nemesis began. The only uncertainty was how the various authors involved in the series would arrive there. Along the way the crew of the USS Enterprise-E has endured much and proven even more during a series of harrowing missions. With A Time for War, A Time for Peace, author Keith R.A. DeCandido provides an eminently satisfying conclusion to the saga with a gripping tale you'll find difficult to put down. The balance of this review will contain some spoilers for the previous novels in the series.
The last novel in this series, A Time to Heal, ended with the resignation of the Federation President Min Zife but the repercussions of the reprehensible Tezwa affair continue to reverberate throughout both the Federation and the Klingon Empire. As A Time for War, A Time for Peace opens the Federation embassy on Qo'nos is seized by a group of renegade Klingons opposed to the Empire's alliance with the Federation while back on Earth preparations get underway to elect a new Federation president. Meanwhile, the Enterprise-E prepares to welcome a team of specialists appointed by Starfleet Command to carry out a high level inspection of the ship and her crew and having accepted command of the U.S.S. Titan, Commander William Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi begin planning their wedding.
It's been a long road to the culmination of the A Time To… novels. Over the course of the nine novels we've seen the familiar characters struggle to overcome the stigma of the unjust censure aimed at Captain Picard following the incident in the Rashanar Sector. It hasn't always been a smooth road but as the series progressed it slowly built momentum. This final installment, A Time for War, A Time for Peace, is the critical component that allows the entire series to fulfill its hype.
Keith R.A. DeCandido dexterously references each of the previous novels in the series and wraps everything up as neatly as you could possibly hope for. Lighter in tone than the previous novels A Time for War, A Time for Peace sets a quick pace seamlessly moving from subplot to subplot as DeCandido masterfully draws together all the story threads. Despite knowing the ultimate ending DeCandido still manages to throw in quite a few surprises.
DeCandido's characterization of the Next Generation characters is dead on and he utilizes them extremely well. As you turn the pages and the story unfolds you can't help but feel gratified by the sense of appropriateness that continues to build, the characters are at all times treated with respect and affection. By the end you can't imagine things unfolding in any other way.
At times A Time for War, A Time for Peace reads like a who's who of Star Trek. There are a myriad of familiar faces, alien races, and episode and movie references sprinkled throughout. The references are subtle enough to enhance the story without interfering with the narrative flow. The same could be said for the humor that DeCandido manages to inject into several of the scenes.
One of my favorite elements of the story was the election campaign of the two candidates for the office of Federation President. DeCandido's characterization of the political games inherent in any election decided by the popular vote, even in the 24th century is extremely entertaining. The candidates Nan Bacco, Governor of Cestus III, and Ktarian Special Emissary Arafel Pagro are both compelling characters. A strong staff surrounds each, and through the process of the election the reader gains insight into the works of the Federation government.
In addition to wrapping up this series DeCandido also accomplishes the task of setting up what is to follow. The epilogue to A Time for War, A Time for Peace is set after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis and provides the perfect transition for those authors taking the next steps with these characters. With the ending of the movie leaving some of the characters on the brink of moving on and taking the next steps in their lives and careers there will now be entirely new novels set on board the U.S.S. Titan and the post-Nemesis Enterprise-E in addition to books set within the TNG television and movie era. A preview of the first of the U.S.S. Titan novels, Taking Wing, is also included.
A Time for War, A Time for Peace is as impressive as it is satisfying in every respect.
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.