War Stories One and TwoBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at December 13, 2002 - 9:52 PM GMT
Title: Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers: War Stories, Book One
Author: Keith R.A. DeCandido
Publication Date: November 2002
Title: Starfleet Corps of Engineers: War Stories, Book Two
Author: Keith R.A. DeCandido
Publication Date: December 2002
The two part novel War Stories has a very different tone from most of the other S.C.E. books and makes for a nice change of pace to the series. Series co-creator, editor and author Keith R.A. DeCandido presents for your enjoyment a story that can be relished on many different levels.
Androssi Overseer Biron has twice been foiled by the efforts of the crew of the USS da Vinci and his is a personality that does not take kindly to failure. In an effort to get to know his enemy and find a weakness that he might be able to exploit in a future encounter, Biron obtains the log entries of members of the da Vinci crew. Through those log entries we are given an opportunity to understand how some of the regular characters' past experiences during the Dominion War effect their present situation. Additionally the war flashbacks are great reading all on their own, dramatizing the pressures of war in an exceedingly dramatic and compelling way.
Book one focuses on the experiences of Dr. Elizabeth Lense, cryptographer Bartholomew Faulwell and Commander Sonya Gomez. Dr. Lense, serving as chief medical officer aboard the USS Lexington, is overwhelmed by the carnage of battle as she struggles to balance duty with bitter resentment over her treatment at the hands of Starfleet. The ever-inventive Ms. Gomez, serving as the chief engineer aboard the USS Sentinel, makes her own contributions to the success of the war effort while Bart Faulwell serving on Starbase 92 finds love as he cracks Dominion codes.
The second book is set on the da Vinci where the ship comes under attack while attempting to repair a vital communications relay in the Phicus system. The predecessors of some of the current crew are featured along with most of the now familiar characters. Bironís perusal of this small slice of S.C.E. history illustrates both the strengths and weaknesses of the da Vinciís inimitable crew leaving the reader with no doubt that Biron is looking forward to facing them again.
Androssi Overseer Biron is a villain to appreciate: arrogant, cunning, intelligent, patient and absolutely ruthless. He is a fascinating character despite the fact that in this outing he is for the most part simply an observer. The reader is able to gain a real sense of what makes Biron such a formidable foe.
Book one provides the most reading satisfaction of the two parts to this story. It offers more variety and is much more character driven, providing a much more intimate glimpse of the primary personalities involved and more interesting secondary characters. The battle sequences rivet your attention--the horror and extreme anxiety of battle becoming almost palpable at times.
Book two is much shorter, only two-thirds of the length of book one. Commander Salek, predecessor to Sonya Gomez, figures prominently in the plot providing a counterpoint to the quirkiness of the more familiar crew members, but unfortunately he isnĎt given the opportunity to become more than that. The action that unfolds as the da Vinci crew comes under fire from Dominion forces during the repair of the communications relay is edge-of-your-seat stuff despite the foreknowledge that the ship will prevail.
War Stories succeeds in providing everything that readers of this series could hope for and more. Both book one and two are available for download now in all three ebook formats (Palm Digital, Adobe and Microsoft Reader) and are obtainable from a number of online booksellers.
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.