The Captain's PerilBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at October 19, 2002 - 6:29 PM GMT
Title: Star Trek: Captainís Peril
Authors: William Shatner with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Publication Date: October 2002
Format: Hardback, Audio Book
I really had a hard time getting through Captainís Peril. Every time I picked it up I would tell myself it was bound to get better -- but unfortunately it never did. The first novel of a planned trilogy, Captainís Peril by William Shatner with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens was more than disappointing; it was sub-standard.
Taking advantage of Jean-Luc Picardís passion for archeology, James T. Kirk tempts his friend into taking a joint vacation on Bajor, where they plan to join the underwater excavation of the ancient city of Barítrila. After an unconventional arrival, the two captains find themselves caught up in a web of murder and deception. The conditions the two friends find themselves in lead Kirk to recall one of his first missions as captain of the Enterprise, and the flashbacks of that mission are interspersed with the story of intrigue in the archeology camp on post-Dominion War Bajor.
Both plots fail to engage sustained attention. There are momentary flashes of enjoyable narrative but they quickly dissolve into long-winded philosophical dialogue. Of the two plots, the early mission storyline is at least initially compelling as we glimpse a new captain who is unsure of himself and his officers. But Kirkís insecurities soon grow tiresome and I found myself disliking the character and hoping that Spock or Dr. Piper would shoot him out an airlock.
After the ludicrous arrival on Bajor via an orbital skydive, that storyline just continues to go downhill. It is entirely predictable and at times heavy-handed. The Bajoran characters are portrayed as thoroughly unlikable. They come across as backward, xenophobic fanatics. The most appealing character is the disguised Cardassian bad guy who was the root of all the trouble.
Shatner has often stated that issues he his facing in his personal life are often reflected in his novels. His writing is a kind of therapy for him. This is one therapy session that he would have been better off leaving in a counselorís office. The flashback plotline sets up the events to come in the subsequent novels that will continue the story. But based on the content of Captainís Peril, Iíll pass on more ĎShatnerverse.í Iíd rather remember the hero I grew up with, instead of the obnoxious chap portrayed in this novel.
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.