Grand DesignsBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at June 3, 2004 - 10:16 AM GMT
Title: Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers, #39 Grand Designs
Authors: Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore
Release Date: May 2004
The writing team of Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore are so at home with the characters and the fictional universe they are playing in that there is always a certain comfort level when you pick up something written by them. You expect an entertaining story that is uniquely Star Trek. With Grand Designs, the 39th installment of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers eBook series, they provide another delightful read that is the perfect diversion for an evening or a lazy afternoon.
Tensions between Rhaax III and their colony world have been escalating steadily until they stand on the brink of mutually assured destruction. Both sides have agreed to disarmament and the U.S.S. da Vinci is assigned to the diplomatic mission as weapons inspectors. Commander Gomez soon finds herself torn between the orders of the abrasive Ambassador Gabriel Marshall, who is in charge of the mission, and loyalty to her captain. When Tev, Pattie and Soloman are captured and the cease-fire abruptly broken, the crew of the da Vinci find themselves caught in the middle and out of time.
The authors don't muck about in Grand Designs. They just throw you headfirst into the fray when the story opens with the capture of Tev, Pattie and Solomon and then leaps back three weeks to tell the tale of how things progressed to that point. You are immediately hooked and don't want to stop reading until you know what happened. The plot just whizzes by, making the book seem much shorter than it actually is. Along the way there is plenty of characteristic humour and wonderful character moments sprinkled throughout the non-stop action.
Grand Designs is also surprisingly thought provoking. The central theme of two peoples brought to the brink of annihilation isn't new, but in this case it is refreshingly presented. By adding another angle and raising more than one question the authors catch you unawares when the surprise twist hits. You never see it coming.
There is definitely a lot more than anyone would suspect packed into the pages of Grand Designs — amusement most of all.
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.