New Frontier: Missing in ActionBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at March 6, 2006 - 6:07 PM GMT
Title: Star Trek New Frontier: Missing in Action
Author: Peter David
Release Date: February 2006
Sitting down with a New Frontier novel by Peter David is a lot like going on a thrill ride. Even before you get to the end of the first page of Mission in Action, the bar locks across your lap and its non-stop action from there. The 19th novel in this groundbreaking series, Missing in Action is also the second book in a trilogy that began with last years title After the Fall. The characters may be a bit older, and in some ways a bit wiser, but they are definitely just as unconventional and amusing as when we first met them nine years ago.
After the Fall advanced the New Frontier storyline three years and in that book we learned of all the changes that had occurred in the lives of the crews of the U.S.S. Excalibur and the U.S.S. Trident. Missing in Action picks up immediately from where After the Fall left off and if you haven’t read that book you are liable to be a bit lost reading this newest installment.
When the ship stops shaking, Captain Mackenzie Calhoun and the crew of the Excalibur discover that they have been catapulted into another dimension where an ancient war rages between two powerful alien races, each determined to dominate the other. But Calhoun has no intention of sticking around long and adopting the time-honored philosophy of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", he takes it upon himself to somehow, by any means necessary, persuade one side or the other to help him and his crew get back home.
Meanwhile, the shadow of war has fallen over the New Thallonian Protectorate, where the embattled Si Cwan faces growing treachery as he attempts to maintain his tenuous hold on power. With Starfleet and the Federation declaring Sector 221-G off-limits, Admiral Elizabeth Shelby and Captain Kat Mueller decide to take matters into their own hands when they ignore orders and try to find some way of rescuing the Excalibur. Luckily help comes from an unexpected ally, Soleta, whose shifting loyalties are put to the test as tragedy looms.
With his usual aplomb Peter David has spun a tale that, when read, is not soon forgotten. Missing in Action has a playful tone that showcases David’s trademark humor but it also has plenty of action and suspense. The plot has several nice twists and a couple of big surprises including the death of a major character.
The character development is excellent, particularly of the female characters, and most notably of Robin Lefler. Lefler’s character grated on me at first but she has matured a lot. The character that has undergone the most dramatic change in the leap forward in time is Zak Kebron and I have to admit that in After the Fall I missed the old Kebron but in Missing in Action it’s apparent that although he might be a softer, gentler Kebron, he’s still just as entertaining.
Missing in Action doesn’t end quite as dramatically as After the Fall but still leaves plenty to be resolved and lots to look forward to.
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.