Stargazer: EnigmaBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at September 12, 2004 - 5:00 PM GMT
Title: Star Trek: Stargazer: Enigma
Author: Michael Jan Friedman
Release Date: August 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The newest title in Michael Jan Friedman's Stargazer series, Enigma, is now available. A quick, light read, I would hesitate to call Enigma great, but it did prove to be somewhat entertaining in a very soap opera kind of way.
Set shortly after the events of last years Stargazer novel, Oblivion, Enigma opens with the arrival of Jean-Luc Picard's bane, Admiral Arlen McAteer, who makes it quite clear to the young captain that he wants him stripped of his command. Thankfully the Admiral doesn't stay long as he as other ships to inspect and he soon departs in a shuttlecraft accompanied by the Stargazer's first officer, Commander Ben Zoma, Ensign Cole Paris and a contingent of security officers to rendezvous with the U.S.S. Antares. Before they can reach the Antares that vessel is attacked and crippled by an unknown foe. The Antares isn't the only ship attacked and it soon becomes obvious that the mysterious alien fleet is headed for the heart of the Federation.
For anyone unfamiliar with this series Enigma would not make a good jumping off point. The story picks up character-driven plot threads from the previous novels that could be confusing if you aren't already familiar with the characters and their individual storylines and there are a lot of ongoing threads to keep track of in this series. However those who have been following these novels should enjoy Enigma if for no other reason than that Enigma at last provides the answers to the mystery surrounding Lieutenant Ulelo.
Enigma also succeeds in allowing McAteer to at last become a more three dimensional character. He's still an unlikable jerk, but at last we begin to understand him. Unfortunately despite some interesting character moments there isn't much to really recommend this novel. The plot is uneven and Friedman never really succeeds in creating a sense of urgency or suspense in the narrative.
If you enjoy this series for the characters, you'll undoubtedly enjoy Stargazer: Enigma. However if you are looking for a compelling action/adventure tale I would give this one a pass.
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.