Titan: The Red KingBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at October 25, 2005 - 9:57 PM GMT
Title: Star Trek Titan: The Red King
Authors: Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin
Release Date: October 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When they were tasked with launching the new literary series Star Trek Titan, Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin not only took on the responsibility of establishing a new ship and crew but also of wrapping up the loose story threads from the movie Star Trek: Nemesis. The end of Nemesis established that the Titan's first mission would take the ship to Romulan space under the command of Captain William T. Riker. Beyond that fact, it was up to the imagination of the authors to fill in the big blank canvas, a commission that began with the bestselling title Taking Wing. With the newly released novel Star Trek Titan: The Red King, the second in the series, Mangels and Martin complete their task with an absorbing character driven story that more than satisfactorily wraps everything up and leaves the series poised to move forward.
In Taking Wing we learned that the explosion of Shinzon's ship, the Scimitar, resulted in a rift in Romulan space. In The Red King, the USS Titan, along with Commander Donatra's Romulan fleet, has been pulled through the rift 200,000 light-years into the Small Magellanic Cloud - a region of space inhabited by the Neyel, a long-sundered offshoot of humanity. When Titan's science team discovers that the rift is allowing a proto universe to expand, causing surrounding space to erase itself, the crew is forced to weigh the scientific and philosophical implications of what they have discovered and make some difficult choices.
The Red King follows up on both the events of Taking Wing and the Lost Era novel The Sundered, which was also written by Mangels and Martin, but it is not necessary to have read either of those books to enjoy The Red King. There is more than enough information within the narrative for a reader completely unfamiliar with either of the previous books to feel right at home, though those familiar with the events of The Sundered will find many of the story elements particularly gratifying.
Mangels and Martin have to walk a very fine line with the plot of The Red King, balancing the need to continue the development of the main characters with the needs of a unique story. For the most part they handle it well, but the plot at times shows the strain of trying to tackle a little too much. Despite that however, the small touches and great character interactions make The Red King an enjoyable reading experience.
Due to the needs of the story, the cast of characters is so large in The Red King that it would be quite easy to become a bit lost as the plot unfolds trying to keep them all straight, but the author's attention to detail allows the variety to enhance rather than detract from the story. The dissimilar attitudes and values create the tension and conflict that drive story forward.
By the conclusion of The Red King the big blank canvas that was Star Trek Titan has begun to take shape in a very promising way.
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.