Star Trek: Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference
by Christopher L. Bennett
“The time has come to act. Following the destructive consequences of the Ware crisis, Admiral Jonathan Archer and Section 31 agent Trip Tucker both attempt to change their institutions to prevent further such tragedies. Archer pushes for a Starfleet directive of non-interference, but he faces opposition from allies within the fleet and unwelcome support from adversaries who wish to drive the Federation into complete isolationism. Meanwhile, Tucker plays a dangerous game against the corrupt leaders of Section 31, hoping to bring down their conspiracy once and for all. But is he willing to jeopardize Archer’s efforts – and perhaps the fate of an entire world – in order to win?
After a disastrous interference in a culture, Starfleet has to move on and figure out what to do next to keep the same thing from happening again. There are repercussions from their past actions and of course, plenty of politics as the Federation edges closer to the Prime Directive.
The story is a continuation of the Rise of the Federation series of books. While it can be read as a standalone book, it’s obviously best to read the previous books in the series. Bennett does provide plenty of information for readers who have not read those books in a recap of events, so it is not strictly necessary to do so.
The repression of the Saurian society is described in Patterns of Interference, with freedom being extinguished by the power-mad Maltuvis. The Orions would like the Federation to become isolationist for their own reasons, so they are working with Maltuvis to bring this about by committing atrocities to be blamed on the Federation. There are betrayals, or are they really betrayals? In the end, the Orions are vanquished and the Federation escapes the trap set for it, but another Federation foes takes the place of the Orions promising future problems.
A disillusioned Charles “Trip” Tucker is trying to take down Section 31 but aspects of his behavior become troubling and he is slow to realize that he is more Section 31 than he would like to be. Eventually, he finally does recognize this in himself, and he can address it and move on to a new chapter in his life.
With all of the politics and intrigue, there is still time for exploration. A new planet offers valuable pharmaceutical possibilities, but there is a catch – the Dryad plant life found on the planet may be sentient. Harvesting the Dryads must wait until its decided one way or the other if they are sentient, but someone proves to be too impatient to wait.
It’s always great to visit again with the former captain and crew of Star Trek: Enterprise and readers get to catch up with each of their favorite characters.
I’m not a big fan of politics and at times, one was pulled out of the story by references to issues that are current topics today. I didn’t necessarily buy that some of those issues would be issues in the 2160s. At any rate, I’m more interested in exploration and new lifeforms than current social ills, but that is my bias and readers who love politics will enjoy this book. One of the fun things about the story was when someone is betrayed, it was not always as clear-cut as one would think and their actions usually sprung out of a desire to protect their own loved ones.
Maltuvis is a typical dictator with the typical behavior of one and frankly, he was boring. It’s a pity he survived to live another day. I felt the same about the Orions and their casual sadism. Devna was an interesting character though and it would be interesting to see what becomes of her in the future.
I really enjoyed the B-story with the Dryads of Birnam, even more than the main story. That second story felt very “Star Trek” to me and the events were realistic.
Trip’s escape from Section 31’s ship was too contrived. How very convenient that he had this handy-dandy get-out-of-trouble device.
The Archer-Porthos story was sad but a good way to end Patterns of Interference as it brought two old friends back together in Archer’s time of need.
Author: Christopher L. Bennett
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Star Trek: Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference is available as a mass market paperback for $5.59 or as a Kindle eBook for $6.99. To order, head to the link located here.