Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope
By Una McCormack
“Every end has a beginning…and the electrifying new novel, Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope (Gallery Books; on sale now), will detail the events that take place prior to the premiere of the eagerly awaited new Star Trek TV series.
“Fans of the new Star Trek: Picard series have been clamoring to known what led up to the dramatic events that began in the show’s premiere episode. The answers to their questions lie in Star Trek: The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack, an original novel and prequel to the television series.
“This new series follows Jean-Luc Picard into the next chapter of his life, and The Last Best Hope sheds new light on what brought him there and features the new characters from the series, as well.”
Part I: The Hope 2318-2382
Part II: The Best 2383-2384
Part III: The Last 2385
The Last Best Hope fills in readers on the events that happened before Star Trek: Picard, giving backstory on Picard, Raffi, Dr. Jurati and more. More of the Romulan culture is revealed, and the initial rescue efforts from the Romulan worlds are detailed.
However, bad news and political decisions will have repercussions for the main players in the story, as well as those in the line of danger on the Romulan worlds.
Those wanting to know more about the backstories will be particularly delighted and the Raffi backstory explains her behavior on Star Trek: Picard. And it’s always a delight to learn more about the Romulans.
As a fan of the Romulans, I was looking forward to this book and I buzzed right through it. There is plenty happening on the Romulan worlds and the Romulans are an assorted bunch; regular Joes trying to get by and survive, those trying to do their duty and questioning it, those buying the party line, those who are just terrible, and those who are outright crazy. It’s a fascinating look into a culture that hasn’t been fully explored and will now only be explored going forward after the destruction of their homeworld and some colony worlds. At least Vulcan culture was well-known before the explosion in Star Trek (2009).
Some of the characters on Star Trek: Picard had their histories explored in this book, and while I was not a big fan (thus far) of Raffi on the televised series, what the book reveals changed my mind. One can see how she went in the direction she did. Dr. Agnes Jurati, on the other hand, I dislike her even more than I do on the show. It was good to get to know some of these characters a little better. Those looking for more of Zhaban and Laris will be disappointed as they’re not in the book. I know the comics delve into them, but not like a novel would.
It was interesting to see the political decisions and how both sides had those solidly opposed to Federation help. The Romulans, with their paranoia and secret nature would naturally be suspicious and would not want to reveal anything that might be used against their remaining surviving members; plus they have a healthy dose of pride. This reminds me of today’s China and their Coronavirus crisis, although of course, the story is meant to be a futuristic depiction of the Middle East immigration today into countries with different cultures.
The Federation has its reasons for being wary; helping an enemy who would hurt them if it could. It takes a special nobility to want to help those who include those who want to destroy you. I could honestly see both points of view when it came to rescuing the Romulans – will rescuing the Romulans come back to bite the Federation later?
There is a financial cost that the Federation and its worlds would have to bear to fund the rescue effort. Money would have to be spent and career goals put on hold, for years, even decades. Some Federation worlds would suffer as their help would be deferred to help the Romulans. Some of these worlds were not happy about this and their input was part of the decision-making regarding the rescue effort.
At any rate, the Synth attack changed everything. Readers find out why the Federation made its decision, why Picard made his and how the decision impacted everyone involved.
It’s a fascinating book with parallels to our modern world. One thing you will take away from the book is that there are no easy answers and everything comes with a price tag. How much will a country (or a Union or a Federation, etc.) pay and what will it cost them? In a perfect world, or quadrant, or universe, saving lives would matter. Regrettably, that place doesn’t exist, not even in the make-believe world of Star Trek. Imperfect people and races make imperfect decisions. It’s very sad for those who pay who are almost always not the politicians and big-wigs. This is the case in this book. Those Romulans who are well-connected aren’t going to die on Romulus or its colony worlds, only its little people will. And those well-connected uncaring Federation politicians and other big-wigs won’t lose a night’s sleep over decisions made. Only the honorable ones like Picard will agonize over those decisions.
I’d give the book an A, but since Zhaban and Laris were excluded, I’ll drop it to a B+.
Author: Una McCormack
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: February 11, 2020
Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope is available as a hardback for $11.59 on Amazon or as an eBook for $12.99. The Last Best Hope is also available as an audiobook for $19.84. To order, head to the link located here.