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Star Trek: A Singular Destiny

By Bill Williams
Posted at January 9, 2009 - 4:17 PM GMT

Star Trek: A Singular Destiny
Written by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Reviewed for by Bill Williams

Mass market paperback
384 pages, MSRP $7.99
Date of publication: January 2009

Synopsis: The cataclysmic events of Star Trek: Destiny have devastated known space. Worlds have fallen. Lives have been destroyed. And in the uneasy weeks that follow, the survivors of the holocaust continue to be tested to the limits of their endurance.

But strange and mysterious occurrences are destabilizing the galaxy's battle-weary allies even further. In the Federation, efforts to replenish diminished resources and give succor to millions of evacuees are thwarted at every turn. On the borders of the battered Klingon Empire, the devious Kinshaya sense weakness -- and opportunity. In Romulan space, the already-fractured empire is dangerously close to civil war.

As events undermining the quadrant's attempts to heal itself become increasingly widespread, one man begins to understand what is truly unfolding. Sonek Pran -- teacher, diplomat, and sometime adviser to the Federation President -- perceives a pattern in the seeming randomness. And as each new piece of evidence falls into place, a disturbing picture encompassing half the galaxy begins to take shape...revealing a challenge to the Federation and its allies utterly unlike anything they have faced before.

Review: I donít envy Keith R.A. DeCandido the task on his hands, and thatís putting it quite mildly. After the events that rocked the Star Trek universe forever in the epic Destiny trilogy, everyone has to set their respective houses in order in maintaining the Federationís survival, and so do the numerous Pocket Books writers in carrying the aftereffects of Destiny forward. In A Singular Destiny, DeCandido must deal with the repercussions of a galaxy that must now move forward, but in what direction?

Two months after the events of Destiny, the Federation and numerous worlds both allied and not are in the process of rebuilding. Many worlds have been lost, some forever, with approximately sixty billion lives lost at the hands of the Borg. Refugees are relocated to different colonies, some with no explanation whatsoever, and supplies are nonexistent across the board. Some people are willing to die with honor, while others devastated by the Borg blitzkrieg are determined to end it all without any hope for going on. Everyone has one single question on their collective minds: what happens next? And whatís even scarier than the question is the answer: no one has a clue.

What I enjoy about A Singular Destiny is how DeCandido manages to span the events along the different worlds and cultures, and not just the Federation alone, who must face a difficult task after a brutal apocalypse. Itís interesting to read this novel and see the mirror held up to our own society to reflect its current events on the worldwide arena. Itís hard to put down the mirror and see the obvious real-world parallels that DeCandido has brilliantly portrayed in A Singular Destiny, everyone is affected by the same problems, and no matter what the solution may be, no one is happy with the results.

Just as effective is the way DeCandido intercuts between chapters to reveal the thoughts behind those affected by the Borg blitzkrieg through personal narratives, letters, and reports. Some are happy with moving forward, while others teeter on the brink of emotional breakdown. And the fate of one seriesí more beloved characters is handled with such brevity and starkness that said fate is the literary equivalent of a sucker punch. Little moments like these add frighteningly realistic big pieces to a puzzle that must now be put back together with delicacy.

Since this is, after all, a Star Trek adventure, we eventually see the aftereffects of Destiny on Captain Jadzia Dax and the crew of the Aventine, who are assigned to ferry a history professor, Sonek Pran, to Romulus to convince Empress Donatra, the head of the newly organized Imperial Romulan Senate, to broker a treaty with her former ally-turned-enemy, TalíAura, in providing food and necessary relief to those Romulans and neighboring planets hit by the Borg blitzkrieg. But in turning a blind eye to such a request, are the Romulans only delaying the inevitable collapse that too awaits them? Meanwhile, the Kinshaya are looking to capitalize on the weaknesses incurred by their mortal enemies, the Klingons, in taking what they feel is rightfully theirs, including no less than two Klingon colony worlds. For the Klingons, honor means retaliation at all costs.

But it is a series of seemingly unrelated events that trigger a new and even deadlier threat to the Federation and its surviving worlds. Nothing on the surface seems to add up. From an explosion on a distant mining colony to the departure of a key Federation member planet, from the seizure of two minor planets to the death of a Ferengi criminal, all of these contribute pieces to a puzzle that will take shape in numerous Star Trek novels over the next year and a half.

A Singular Destiny is far from your typical Star Trek novel, but then again things are far from typical at this point in time. Like our worldís political and economic crises today, the Federation is under no less a similar share of problems, which Keith DeCandido wonderfully portrays. I have to admit, after coming off such an epic tale of sturm und drang, I thought this would be a piece of cake to handle Ė not so. After any conflict man must pick up the pieces and move forward. And like life itself, this story of recovery, survival, and uncertainty is far from over.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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Bill Williams is the regular book reviewer for the Trek Nation.

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