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May 26 2024


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Enterprise: Last Full Measure

By Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at May 28, 2006 - 3:06 PM GMT

Authors: Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels
Release Date: May 2006
Format: Mass-Market Paperback
ISBN: 1-4165-0358-7

When a contingent of MACO's is assigned to the Enterprise to support Captain Jonathan Archer's Starfleet crew both groups share a common goal: stopping the Xindi, but they differ in their ideas of how to accomplish that goal.

In the new Enterprise novel Last Full Measure, the writing duo of Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels have crafted a first-rate story that goes a long way toward reconciling how the two groups learned to work together and trust each other while at the same time fleshing out the characters and bridging some of the gap between Enterprise and the original Star Trek. Then there is the little matter of a very shocking revelation within the framing story.

The bulk of the action in Last Full Measure takes place right after the third season episode "The Xindi" so it's not surprising that the Military Assault Command Operations personnel have a fairly low opinion of Archer and his Starfleet crew. When Archer decides to lead a landing party to Kaletoo to follow another tenuous lead on the Xindi, Major Hayes has justifiable doubts about Archer's leadership skills but dutifully assembles a small squad to accompany the away team.

Meanwhile T'Pol, who has been left in command on Enterprise, sends Mayweather and another squad of MACO's lead by Mayweather's nemesis Corporal Chang to investigate what appears to be the trail of a Xindi vessel. The trail leads the shuttlepod to a Xindi fuel facility and a showdown between Mayweather and Chang over the decision about what to do about their discovery.

As the main narrative unfolds in Last Full Measure, the tension between the MACO's and Archer's Starfleet crew is palpable. Mangels and Martin employ several tried and true storytelling techniques to simply and effectively take most of the Enterprise characters out of the equation early so that the reader's attention is focused on the small core group they tell their story through.

This approach works wonderfully, and although readers barely know some of the major players as the story begins, by the final chapter they feel like old friends. In addition to getting to know several of the MACO's a bit better we also get a chance to meet Lieutenant "D.O." O'Neill, one of Enterprises watch commanders.

Some people might be disturbed by the characterization of Archer in this story, primarily the methods he employs to ensure the "cooperation" of Trahve in tracking down the Xindi, but given the weight of responsibility he carries you can understand those methods even if you can't agree with them.

The surprise in the framing story raises lots of questions but once the initial shock passes you can sense that a door has just been opened that allows for some potentially exciting novels in the future.

Preconceived ideas are usually the most difficult to rise above, but in Last Full Measure Archer and company learn that it is possible to do so. So did this reviewer. I'll admit that when I began reading Last Full Measure, I wasn't expecting much given the material the authors had to work with. Last Full Measure was surprisingly enjoyable in many different ways so I'm very happy to be proven wrong.

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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.

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