Ring Around The SkyBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at May 5, 2004 - 10:14 AM GMT
Title: Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers #37: Ring Around the Sky
Author: Allyn Gibson
Release Date: April 2004
Ring Around the Sky, the new eBook in the popular Starfleet Corps of Engineers series, is Allyn Gibson's second piece of Star Trek fiction. Last year Gibson made an impressive debut when he contributed the short story "Performance Appraisal" to the New Frontier anthology No Limits. With Ring Around the Sky he provides a story that is a pleasure to read.
The Tellarite colony world of Kharzh'ulla is unique in the quadrant. The planet is ringed by an enormous engineering marvel that is connected to the planet by a series of "space elevators". During the Dominion War, the Ring served as a critical docking and repair facility for the fleet until one of the elevators was damaged during a Jem'Hadar attack. A year and a half later the crew of the USS da Vinci is assigned to survey the damage and advise on potential repairs. It soon becomes apparent that the situation is a lot more critical than reported and that the da Vinci's crew will have to act quickly if they are going to prevent the entire Ring from collapsing and endangering the inhabitants of the planet.
Gibson's characterizations are spot-on but where his writing really shines is in his ability to bring the wonder of a giant ring encircling a planet, with massive elevators rising to meet it, so vividly and splendidly to life. The narrative draws you into the story completely and immediately. The story flies by with a tight, neat plot.
Ring Around the Sky centers largely on the character of the da Vinci's Tellarite second officer, Lieutenant Commander Mor glasch Tev. As a relatively new character among the regulars who populate this series, we've slowly been getting to know Tev through the stories told in the last few SCE eBooks. In this story he comes into his own as a principal character. Tev's not exactly a likeable guy, but then that's what makes him so interesting as a character. In the last two SCE stories, however, we've learned that there is more to him than just ego and rude behavior. While we are getting to know Tev better, the author also expands our knowledge of the Tellarites.
Gibson also adds a really surprising ingredient to the story that makes for a nice tie-in with the Invasion novels published in 1996. You'll have to read Ring Around the Sky for yourself to find out how neatly the author managed to work in something so totally unexpected but it works beautifully. Given what a delight Ring Around the Sky was to read, satisfying your curiosity certainly won't be a hardship.
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.