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July 15 2024


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New Frontier: Stone And Anvil

By Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at October 26, 2003 - 12:17 PM GMT

Title: Star Trek: New Frontier: Stone and Anvil
Author: Peter David
Release Date: October 2003
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0-7434-2957-5

The third of the recent New Frontier books, Stone and Anvil is a good old-fashioned mystery but author Peter David has also incorporated a story that fans have been anxiously awaiting for a very long time: the story of Calhoun and Shelby at Starfleet Academy.

Stone and Anvil opens right where Gods Above leaves off, with the discovery of Lieutenant Commander Gleau's brutal murder. Evidence immediately points to Ensign Janos, a conclusion that Lieutenant Kebron refuses to accept. While Kebron throws himself into the task of uncovering the truth, the unfolding crisis that Gleau's murder provokes leads Captain Mackenzie Calhoun to recall events from his own past that may hold the key to the answers they are all so desperately searching for.

In each chapter of Stone and Anvil Peter David employs the "now and then" formula that long time readers of New Frontier will be familiar with, moving easily from the present-time murder mystery back to Mackenzie Calhoun's transformation from freedom fighter to Starfleet officer. From his rather unorthodox introduction to Starfleet Academy to his nonconformist solution to the Kobayashi Maru test and everything in between, it's all there and readers will hang on every word.

The young Calhoun is very likable. We're used to a very different Mackenzie Calhoun, someone who is seasoned and confident. Seeing how out of place he feels when he first arrives on Earth, watching him struggle academically and with his social inadequacies make for a great contrast between the two storylines which eventually merge in the climax of the plot. In the younger Elizabeth Shelby and her relationship with Calhoun we often see glimpses of the woman we know she ultimately becomes and come away with a better understanding of her personality and her complicated relationship with Calhoun.

Kebron's dogged defense of his colleague Janos is touching and his investigative style highly amusing. Those who have read Gods Above and wondered if his maturation would negatively effect his characterisation might find themselves pleasantly surprised; I certainly was. The ending, though a bit sad, is entirely satisfying and perhaps the best news of all is that there is no cliffhanger.

Peter David writes with the confidence of an author entirely at home with the cast he has created over the course of 16 novels, a novella and a graphic novel. The bravado with which David's narrative leads the reader through the twist and turns of the plot is unmatched. Stone and Anvil is New Frontier at its finest, droll, witty and of course, full of the unexpected.

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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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