Taking WingBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at May 21, 2005 - 9:32 PM GMT
Title: Star Trek Titan: Taking Wing
Authors: Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels
Release Date: April 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the movie Star Trek: Nemesis we learned that William T. Riker had at last accepted a command of his own and that he was to become the captain of the brand new Starship the U.S.S. Titan. Nemesis also established major events within the Romulan Star Empire, the assassination of the Romulan Senate and the rebellion of the Remans. Authors Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels take all of that and run with it in a spectacular way in Taking Wing, the debut of the new novel series Star Trek: Titan.
The death of Shinzon has left a dangerous power vacuum as various groups vie for control of the Romulan Empire. In an attempt to help restore some order, Starfleet sends the newly launched Titan to help pick up the pieces by escorting an aid convoy and initiating power-sharing talks among the factions. It will take all of Riker's experience and poker playing skills to keep the extremely volatile and dangerous situation from spiraling out of control and the Empire descends into civil war.
Taking Wing is full of surprises. Thoroughly engaging from beginning to end the story satisfies on every level. Martin and Mangels were handed a difficult task when asked to write this novel. The authors must not only tell a well plotted and exciting story that leaves you wanting more but they must also introduce and start to develop the major characters as well as establish the ship itself, the U.S.S. Titan. They handle everything with great skill and with style.
The character line up in Taking Wing reads like a who's who of Star Trek alien species. Several familiar characters firmly anchor the character roster including Alyssa Ogawa, Melora Pazlar, Christine Vale, and Ranul Keru and of course, Riker's wife Deanna Troi. But it is the characters we are introduced to in the story that help make the potential for this series so apparent. There are characters from species we are already very familiar with but who are seen in Taking Wing from a whole new perspective, like the female Ferengi Bralik or the young Cardassian cadet Dakal, and species that come entirely from the fertile imaginations of the authors such as the raptor-like Dr. Ree Titan's CMO.
All those fascinating characters and many more are introduced in a story full of twists and turns as the Titan travels across the neutral zone with an escort of Klingons to take on their maiden assignment and it's a big one. Help restore order and peace to a fragmented Empire who has long considered you an enemy despite your recent alliance during the Dominion War, a daunting task indeed.
As the plot unfolds you begin to doubt that the authors have thought of a plausible way to conclude the story as things go from bad to worse and you realize you're almost at the end of the book when they astonish you once again with a very clever resolution. I won't give away the ending but it will definitely leave you wanting more and anticipating what might be to come.
It is always very rewarding when a book you've been anticipating lives up to expectations. It's even better when the book exceeds them. Star Trek Titan: Taking Wing is a superb debut for an original new series.
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.