Friday, 29 November 2013

Standing in History's Shadow

Now I will open up by stating I am a Star Trek fan certainly not at the level of my colleagues here on Some Kind of Star Trek as my reading is normally limited to Tom Clancy novels or anything based about nuclear subs.

So From History's Shadow by Dayton Ward would not be something I would usually pick up to read. However I have indeed found it an interesting and riveting read.

I very much enjoyed how the book continues from The Original Series episode Assignment: Earth, taking that storyline and really adding depth of detail to the events in the show. I also enjoyed how the book flicked back and forth from Kirk's timeline in 2268, then with Earth in 1947 taking in and linking to real events in Earth's history such as Project Bluebook, the Majestic 12 and the Roswell incident.

I love the touch on how the author develops the Roswell link to introduce the Ferengi as the possible aliens on that downed UFO and how a number of aliens residing with us on Earth adapted our limited technology at the time to develop their own technological requirements. All I can say is Earth was not only limited to just humans in the late 1940's it seems!

One of my all time favorite Star Trek movies is First Contact along with Enterprise being among my favorite Star Trek franchises. I really liked how the book took the basis of what was the known and agreed fact of Earth's first contact with the Vulcans as well as the "conjectural" events in the Enterprise episode Carbon Creek wherein T'Pol tells the story of how Vulcans came to Earth many years before the accepted official first contact event. At the end of that episode Archer and Trip are left wondering if it was indeed an actual event or just a tall tale - now here the book uses the character Mestral (a Vulcan who's choice it was to remain on Earth to continue his studies of the Humans) to further confirm the Carbon Creek incident did indeed take place and therefore unofficially rewrites Earth's history.

There are other links throughout the book referencing other Star Trek -Voyager's Futures End two part story and Deep Space Nine's Little Green Men to name but two and I can say that there are others for both the casual reader and true fan to discover along the way.

The main characters in this novel are James T Kirk, Spock, Security Officer Giotto in 2268 joined by a smattering of the usual USS Enterprise crew. Mestral and Gejalik (a Certoss) cross the timeline throughout the book, as does Roberta Lincoln, Gary Seven's protegee from Assignment: Earth. In 1947 on Earth the main character is Captain James Wainwright of Little Green Men fame - Deep Space Nine who is working on Project Bluebook and Majestic 12 along with a number of personal from the USAF. I am agreeable with the book characters remaining true to their screen characters in personality and traits as this make the book flow in line with the references to the referrals to the many links to the TV shows.  All the main characters in the book have been developed well and interact in a good solid manor that adds to the readability of the book.

The story focuses on the Temporal Cold War featured heavily in Enterprise and the effects of Gejalik sending a message to her home world in 2268 with a 300 year old dated signature and how this message could impact the various pacts in place with differing planets. How the Certoss in 2268 are a peaceful race but it seems 300 years ago this was not the case and they had a part to play in that very Temporal Cold War.  The Certoss are, it seems, a race very much like the Vulcan's whom whilst are peaceful now further back in history seem to hold a warlike mantle. In fact Gelalik mission was without giving too much away to facilitate the destruction of Earth - You'll need to read the book to find out why!

I will not ruin the read by giving away too much of the plot but it is a great book on that really does become a hard to put down read. I enjoyed it so much I even went out of my way to obtain an ebook version for my iPad to have it on my holiday reading list as I felt it was a gripping yet easy read for those that have seen the episodes that set out the pretext for where the book picks up from. I would however on that note, perhaps recommend watching at least Assignment: Earth and Carbon Creek before reading as it would help set the pace for the book to continue on the story. I indeed look forward to reading other titles by Dayton Ward and do recommend this book as a Star Trek fan due to the quality links to the various series and it really does in my opinion complete the Assignment Earth program that did leave the viewer with a few questions.

From History's Shadow is available now from Simon and Schuster ISBN 9781476719009 priced £6.99

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