Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Beyer's Atonement Continues the Voyager Story

Tiffany Groves is back with her THIRD Star Trek novel review and this time she's jumped a few years from Enterprise to Voyager...

The final book in a trilogy of stories following Protectors and Acts of Contrition (Voyager relaunch novels) This review contains spoliers.

This is the first Kirsten Beyer book I have read, she starts the novel by immediately capturing the interest and immersing us in the universe of Star Trek which is pleasing and compels the reader to continue avidly

The story opens with an introduction to the Kinara a collective group of Delta Quadrant races are allied against Janeway's Full Circle Fleet.

The Kinara have declared that Janeway be put on trial for crimes committed during the seven years Voyager spent in the Delta Quadrant. This is an initial aspect of the story; there is a concurrent development involving Seven and Tom Paris trying to uncover the origins of the Catomic Plague.

As we have learned through the previous books, the Catoms are the transformed remnants of Borg Technology by the Caeliar (ancient aliens who may have played a hand in the Borg’s creation)

But now with the Borg threat apparently being gone, Starfleet Medical is focusing all their attention on the Catoms with a view to using them for weapons creation; a disturbingly cruel and unethical change in Federation policy.

Just when we think enough is happening in this novel, Beyer challenges us further with another substantial aside plot.

This element involves Barclays and the EMH Doctor and their dealings with the dangerous Neyser essences (entertaining holographic mayhem follows)

These Neyser essences it turns out are actually the collective conciseness of another ancient alien race called the Seriareen (who have learned to extend their lives indefinitely by ‘possessing’ other people’s bodies)

This device of body possession is both confusing and fun and plays very well into great entertainment

Using the Doctor’s Holographic Matrix, the Neyser attempt to try to engineer events in the Delta Quadrant, (notably by removing Captain Janeway and the Federation and ultimately restoring their lost empire)

There is a lot happening in this novel and the author does risk losing readers at this point. Protectors, Waveforms, Eugenics, Ancient Alien Hybrids and suggesting the potential for a new collective using Catoms are still included within the busy plots and sub-plots

Beyer has handled all this wonderfully and still managed to throw in a few questions of existentialism along the way.

There are many great aspects about this novel; characters we know so well are accurately portrayed and we have a chance to review the events of the Voyager’s journey through the Delta Quadrant from different perspectives

There are re-introductions of characters such as the Devore Inspector Kashyk, and the fascinating Voth.

Particularly pleasing was the arrival of the wonderful Elim Garak who we discover is now the Cardassian Ambassador for the United Federation of Planets. Of course Garak has not changed at all, he is the same master of survival and whit that we know and love from Deep Space Nine. Initially behaving in typical self interest, we eventually see Garak’s cunning motives are indeed for the greater good.

Ultimately, this is a novel about the nature of faith. 

Ignorance and fear has overcome Starfleet following the Borg invasion and the actions of Starfleet medical may change the federation forever. But the actions of the central characters are fuelled by faith in that initiate principle of the Federation’s foundation.

Often they risk being the very antithesis of that belief system and yet they are prepared to make that sacrifice.

Overall, this book is intelligent, faithful yet immensely daring; events have become very
complicated for the Federation in this storyline (a far cry from the simpler times of managing Klingons and Romulans in the Alpha Quadrant).

Next up in the series is A Pocket Full of Lies...

Fan of the Voyager novels and the current storyline? What do you want to see?

You can get hold of Atonement right now from Simon and Schuster priced £7.99 ISBN 9781476790817.

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