Following on from Star Trek: The Next Generation's Death in Winter Ian Kimmins brings us to Star Trek Titan:Taking Wing.
For Book Two in the novels new continuity we finally get to see Captain Riker and his new ship! For his crew we get a good mix of the established characters we know and love plus plenty of new and exciting ones.
We get, of course, Captain Riker himself plus Commander Deanna Troi who is the Senior Counsellor and Chief Diplomatic Officer. We also have Alyssa Ogawa from The Next Generation and the Elaysian Melora Pazlar (from Deep Space Nine season two's Melora).
Even though this is the second book in the reading list, it is the debut Titan novel so we get quiet a bit of world building and this is were Mr Mangels and Mr Martin excel. We get to see the full fallout from Nemesis, which was touched on in the previous novel (Death in Winter) and we get to see some other characters from Star Trek canon and literary universe -Christine Vale (The Next Generation's A Time To... series), Tuvok, Spock, Keru (Section 31 Rogue), Admiral Leonard James Akaar (Friday's Child from The Original Series), there are plenty more characters here as well to keep you entertained. Plus it's a great credit to the authors that the story flows well and none of the characters feel out of place.
The story then; after nearly ten years of constant war with everyone from the Borg to the Cardassians, Klingons and then the Dominion, The Federation can finally return to what it does best - exploration!
To this end William Riker is promoted to captain of the Titan at the end of Nemesis to spearhead this mission aboard the newly commissioned Luna Class ship. But at the last minute his orders are changed and Riker, along with his new crew are dispatched to conduct talks with various Romulan factions to create a stable powerbase on Romulus.
Meanwhile the Tal'shiar are regrouping in the background determined to grab power themselves. As Captain Riker struggles to keep everyone heading in the same direction they realise Spock is still on Romulus as is Commander Tuvok who was sent to find him.
Ultimately Riker prevails with a little help from Commander Donatra but she has a price for her help! Her ships have disappeared into the spatial rift which was left from Shinzon's battle with the Enterprise and requires the Titan's captain help in finding them.
Commander Donatra (Nemesis) decides to head into the rift to save her fleet and promptly disappears. The Titan is hanging on at the edge but ultimately gets pulled in and this is where the novel ends but the story is just beginning! Will the Titan and Commander Donatra's fleet make it back to Romulan space? Keep an eye out for our next review to find out!
I was a bit cautions approaching this book as the current literary continuity had just been established and now they were not only going away from The Next Generation but launching a completely new series on book two!
However I could not have been more wrong since Michael A Martin and Andy Mangels do an amazing job with not only tying up loose ends from Nemesis but introducing a new crew and drawing them from TV, the movies and literary Star Trek. None of the characters feel like they are thrown in there just to have an established name there and they all get something to do.
Also the authors get the characterisations spot on. The new characters such as Bralik, a female Ferengi and Dr Ree whose beside manner is contrasted to his dinosaur-like appearance are well fleshed out!
In short read this ASAP!
Ian's retro Star Trek literary journey will continue soon! What did you think when you read Taking Wing for the first time?