Top critical review
A peek at the Romulan way of life
on April 1, 2002
I always look forward to reading Trek books that feature the well known alien races in the Trek universe (Klingons, Romulans, Ferengi, Cardassians). Its very rare for the publishers to commission a Trek book featuring the non-human races. But when they do they are usually quite good. A STITCH IN TIME and THE 39th RULE are two good examples.
MY ENEMY MY ALLY on the other hand is okay. Just okay, in my opinion. Not Wow, Great or Amazing. Perhaps because it did not reveal much on how and why the Romulans think and behave they way they do. It does offer a brief glimpse of their political structure though. A structure based on cronyism, favours and mutual interests and not one based on merit. In other words, just like 20th century Earth! Also, author Diane Duane breathes life into the Romulan language which is perhaps far more taxing on the tounge than Klingon. D. Duane's talent has always been character development and it shows here.
The characterisations of the Kirk and co. are also spot on. The cunning Kirk, grouchy Bones, unflappable Spock. Its all there. There is a particularly amusing scene where the good Doctor beat Spock in 4D chess. The Vulcan was so surprised he almost showed an expression. Almost. The scenes featuring the Horta ensign were nicely written as well.
The plot itself comes in second after the interesting vignettes one gets to read in both the Romulan and Federation chapters. It is basically about an out of favour Romulan commander who decides to turn traitor because she is disgusted with the Empire's new secret project:- harnessing the mind powers of the Vulcans. Imagine a secretive race like the Romulans with strong almost psychic capabilities of the Vulcans. They could rule the Alpha quadrant in no time. With the help of Kirk, the Romulan commander intends to foil the project.
If you like Trek, you will no doubt like MY ENEMY MY ALLY. Its a quick fast read. If you have never read Trek but would like to start somewhere, this book is good place to start.