Star Trek: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm Mass Market Paperback – Oct 25 2011
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In the year 3016, the Second Empire of Man spans hundreds of star systems, thanks to the faster-than-light Alderson Drive. No other intelligent beings have ever been encountered, not until a light sail probe enters a human system carrying a dead alien. The probe is traced to the Mote, an isolated star in a thick dust cloud, and an expedition is dispatched.
In the Mote the humans find an ancient civilization--at least one million years old--that has always been bottled up in their cloistered solar system for lack of a star drive. The Moties are welcoming and kind, yet rather evasive about certain aspects of their society. It seems the Moties have a dark problem, one they've been unable to solve in over a million years.
This is the first collaboration between Niven and Pournelle, two masters of hard science fiction, and it combines Pournelle's interest in the military and sociology with Niven's talent for creating interesting, believable aliens. The novel meticulously examines every aspect of First Contact, from the Moties' biology, society, and art, to the effects of the meeting on humanity's economics, politics, and religions. And all the while suspense builds as we watch the humans struggle toward the truth. --Brooks Peck --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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- Excellent job continuing to bridge the gap between Enterprise and TOS. Enterprise was in a tricky place as a prequel in a strongly established universe, and this book continues to work to bridge the gaps left behind after the early cancellation of the series. It is not perfectly in line with all trek ever written, but then with hundreds of books, that is an impossible task nowadays.
- Good continuation of the Trip-T'Pol connection without making this a sappy love story where everything works out magically for the couple. I like the emphasis on the dynamic between Trip's sense of service and his love for T'Pol.
- Good nod to those of us in the fan base who like what TOS was known for, subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, social commentary. It continues well with the Enterprise series' relation to modern times.
- Good level of plot complexity.
- Overall, good character development with an interesting plot; this is exactly what I want from trek.
- More depth into the subplots would have improved this book.
- The writer is toying a careful line between rushing the plot and keeping the story fast paced.
This is the best book in the relaunch series thus far. This is a must for anyone who likes Enterprise. I can only hope that the next book in this series comes out quicker; I get impatient waiting for the next step in Enterprise.
Star Trek enthusiasts will note that this novel follows the "Enterprise" version of the Romulans and Earth's contact with them, which is significantly different from the story told in The Original Series. In the "Enterprise" version the Romulans seem to lead Earth in technology, including Warp Drive technology. By contrast, in the Original Series, the Romulans still do not have Warp Drive although they do have other advances over Earth, mainly the plasma weapon and of course cloaking technology. (My understanding of The Original Series is that the Romulans acquire warp drive from the Klingons, perhaps as a trade for cloaking technology.)
Despite the inconsistency, this story is great fun, and ably continues the "Enterprise" saga from where it left off at the end of that series. In this novel the Earth-Romulan war is in full swing, and Earth is getting the worst of it. More would be telling (no spoilers here).
The characterizations are excellent and ring true with the roles that were developed in the Enterprise series, particularly Trip and T'Pol. We also learn a great deal about the young T'Pau, who was featured in The Original Series in the Amok Time episode. (First episode, second season).
The Kindle version of this novel is well done, with no issues about formatting.
Recommended for Star Trek fans, particularly for those who, like me, particularly liked the "Enterprise" series. RJB.
I thoroughly enjoyed "Beneath the Raptor's Wing" and the books leading up to the Romulan War saga. Unfortunately, "To Brave the Storm" does not live up to the quality and excitement of its predecessors. The story feels rushed and disjointed. Months pass where nothing happens. And when something finally does happen, the story picks up after the incident, unlike Raptor's Wing were we are taken into the heart of the conflict. This book should have been filled with exciting space battles and undercover intrigue. Instead, it felt like a 600 page novel trimmed down to 300 pages with the most exciting chapters left out.
A perfect example is how the author and editors decided to deal with Trip. I'm about to give away a major spoiler here, so stop reading if you want to be surprised. In the prior novels we were always show how Trip escaped death defying cliffhangers, like his escape pod heading for a gravitic mine at the end of "Kobayashi Maru". Not so in this novel. During the final confrontation between the Coalition and Romulan fleets Trip escapes from the Romulan flagship in an escape pod. He is given a device that he believes to be a homing beacon. Once activated, it counts down to zero and that last thing Trip sees is a blinding flash of light. We later discover his escape pod has been destroyed during the battle. Twenty-five years later we discover Trip is alive and well living on Vulcan with T'Pol. No mention is given as to how he escaped. This is typical of the "let's pull a rabbit out of the hat" mentality of this novel.
Perhaps some day the publisher will come out with a special expanded edition of "To Brave the Storm", including all the important parts left out of this edition. Until then, we are left with a half-told, unimaginative story about what should have been one of the most exciting times in the history of Star Trek.
Granted, the editors at Pocket Books cut the series down to two books, but rather than make the most of this with an action packed and morally provocative story with rich character development, Martin skips over the meaningful parts in a careless way that leaves the book without depth or emotion. So I'm glad I know how the war went but I am left feeling like I would if my entire knowledge of WW2 came from its Wikipedia entry.
I'm glad the overabundance of side stories involving forgettable characters and the author's philosophical musings about warfare that plagued "Beneath the Raptor's Wings" are not in this book. Even though this was largely done, the book still hops around a lot with large gaps between chapters with every chapter seeming more like its own individual short story than part of a singular and unraveling plot. There were still erroneous and boring mini stories involving Enterprise rescuing ships in distress and the Vissians from ENT: Cogenetor that were not effectively related to the whole and should have been removed in favor of more interesting action sequences and the compelling formation of treaties that concluded the war and formed the Federation.
It was frustrating how Martin would spend pages setting up interesting tactical situations and as you are ready for a great battle sequence, the action sequence would be skipped over and take the reader directly to the aftermath. A major victory for the Romulans was taking an enemy dockyard, but we just get what happens after they've secured it. Later a Romulan ship is going to execute a masterful strategy against 2 Starfleet ships but then the attack is skipped completely as the Enterprise crew discusses what just happened; the conversation involves dropping the name of an important character in the series so this scene easily could have been developed with an appeal to readers but instead we just get a casualty report which has nowhere near the emotional impact. Later still, there is an attack on Earth and Mars but the pivotal moments are skipped leaving you having to glean what happened by characters discussing it. Is this a war story or a book about desk jockeys talking about a war around an office water cooler!?!
Martin has effectively killed all the enthusiasm I had for ENT novels after reading "The Good That Men Do" and for any of his future works. Though I'm glad to have at least a basic knowledge of how the war went and how the Federation was founded, I feel Martin needs to make like the protagonists in this book and watch Trek stories unfold from the sidelines.
In Beneath the Raptor's Wing we see an expansion of the Trek universe from the TV series. There is a good bit of focus on the politics of the war, particularly Vulcan's surprising stance on it, and the ramifications of the political intrigues. There is an interesting subplot involving a journalist who reports on the war throughout the novel and I'm interested in seeing more from Gannett Brooks' point of view.
It's somewhat frustrating that more time is not spent with the Enterprise crew and little ink is given to the largest assembly of Earth space forces ever, but these are minor complaints against a larger, well written backdrop that is a satisfying read when all is said and done. The inclusion of Columbia in the novel is a bit confusing at first, but we soon see that Martin's use of the good ship and crew does indeed jive with the continuity established by the Destiny trilogy.
I don't see the war being dragged out for too long, but I do anticipate a good series of books with this novel as a solid launching point for the war. I hope that the series isn't too long delayed and we can get back in the action soon.