Monday, 3 February 2014

Star Trek: Vanguard: Summon The Thunder - Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore



Title: Summon The Thunder
Author: Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
Published: 2006
Chronological Period: 2265

Available at:
Amazon
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

Review:
“Summon The Thunder” by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore is the 2nd novel in the Star Trek: Vanguard series and follows on directly from its predecessor novel, “Harbinger”. With the main characters already established, the two authors have been able to write a story which concentrates on trying to unlock some of the mysteries of the Taurus Reach alongside further development of the characters.

Basically, following the destruction of a colony and starship the federation has uncovered another alien complex on a frozen world and is beginning a new investigation. Unfortunately they appear to activate an ancient defence system is which almost results in the destruction of another Starfleet vessel. However, it isn’t just the Federation that is suffering loses in the Taurus Reach with the Klingons also under attack from an unknown aggressor which leads to further tensions between them and the Tholians who appear to know more than they are letting on. And so, Commodore Reyes must try and work this tense political situation whilst also trying to keep the Federation’s own secrets regarding their reasons for being in the Taurus Reach.

The book is quite action driven, with a pretty high body count which provides a real sense of danger. But the authors still managed to mix in elements of political subterfuge, espionage, moral choices and scientific research to give the book a feeling that is reminiscent of the original series which loved to throw in action and multiple redshirt deaths between the scientific discussions, diplomatic conundrums and moral dilemmas. I think the authors managed to create a decent blend here and I did enjoy all elements of the story.

Due to the large amount of characters present the book does jump around a lot but as I already knew who the characters were I found it easy enough to follow. In addition, the further development introduced in this novel enabled me to get a better understanding of all the characters and appreciate their various individual perks and nuances. An advantage I did note in regards to the reader already knowing the characters is that it enabled the author to spend more time really exploring the Taurus reach, with us getting a chance to see things from a Klingon, Romulan and Shedai perspective. It gave the book a much wider perspective and I think it benefits hugely from this.

I did have one issue with the book and is the lack of a structured standalone plot which was something I also noted in “Harbinger”. This book is all about continuing the main story arc without giving the readon something they can appreciate on its own merits. Personally, I can’t imagine someone reading this book and enjoying it unless they have read “Harbinger” and are also planning on reading the next novel “Reap The Whirlwind”. Basically, in my opinion it just doesn’t provide enough entertainment on a standalone level.

Overall, I do think that “Summon The Thunder” is a decent sequel to “Harbinger” which further develops both the characters and the mystery of the Taurus Reach in an enjoyable manner. The characters in particular really come into their own and there is some good exposure given to the other species such as the Klingons which is useful as it offsets the lack of a definitive standalone plot within the novel. Simply put, if you enjoyed “Harbinger” then I suspect you will enjoy this novel even more.