Thursday 20 March 2014

Star Trek: Vanguard: Open Secrets - Dayton Ward

Title: Open Secrets
Author: Dayton Ward
Published: 2007
Chronological Period: 2266 (Framing Story: 2267)

Available at:
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

“Open Secrets” by Dayton Ward is the 4th novel in the Star Trek Vanguard series which continues the various plotlines kicked off in the previous novels. A prime focus of the narrative in this book is the investigation and trial of the station’s commander, Commodore Reyes who was arrested at the end of the previous book for allowing classified information to be published by a reporter. In addition, the reader gets to the follow the further deterioration of relations with the Klingon and Tholian Empires, the ongoing search for information on the Shedai technology and the fallout of T’Prynn’s mental breakdown which results in her return to Vulcan.

This book is another enjoyable chapter in the Vanguard series although it didn’t wow me as much as its predecessor, “Reap The Whirlwind”. The storyline developments were interesting and the characters continue to entertain me but there were just no real surprises or twists involved. Everything pretty much progressed as you would expect and there were no elements there that really struck me as being gripping or memorable.

One of the real issues I had with the novel however is in regards to the pacing which at times reduced my reading progress to a slow slog. I think the basic problem was that the novel is overly wordy at times to the point of distraction. Ward is basically using 20 words when 10 would have sufficed and for some reason the editing process has failed to rectify this. It is a shame as some competent editing could have dealt rather easily with this issue to ensure the pacing was better.

A nice element to the story is in regards to Ward’s ability to link various events into the wider Star Trek universe. I enjoyed seeing both the tie in to the Original Series in regards to the peace between the Klingons and Federation that was imposed by the Organians and the inclusion of Carol Marcus’ involvement with Shedai technology that hints at the future Genesis project seen in Star Trek II. Sometimes I think these links to the wider universe can be rather brutally shoehorned into a novel but with “Open Secrets” it all felt rather natural and subtle which I did appreciate.

Overall, this is a novel which competently continues the plots started in the previous Vanguard novels but doesn’t really provide any genuinely memorable or exciting parts. For fans of the series there is more than enough here to provide some entertainment but when you hold it up against the previous novel it seems rather lacking.