Written by: Peter David
Cover Art: Doug Drexler
Published by: Pocket Books (Simon and Schuster) **eBook format only**
Release Date: July 6, 2015
Lieutenant’s Log: Set three months after the events in Blind Man’s Bluff, Captain Mackenzie Calhoun is lost, seeking out any survivors of his species (the Xenexians), after they were annihilated by the D’myurj; while facing his own inner-demons and some tough choices as to how to move forward.
Meanwhile, Admiral Shelby tries to bring her husband back from the brink, Soleta lies in a coma on Bravo Station, Burgoyne 172 commands the Excalibur and Robin Lefler continues to exile herself, and Cwansi, away from New Thallon.
Embarking on a perilous, if-not questionable, mission to destroy the D’myurj, Calhoun and crew must tread carefully; encountering friends, foes, and an alien race that may be the greatest threat the Federation has ever faced.
My Take: Peter David is back! What a terrific opening, too, for this 3-part eBook series; (and, be advised – the future of the New Frontier saga is, quite-literally, in our hands). If you’re a fan of the NF series, or – if you’re just now picking it up, I beg you to buy these eBooks – the fate of Captain Calhoun rests with you! If you are just discovering New Frontier, I invite you to checkout my blog about the creation of the series; I interviewed John Ordover and Paula M. Block, in regards to their involvement, as well as included my brief interview with Peter David, at 2014’s Salt Lake Comic Con’s FanX.
Taking my cue from the legendary David Gerrold, there are three questions a reviewer should answer…
1) What was the author trying to do? In this case, the title speaks for itself: Peter David has returned, breathing new life into the New Frontier series that has lain dormant since 2011’s Blind Man’s Bluff. In The Returned Part I, Peter David does an admirable job of bringing Captain Mackenzie Calhoun and the Excalibur crew back to his fans, and – in a big way, for the stakes have never been higher. For me, this novella is one of the best in the New Frontier series, thus far. My personal favorite, however, remains to be 2000’s Restoration, and aspects of that novel are revisited, here, as well. Without giving too much away, it seems Moke has had a Thor spot, regarding his feelings for Mac…
2) How well did the author do? In my opinion, PAD is absolutely brilliant! The pacing of the story had me plowing through it (I’m currently re- reading it), and I found myself both – surprised, and – laughing out loud; especially, during a few scenes with Soleta, (as well as, during some scenes with a returning favorite from NF’s earlier days…) There is no shortage of David’s brand of humor, or – of the plot twists and 180° turns that Peter David is famous for in his writing style. Just when you think you’ve got it nailed, turn the page…
3) Was it worth doing in the first place? Damn-right, it was! Grozit! We were left hanging at the end of Blind Man’s Bluff (over four years ago), and the fans have been anxiously (albeit-patiently, considering the circumstances…) awaiting The Returned‘s resolution to those events; as well as, the return of Peter David, himself, into the Star Trek fold! I must say, I’m delighted to see both! My one complaint would be that Peter David gave readers no kind of reminder in regards to Morgan Primus, or her fate, all those years ago – I had to Google it, because it was driving me crazy trying to remember back that far!
That said, I cannot wait for The Returned Part II on August 3rd, to see how Peter David carries this story forward – I refuse to say end, dammit! New Frontier has been my favorite series (behind Deep Space Nine, that is), since it debuted in 1998, and I’m looking forward to seeing New Frontier go on to its 20-year anniversary – including a hardcover!! Which means, YOU need to order these eBooks – even if you can’t stand the digital format. It’s all about numbers, here, folks! It’s all about Peter David. It’s all about paying it forward…
Now, before I wrap this up, I have some information about this novella’s cover. Everyone (myself, included) has been curious as to why there’s an Ambassador class U.S.S. Excalibur represented, as opposed to the Galaxy class, Calhoun now commands. So, I asked Star Trek icon Doug Drexler about it. ‘That was at the request of Pocket Books. No synopses or beat sheet from them on that one. Just the request for that particular ship.’ Indeed, Mr. Drexler said he would have caught the mistake if he’d been provided with a complete synopsis. As it was: ‘They actually sent me a rough sketch for it, including the background. I had very little to do but place the model and light it.’ I’ve sent a similar query to Alan Dingman, but he has yet to respond. I will keep digging, though…
My Amazon Rating: 🖖🖖🖖🖖🖖 BUY THESE BOOKS!
‘Til, next time, see ya ‘out there…’
Lt. Eric Cone