It’s all come down to this!
Pocket Books and author Peter David’s (PAD) return to the mighty New Frontier series has kept Star Trek fans like myself on the edge of our seats all summer long with the three-part, periodically released eBook-only trilogy, The Returned
The journey from the thrilling set-up and impossible revenge mission to a ‘Pocket Universe’ of Star Trek New Frontier: The Returned, Part 1 and the learning of the political history of the Thallonian’s and the first contact of the ruthless race, the Dayan in Part 2 has led us to this, the final part in the story, Star Trek New Frontier: The Returned Part 3.
The story starts with Captain Mackenzie Calhoun and the crew of the USS Excalibur unwittingly assisting the Dayan in the genocide of the D’Myurj in an attempt to avenge the destruction of Calhoun’s own race the Xenexians and the rescue of several Federation citizens including Admiral Alynna Nechayev.
We also have the mysterious Thallonian deity ‘The Awesome’ (actually a very well known, very mischievous character from Star Trek: The Next Generation ) swearing to end Mark McHenry while McHenry himself was attempting to help Robin Lefler & her infant son Cwansi navigate the treacherous political landscape of New Thallon.
The writing style is vintage PAD, fast, addictive and laced with touches of light humour. The characterization is also spot-on, with his writing of the character masquerading as ‘The Awesome’ so good; I could practically hear that characters actor’s voice in my head!
The story moves at a fantastic pace with some brilliant twists and action scenes that are up there with this series best, there are also some major, potentially character defining moments for Calhoun, Lefler and especially Soleta.
It was great reading about characters like Kat Mueller and the USS Trident again and we also have a very promising character introduced in ‘The Visionary’ that I’m looking forward to learning more about in future stories
The Calhoun parts of the story are fantastic with an intense match of wills between Calhoun and the leader of the Dayan, Nyos. Nyos is written as deliciously as he was in Part 2 and Calhoun has not met his match like this since the early days of New Frontier.
However, in spite of how fantastic the story is, I did have issues with how it was resolved, with the speed in which it was wrapped up in particular.
Peter David wrote in this series one of the best introductions to a new Star Trek species that I’ve read in a while in the ruthless and unbeatable Dayan, but the choice in using the all-powerful, omnipotent character that’s impersonating ‘The Awesome’, David wrote an ‘easy end’ in which all that was built up so well was resolved so quickly it made my head spin a bit. I was waiting for that bit of ‘Calhoun magic’, that stroke of genius that only he could come up with to save the day but with writing in ‘The Awesome’ the ending was, dare I say it, a bit ‘convenient’. It feels like PAD was running out of room to finish the story & I think a few more chapters at the end would’ve helped solve these issues.
Gripe aside, overall it’s been a fantastic ride and reading all three parts of this story has been the reading highlight of my summer.
It’s been fantastic revisiting these amazing characters again in a story only the mighty PAD could write. Not many Star Trek books can shock you and make you laugh out loud all on the very last page but that’s the magic of New Frontier.
I’m hopeful this won’t be the end of New Frontier, I for one am optimistic we’ll see Peter David chronicling the adventures of the USS Excalibur once again.
After all, it’s not the first time New Frontier has ‘Returned’ is it?