As many of you know, I love my Star Trek novels; as an avid collector of nearly 25 years, I’m proud to say I’ve got nearly every novel that’s ever been published. Out of the 500-plus novels on my shelves, there are about 25 that have really impacted me; that is to say, I have re-read them numerous times, or – I just can’t sing their praises loud enough. New York Times Bestselling Author Dayton Ward’s From History’s Shadow ranks right up there in my ‘Top Five List’ as the best Star Trek novels. And, by the way, this book is on its third printing!
First off, I know that From History’s Shadow was a hard-fought labour of love for Dayton. For a full ‘history’ on how this novel came to be, visit The Fog Of Ward blog; it’s got everything you need to know.
Don’t let the cover art for From History’s Shadow fool you; what – with its fedora-wearing G-Men and War of the Worlds-esque UFO’s, because that’s part of this terrific novel’s appeal. Dayton suggested to the suits the things he’d like to see on the cover, and this was better than even he envisioned it, telling one of his loyal followers: “It looks swank.” To me, it’s one of the coolest Star Trek covers I’ve ever seen; plus – it lets the reader know that this isn’t going to be one of your typical, run-of-the-mill treks. Those MiB’s and flying saucers you see are at the very core of this adventure.
The story takes place in two time periods: 2268 and 1947. Following their encounter with Gary Seven (in the TOS episode Assignment: Earth), Kirk and crew contend with some time-jumping infiltrators aboard the Enterprise. One is a Vulcan who’s been living amongst humans for over a decade, and the other is a member of the Certoss; they have been trying to bring about the destruction of the human race, since – well, 1947.
Enter Captain James Wainwright and Professor Carlson, freshly-recruited to start a Top Secret project called Majestic 12; they have two goals: find ET’s on Earth and find strategies to combat them. This band of agents know there are aliens out there; they met some Little Green Men, namely – Quark, Rom and Nog. (I highly recommend a quick re-watch of this funny episode, before you begin reading…)
I can’t even begin to tell you all how much I loved this book. It’s got everything that makes #GreatStarTrek: time travel, aliens and conspiracy theories, bad guys, good guys, shadowy players, crossovers and plenty of guest-appearances, from the likes of Roberta Lincoln (this book made me love Teri Garr all over, again) and John Christopher, (as well as, a few other surprises thrown in). It’s got shoot-’em-ups, car chases, wrongs put to rights, lots of great humour, and let’s not forget the main ingredient – history… Wow, guys! This is an edge-of-your-seat ride from page one. As I commented to Dayton, back when I first read it, I could almost smell the interiors of those old cars and see the palmetto bushes from my old stomping grounds in Florida, as the good guys and bad guys take-chase on those highways from my youth; (Dayton’s, as well – as he hails from The Sunshine State, himself).
But, From History’s Shadow is a lot more, too. I learned a great deal about our own storied-history, dealing with our secrets and paranoia in-regards to unexplained phenomena and speculations surrounding alien encounters, UFO sightings, landings, and the like. Dayton went to great lengths and put in quite a bit of research to give us readers as accurate an accounting as he could, using Wainwright and Carlson to teach us about that era, as well as entertain us along the way. When DS9’s Little Green Men debuted, I didn’t like Capt. Wainwright; but the through Dayton’s unique brand of storytelling, I grew to have great respect for this character; he gave up his life, you might say, to keep us out of harms way. You, too, will be enamoured of this man’s journey and sacrifice; especially, as you read the poignant finale. And, let’s not forget Kirk, Spock, Bones and the gang, as they try to figure out the mystery and history of the Certoss, who’re key to all of this.
On a scale of one to ten, with ten being extremely ‘trekified,’ I give From History’s Shadow a solid 10! I can’t wait to see how the sequel plays out, (as he’s just informed us that his sequel’s outline has been approved); but, knowing Dayton, I’m sure it will be a thrill-ride! By the way, I know for a fact that there are still copies out there, (as I’ve seen the them ‘in the wild’); so – what’re you waitin’ for? History isn’t going to repeat itself! Oh, wait… This is Star Trek, and Dayton Ward we’re talkin’ about. Maybe, it will…
‘Til, next time, see ya ‘out there…’
Lt. Eric Cone
PS: I have Dayton to thank for my moniker, Lt. Eric Cone; as he gifted me with immortality in his New York Times Bestseller Star Trek: The Fall – Peaceable Kingdoms, with a character-namesake. I’m a ‘redshirt’ who didn’t die, folks! Well – not yet, anyway…