Anyhoo, now that we've established that The Chimes at Midnight
is the first
story in the book...
I take it that this most happy news, on top of Mangels' and Martin's Enterprise-era novels, is confirmation that as much of Duane's Rihannsu setting as can possibly be accomodated in the new novelistic canon as possible?
It's always possible.
There's truly no such thing as a "novelistic canon." Star Trek writers are beholden to on-screen
canon (which is the only meaningful definition of "canon" in the Trek
genre), but a particular writer may use any material established by another author, or ignore same, as the needs of the story require.
In the case of the TOS movie era, we never really learned anything about the Romulan government during the period (other than the fact that enough of a diplomatic relationship existed to settle Nimbus III and to send Ambassador Nanclus to the Federation), so the idea of Empress Ael opening a peaceful dialogue is perfectly reasonable. Being a fan of the Rihannsu
stories, I opted to use it, and neither my editor nor CBS licensing had any problem with it.
So my use of the material doesn't signify any change in "official" policy. It was just a choice. But that doesn't necessarily mean that a future author won't want to take things in a different direction.