Re: Picard's 'middle' years
The Buried Age
is the best Trek book I've read since Orion's Hounds
, no-so-coincidentally also by Cristopher L. Bennett. It fills in those "middle years" and does so in a spectacular fashion.
A related question: are there any books dealing with Picard's time BEFORE he was on the Stargazer? Something post-"Tapestry" perhaps?
Do re mi, do re mi, fa mi re do.