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Old January 9 2009, 05:17 PM   #1
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Star Trek: A Singular Destiny

Star Trek: A Singular Destiny
Written by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Reviewed for TrekToday.com by Bill Williams

Mass market paperback
384 pages, MSRP $7.99
Date of publication: January 2009

Synopsis: The cataclysmic events of Star Trek: Destiny have devastatedknown space. Worlds have fallen. Lives have been destroyed. And in theuneasy weeks that follow, the survivors of the holocaust continue to betested to the limits of their endurance.

But strange and mysterious occurrences are destabilizing the galaxy'sbattle-weary allies even further. In the Federation, efforts to replenishdiminished resources and give succor to millions of evacuees are thwartedat every turn. On the borders of the battered Klingon Empire, the deviousKinshaya sense weakness -- and opportunity. In Romulan space, thealready-fractured empire is dangerously close to civil war.

As events undermining the quadrant's attempts to heal itself becomeincreasingly widespread, one man begins to understand what is trulyunfolding. Sonek Pran -- teacher, diplomat, and sometime adviser to theFederation President -- perceives a pattern in the seeming randomness. Andas each new piece of evidence falls into place, a disturbing pictureencompassing half the galaxy begins to take shape...revealing a challengeto the Federation and its allies utterly unlike anything they have facedbefore.

Review: I donít envy Keith R.A. DeCandido the task on his hands, andthatís putting it quite mildly. After the events that rocked the StarTrek universe forever in the epic Destiny trilogy, everyone has to settheir respective houses in order in maintaining the Federationíssurvival, and so do the numerous Pocket Books writers in carrying theaftereffects of Destiny forward. In A Singular Destiny, DeCandido must dealwith the repercussions of a galaxy that must now move forward, but in whatdirection?

Two months after the events of Destiny, the Federation and numerous worldsboth allied and not are in the process of rebuilding. Many worlds have beenlost, some forever, with approximately sixty billion lives lost at thehands of the Borg. Refugees are relocated to different colonies, some withno explanation whatsoever, and supplies are nonexistent across the board.Some people are willing to die with honor, while others devastated by theBorg blitzkrieg are determined to end it all without any hope for going on.Everyone has one single question on their collective minds: what happensnext? And whatís even scarier than the question is the answer: no one hasa clue.

What I enjoy about A Singular Destiny is how DeCandido manages to span theevents along the different worlds and cultures, and not just the Federationalone, who must face a difficult task after a brutal apocalypse. Itísinteresting to read this novel and see the mirror held up to our ownsociety to reflect its current events on the worldwide arena. Itís hardto put down the mirror and see the obvious real-world parallels thatDeCandido has brilliantly portrayed in A Singular Destiny, everyone isaffected by the same problems, and no matter what the solution may be, noone is happy with the results.

Just as effective is the way DeCandido intercuts between chapters to revealthe thoughts behind those affected by the Borg blitzkrieg through personalnarratives, letters, and reports. Some are happy with moving forward, whileothers teeter on the brink of emotional breakdown. And the fate of oneseriesí more beloved characters is handled with such brevity andstarkness that said fate is the literary equivalent of a sucker punch.Little moments like these add frighteningly realistic big pieces to apuzzle that must now be put back together with delicacy.

Since this is, after all, a Star Trek adventure, we eventually see theaftereffects of Destiny on Captain Jadzia Dax and the crew of the Aventine,who are assigned to ferry a history professor, Sonek Pran, to Romulus toconvince Empress Donatra, the head of the newly organized Imperial RomulanSenate, to broker a treaty with her former ally-turned-enemy, TalíAura,in providing food and necessary relief to those Romulans and neighboringplanets hit by the Borg blitzkrieg. But in turning a blind eye to such arequest, are the Romulans only delaying the inevitable collapse that tooawaits them? Meanwhile, the Kinshaya are looking to capitalize on theweaknesses incurred by their mortal enemies, the Klingons, in taking whatthey feel is rightfully theirs, including no less than two Klingon colonyworlds. For the Klingons, honor means retaliation at all costs.

But it is a series of seemingly unrelated events that trigger a new andeven deadlier threat to the Federation and its surviving worlds. Nothing onthe surface seems to add up. From an explosion on a distant mining colonyto the departure of a key Federation member planet, from the seizure of twominor planets to the death of a Ferengi criminal, all of these contributepieces to a puzzle that will take shape in numerous Star Trek novels overthe next year and a half.

A Singular Destiny is far from your typical Star Trek novel, but then againthings are far from typical at this point in time. Like our worldíspolitical and economic crises today, the Federation is under no less asimilar share of problems, which Keith DeCandido wonderfully portrays. Ihave to admit, after coming off such an epic tale of sturm und drang, Ithought this would be a piece of cake to handle Ė not so. After anyconflict man must pick up the pieces and move forward. And like lifeitself, this story of recovery, survival, and uncertainty is far from over.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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