Although, I have a sneaky suspision that by the end of this trilogy, the E-E may have a new captain. With some of the talk in other novels about Picard feeling he is in a different place in his life then he thought he would be (husband, father), I can't help but wonder if he'll stay on much longer.
Dare I say it? Captain Data!
(so far, TrekLit has not counteracted Countdown
If Picard retires, he could still be part of the series without being captain. On the other hand, Vulcan isn't the most exciting place in the galaxy...
If Worf becomes captain, Geordi would finally make it back to command track. By the way, why is he a mere Lieutenant
Commander on the cover?
If Data returns, he would probably become first officer and a full Commander, the next logical step on his way to E-E captaincy in 2387.