Well, it's 3am here in Louisville, Kentucky. I started reading this book at about 4 this afternoon, and had intended to go to bed before 11. I have to say it's been a long time that I've read a book that's kept me up this late.
This was the first Star Trek book in a very long time that left me both satisfied and feeling optimistic at the same time. A good old fashioned Trek tale of exploration and coming together to solve a problem through cooperation instead of at the end of a phaser or photon torpedo.
For too long we've had a theme of war through out the Trek universe. The Dominion War, The Romulan War, The Borg War, conflicts with the Typhon Pact, death on a massive scale, the death of beloved characters, the destruction of Deep Space Nine and the almost total annihilation of the Federation. For a long time as much, and as much as I've enjoyed the Star Trek line of books over the last 5 years, I couldn't put my hand on what was lacking about them.
Now I know. What was missing was exploration, and not just a random story of exploration, but an interesting one! The conflicts were resolved with cooperation and a desire for understanding new cultures. And that instead of leading to war or conflict with those cultures, we see the making of what can be new allies. It was so refreshing to be in on the founding of the Federation and see the cornerstone of what makes it great to witness in film, on TV and in books. It felt good to end the story with a sense of optimism. I enjoy stories that make me think, and consider the possibilities of what the human race could become in reality, if we could just learn to understand a stranger, instead of judge them.
As much as I have loved Beyer's Voyager novels and Mack's TNG trilogies, I would feel comfortable saying I enjoyed this book more than those. And after the lackluster Enterprise novels that came before it, and even with Bennett's talents as a writer, that enjoyment comes as a complete surprise. Something I wasn't expecting. And worthy of a renewed interest in the Enterprise timeline. No, I must say that it would be proper enough to call this the new Federation Timeline.
The Enterprise characters are there, but they have changed and grown. And for me, easier to see where the growth comes from. When DS9 was shot forward however many years, we didn't get to see the changes that took place, and most felt out of place to me. But in this story the place the characters are in in their respective lives makes sense to me. And not out of the blue. The NX01 has been retired. But it's spirit lives on in the lives of the people that served it.
, I was honestly concerned before reading this because I didn't think anyone could do the story about the birth of the Federation justice. Thank you for proving me wrong, sir. I look forward to the next installment.