Thanks and kudos to you for a fantastic story. Assignment: Eternity is my absolute favorite TOS novel.
Wow! That's high praise indeed!
True story: That book was the result of a long
process of development. The very first Trek proposal I ever submitted to Pocket, way back when Kevin Ryan was the Trek editor, was a completely different version of Assignment: Eternity
that had something to with Federation scientists inventing some new weapon that would destabilize the Organian peace treaty. Kevin rejected that version, however, and that was that . . . for a time.
Years later, after I'd finally broken into Trek writing, John Ordover and I played around for a while with the idea of me wrting a Seven/Picard crossover, but I never managed to come up with a plot that we both liked. Another dead end.
Even later, we flirted with the idea of a Kirk/Q novel, but Paramount vetoed the idea, so I replaced Q with Gary Seven and adjusted the plot accordingly--and that's
the outline that finally became Assignment: Eternity!
So, yeah, in a way, that book was years in the making. Glad you found it worth it!
Thinking some more about this: In retrospect, I think part of the challenge here, which is reflected in some of the negative comments about the original episode, is that it's hard to throw Seven up against Starfleet without one side coming off as misguided, irrationally stubborn, unnecessary, or irrelevant. Personally, I didn't mind that Kirk and Spock ended up playing second fiddle to Seven and Robert in the original ep, because it was a nice change of pace, but I can see where that might bother people who just want a straight-up STAR TREK episode.
Certainly, I can testify that striking a nice balance between Seven and our regulars is harder than it looks!