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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

View Poll Results: Rate Death in Winter
Outstanding 0 0%
Above Average 8 30.77%
Average 6 23.08%
Below Average 10 38.46%
Poor 2 7.69%
Voters: 26. You may not vote on this poll

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Old November 28 2013, 09:43 PM   #1
Defcon
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TNG: Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman Review Thread (Spoilers)

Round Two of the Classic Review Threads.

TNG: Death in Winter
by Michael Jan Friedman




Blurb:
Long before Captain Jean-Luc Picard took command of the legendary Starship Enterprise,™ he fell deeply and hopelessly in love with Doctor Beverly Crusher. Though, for one reason or another, Picard never acted on his feelings, he found a measure of contentment as Beverly's close friend, colleague, and daily breakfast partner.
But when Doctor Crusher leaves her position on the Enterprise to become the chief medical officer of Starfleet, the brightest light in Picard's life is taken from him. And he has hardly resigned himself to his loss when he learns that Beverly has been declared missing in action on a distant planet -- and presumed dead.
Kevratas is a bleak, frozen world on the far side of the Romulan Neutral Zone where the Federation has become the plague-ravaged natives' only real hope of survival and freedom. Starfleet has no recourse but to send in another team to try to save the Kevrata -- and Picard is the natural choice. Critical to the success of his mission are two colleagues who served under him when he commanded the Starship Stargazer -- Pug Joseph, a man with a past to live down, and Doctor Carter Greyhorse, who has served time for attempted murder -- as well as a Romulan who left his people years earlier and never expected to return. Together, they follow the trail of Beverly Crusher to Kevratas, determined to succeed where the doctor failed.
On the Romulan homeworld, meanwhile, the political vacuum created by the demise of Praetor Shinzon has been filled by his staunchest supporter, Senator Tal'aura. But there are those who oppose her, including Commander Donatra and the warbird fleets under her command, because of the way Tal'aura has mishandled rebellions on the Empire's subject worlds.
And one rebellion in particular; the movement for self-determination on frigid Kevratas.
So begins a desperate struggle -- not only for the freedom of the long-oppressed Kevrata but also for the soul of the Romulan Empire. Before it's over, destinies will be forged and shattered, the Empire will be shaken to its ancient foundations, and Jean-Luc Picard's life will be changed...forever.

________________________________________________

My Review from 2005:


An utter disappointment.

“Death in Winter” fails in more than one way. First of all it fails in delivering something every novel should provide : an interesting plot. All you get here is a generic plot seen more often than you can count in TrekLit history : The Federation must provide cure to a disease to a planet under enemy rule. I can accept that there are only so many basic plot concepts authors can draw from, so I could have lived with another story of that sort, if the actual story would offer something interesting or innovative. But sadly “Death in Winter” is one of the most 08/15 stories of this kind I’ve ever seen, there is nothing distinctive in it. The second failure is the final (?) resolution of the Picard/Crusher “Friendship or love affair?” problem. I don’t think it was a wise choice to bring these two together as a pair. The little bit of interest their relation created mainly resulted from their kind of relation up til now, the kind of friendship with the promise for more. By bringing the two together their relation is just another normal love affair. The third point of failure is that Friedman wasn’t able to finally provide Crusher with an interesting story. She is one of the most underused characters among the main casts of Star Trek and the author failed to give her part of the story anything unique or outstanding. But the most ridiculous part of the novel is the involvement of Worf and Geordi. It seems more like an afterthought of Friedman and Margaret Clark (editor of the book) that it might be a good idea to bring the two other remaining senior officers into the first post-Nemesis (Sort of) novel, too. But their scenes remain totally unattached to the bigger picture and Janeway’s cameo is just unnecessary. The involvement of the two former Stargazer officers Greyhorse and Joseph is a mixed event. While Joseph’s participation remains somewhat pointless, Greyhorse’s role in the novel is one of the few at least partly interesting parts of the story. But is inner uncertainty after his long time in prison isn’t explored thoroughly enough in my opinion, there was potential for more. The parts of the novels rescuing it a bit are the parts about the inner Romulan turmoil. Although they aren’t really innovative, too, they at least provide some interesting looks on the Romulan homeland post Shinzon.

Overall a more than rocky start into the post Nemesis TNG fiction and the continuation of a dangerous downward trend in the quality of Michael Jan Friedman’s novels.
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Old November 29 2013, 04:38 AM   #2
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Re: TNG: Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman Review Thread (Spoile

I liked this book it was nice to see Picard and Beverly's relationship explored in this novel.
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Old November 29 2013, 09:57 AM   #3
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Re: TNG: Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman Review Thread (Spoile

I was always underwhelmed with this one as well. The best I've ever really had to say about it was that it was about average when it came out, and that, given the consistent quality of the books that came after it, it's slipped from that since then. I think I would have liked it better if it didn't feel more like an epilogue to Nemesis (at least for Picard and Crusher's relationship) stretched out to fill an entire novel.

The fact that, as mentioned, Worf and Geordi end up just seeming like an afterthought is really bothersome for me. This was the first novel set post-Nemesis for the TNG crew, I suppose I was expecting it to serve as something of a new pilot for the crew. Maybe it was a case of expectations not approaching reality, but this one always comes out seeming like a disappointing start to the post-Nemesis TNG stories and an underwhelming standalone.
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Old November 29 2013, 01:09 PM   #4
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Re: TNG: Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman Review Thread (Spoile

The book was to my liking. The plot didn't rub me as derivative. Instead, it was interesting to see one of the conquered peoples of the Romulan Star Empire. The return/cameo of long-time favourite characters Janeway and Sela was another plus point.

I knew ST:STA by reputation, so this was the first glimpse into that, although the story of the criminal crewmember is reminiscent of Well of Souls (which I haven't read yet) and Saratoga.

Finally the Crusher-Picard lovestory received a satisfying conclusion.

My only regret is that we didn't hear from Kevratas again, except for in Path to 2409. I wonder how the subject species will react to the Hobus supernova?
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Old November 29 2013, 02:43 PM   #5
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Re: TNG: Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman Review Thread (Spoile

I liked it, objectively I can see its flaws but I like Crusher and her relationship with Picard so this worked for me.
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Old November 29 2013, 04:37 PM   #6
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Re: TNG: Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman Review Thread (Spoile

I thought it one of MJF's worst trek books.
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Old November 29 2013, 11:00 PM   #7
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Re: TNG: Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman Review Thread (Spoile

I enjoyed it very much. I wasn't expecting it to feature Picard's old crew members; they were a welcome surprise and they were interestingly evolved from "Reunion". I didn't understand some fans' adverse reactions to the book. I liked the plot. It used Sela quite effectively. Although the novel's storyline perhaps didn't have the "high concept" required of the then-seemingly ailing hardcovers.

It did suggest "high concept", though. I recall the editorial/marketing teasing aspects of the promotional material for this book, riding on the heels of BBS members daring Pocket to "do something permanent" to a major character, and the cover and title of this book seemed to indicate that Beverly might be killed off. Then there were inevitable waves of anger that she might be, then waves of disappointment when she wasn't, and renewed accusations of Pocket not having the guts to kill a regular character. And all suddenly forgotten when Janeway trod a similar path.
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Old November 30 2013, 12:15 AM   #8
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Re: TNG: Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman Review Thread (Spoile

I enjoyed it.

I'd drifted away from Treklit and Destiny drew me back. This was one of the first books I read after Destiny and I liked it just fine !
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Old November 30 2013, 02:03 AM   #9
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Re: TNG: Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman Review Thread (Spoile

This one just didn't work for me.
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Old November 30 2013, 01:48 PM   #10
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Re: TNG: Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman Review Thread (Spoile

The book just didn't stand out to me;it pales in comparison to other TNG relaunch books like Greater Than The Sum.I liked the Picard/Crusher bits though.
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Old December 1 2013, 04:38 AM   #11
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Re: TNG: Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman Review Thread (Spoile

Not one of my favorites; I hadn't read any of the stuff with the Stargazer crew, so that whole thing meant nothing to me, and I didn't think the romance rang particularly true either.
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Old December 1 2013, 01:55 PM   #12
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Re: TNG: Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman Review Thread (Spoile

It's the one TNG-R book i've yet to read. I heard it was heavy with Stargazer crew members, so I skipped it until i've read through the Stargazer books (2 to go) and also Reunion. So, i'll get to it eventually..
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Old December 4 2013, 12:52 PM   #13
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Re: TNG: Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman Review Thread (Spoile

Paris wrote: View Post
It's the one TNG-R book i've yet to read. I heard it was heavy with Stargazer crew members, so I skipped it until i've read through the Stargazer books (2 to go) and also Reunion. So, i'll get to it eventually..
Don't forget to squeeze in The Buried Age by Christopher L. Bennett in there. It covers Picard's adventures between Stargazer and TNG, like an indirect sequel.
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Old December 4 2013, 03:02 PM   #14
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Re: TNG: Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman Review Thread (Spoile

Ever since the old DC TNG comic (which I loved), I've been a fan of Friedman's and this novel is great.

Actually, it's my fave post-Nemesis book. I grew thoroughly sick of the heavy dependence on the Borg (Not all fans are obsessed by these cyborg bogey-men! They've been so overused), and so this one stands out as a favourite. Friedman always had such a good handle on the characters.

Was this the last Trek book he did? He needs to come back (no offence to the current crop of writers, but Friedman and Vornholt are my faves)
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Old December 4 2013, 04:27 PM   #15
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Re: TNG: Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman Review Thread (Spoile

Markonian wrote: View Post
Paris wrote: View Post
It's the one TNG-R book i've yet to read. I heard it was heavy with Stargazer crew members, so I skipped it until i've read through the Stargazer books (2 to go) and also Reunion. So, i'll get to it eventually..
Don't forget to squeeze in The Buried Age by Christopher L. Bennett in there. It covers Picard's adventures between Stargazer and TNG, like an indirect sequel.
Thanks, but I've read TBA twice. It's one of my favorite all-time trek books. I never miss a book by CLB
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