Spoilers TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Nov 17, 2013.

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Rate The Poisoned Chalice.

  1. Outstanding

    53 vote(s)
    50.5%
  2. Above Average

    46 vote(s)
    43.8%
  3. Average

    5 vote(s)
    4.8%
  4. Below Average

    1 vote(s)
    1.0%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. James Swallow

    James Swallow Writer Captain

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    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    No, you're quite right.
     
  2. Freman

    Freman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    People have been making a big deal about how she was a doctor (CMO?) on the Challenger, and were worried she would be just a nurse again in the Titan books. Memory Beta says shes on Starbase 410 awaiting reassignment. Is she no longer serving on the USS Titan as of TPC? Memory Beta says she is referenced only in the book, not actually in it.

    And from the blurb about The Poisoned Chalice:

    Titan’s tactical officer, Tuvok, is given a series of clandestine orders that lead him into a gray world of secrets, lies, and deniable operations.

    It would be really neat if this was leading into Tuvok eventually becoming the head of Section 31, as he is in the 'fan film' Star Trek: Renegades. ;)

    Cast No Shadow is GREAT so far, btw! Loving it!
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  3. Mimi

    Mimi Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Just finished this. I am sorry that it took so long for me to get around to it, because it was an excellent novel. I really loved seeing Nog in an active role again. He's always been a favorite character of mine, and he just seemed perfectly utilized here.

    I am really looking forward to the last book. My ideal situation would be some sort of tag team effort across the quadrant of all the various characters helping ferret out the problems. Picard's team, DS9 team, Garak's team, Titan team, Dax's team, Andor team...
     
  4. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Admiral

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    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    As I understand it, people make "big deals" out of a lot of things when there is no need and I personally don't think there was anything needing fixing.
     
  5. Elias Vaughn

    Elias Vaughn Captain Captain

    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Doctor Ogawa was a transporter clone.
     
  6. James Swallow

    James Swallow Writer Captain

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  7. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

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  8. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    I really enjoy listening to your podcast interviews with the authors. This was a great interview with James Swallow.I can't wait to hear your next interview for the last book in the fall series..
     
  9. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

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    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Thank you so much! It is an honor to get to interview them.
     
  10. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Captain Captain

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    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Just finished the book, and I very much enjoyed it, as I have with James' other novels. I can't say it's objectively the best of the The Fall books so far, each one has been rather stylistically different and thus any such comparison would be problematic, but I think it's the one I like best overall, personally. Well-paced, with a good, sensible plot and a host of characters I've always enjoyed (Tuvok, Nog, Tom Riker, etc), as well as a very, very deft and natural approach to continuity. The way it should be done all around.
     
  11. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Just finished today also.
    Absolutely great book,one of those where you look at the amount of pages left and think to yourself "Just how will the writer wrap up so many plot lines in so few pages?"
    Excellent story,excellent characterisation and what a great setup for the finale.If this is how the 'more integrated' novel verse bows out,then this is a fine way to do it.
    BTW,loved the Atia character and wouldn't mind seeing her again.

    One slightly nerdy point,the disgraced admiral Leyton,named in passing here as Robert was previously called James IIRC.:rolleyes:
     
  12. Elias Vaughn

    Elias Vaughn Captain Captain

    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Did we ever find out what the deal with Active 2 was? They were listening to Riker and Troi, the Vulcan officer saw that someone else was tapping in to the live surveillance feed, and then (to the best of my knowledge anyway) nothing?
     
  13. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    So would you guys say this one redeems Titan after the last two books?
     
  14. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    I would say we can treat the previous Titan book like it never happened.
     
  15. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Thank God for that.
     
  16. fleetcaptain

    fleetcaptain Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Loving this book and almost finished. Just can't stop reading it at all either. Just glad to see everything g is getting set up for the last book and see what happens.
    Thought Riker did a good job of keeping all of the information he was getting, kept aboard Titan since he was being watched. Gotta say this has bought Titan back in a good way too.
     
  17. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    With the mention of Titan charting the "Gum Nebula" in the story, I think the author was probably also trying to forget the other two books as well.

    Of course I can't wait to get a hold of Peaceable Kingdoms to see how this mini-series wraps up. The first two books were not as good as the last two books. Books 3 & 4 just seemed to kick the series into high gear.
     
  18. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    If you don't mind eBooks, both Google Play and Amazon have Peaceable Kingdoms for $4.78. Google Play has it in ePub and Amazon has it in KF8.
     
  19. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Martin's book weren't universally bad. Remember, they did a great job of fleshing out the Gorn Hegemony (keeping The Gorn Crisis in continuity). The Hranrarii were cool and unsual (because of being amphibious) aliens of the week. The Vela Pulsar was fascinating "space porn". Torvig's relationship with White-Blue was continued.

    And don't forget we got a cool Andorian starship and the old transporter-duplication was brought back (still needing resolution). Especially Seize the Fire was a thriller, with its Gorn vs Gorn action and the evolving encounters between Titan and the Gorn flotilla.
     
  20. lvsxy808

    lvsxy808 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Always late to the party on these things. General rating - above average, nudging slightly up towards excellent!



    Yeah, this niggled me slightly. Not enough to ruin it, but it did kind of feel like this carried on almost directly from Fallen Gods despite there being such a long time in between. Has nothing changed in the meantime? The ranks, as someone said. Tuvok calling the events of StF and FG 'recent.' No progress on the White-Blue problem.

    In general I like the novels to have tighter continuation rather than massive time gaps in between, so this wouldn't be a problem for me ordinarily except that FG must have taken place fairly soon after Disharmony, which is several years ago now.

    And, if the Titan really has been out there that long, how does it get back to Earth so quickly, as someone else questioned? It's not a Vesta-class, it just can't move that fast. Not deal-breakers, any of these, but definite quibbles.


    *Applause*


    I assumed Ishan was in on it too. Except that why would a man whose entire background comes from hating Cardassians then go and use Cardassians to do his dirty work? It seems incongruous that he would want anything to do with them. If he did, it would paint him more as a man desperate to achieve power at any cost, no matter who he has to work with, rather than someone who is misguided but ultimately believes what he is doing is right, as I currently see him. The only way to resolve that is if he didn't know - if he gave the general order but left the details to Velk.




    Yes, these kind of things were very nice, and as you say create a feeling of one big universe rather than lots of disconnected bits and pieces. While ostensibly a Titan novel, this also had DS9 characters (Nog, Dax, Bashir), TNG characters (Riker, Troi, Picard) and even Voyager characters (Tuvok).

    I share someone else's mild disappointment that Vale was the only Titan-only character to get any major focus (and she started off in TNG herself), but I really enjoyed her storyline. And I suppose Keru got a bit of attention too. Can we get him laid soon, please?

    Which really leads into what I suppose is my major complaint, even though it's not really that major. To wit - this doesn't feel like an actual Titan novel. This kind of storyline is not what Titan is there for - it was designed to be the ultimate new-worlds-new-civilizations series, not a spy thriller. In fact this is the novel of the series so far that is deepest into that arc plot, that has no plotline that is not connected to the arc plot, unlike the previous three. The characters are simply not doing the jobs they're supposed to be doing.

    To be fair the characters themselves know that, and I was fairly sure the author knew that too (confirmed by the Trek.fm interview). And I guess that it was a necessary evil if you wanted the Titan crew to be involved in these events at all (likewise the fudge about the return travel time). So I can understand the reasons for all those choices, and I certainly enjoyed reading the book enormously, don't get me wrong. It's just that it's not... Titan.



    Yes yes, a thousand times yes. I loved White-Blue in Synthesis, and was furious when MAM decided to effectively kill him off in StF and FG. It made no sense to me character-wise, it seemed like actual character assassination rather than just character inconsistency, as if MAM simply wanted to get rid of the character and didn't care how. So I was thrilled that you found a way to bring him back. More White-Blue please!

    I also loved that Nog got such a focus. I always worry that he ends up being a bit of a background character - the science characters on DS9 usually end up getting less attention simply because it's not a science-oriented show, even if they have to be there for 'senior staff' reasons. So I was glad to see him get his due and earn his money as a main-credits character.



    Yes, all of this jumped out at me too - it's been a definite theme of the series. Each book has taken some kind of contemporary or recent-past political crisis and woven it into the Star Trek tapestry in a seamless and skilful way, and it's been fascinating to read. Excellent work to all the authors on this.



    I caught the Quarantine reference - what was the Imzadi one?

    Also agree on Atia. I'm not familiar with the Magna Romanii or the Lahit, but I'm fascinated to see more of both.



    Yeah, I agree that MAM's books weren't complete rubbish - the work with the Gorn was excellent. But like the White-Blue thing, I loathed the transporter duplicate thing. God I hated that. There is no doubt that James Swallow is the man to continue the Titan series, if I had my druthers.


    ***


    EDIT: I just remembered a couple of editing mistakes I wanted to bring up. In at least two places, you used the word 'succession' when referring to the Andorians, when you meant 'secession.' Probably just an auto-correct mistake, but still, it should have been caught by the editor. Andor itself was inconsistent - sometimes you called it Andor, sometimes Andoria. I wondered if perhaps Andor was the physical planet while Andoria was the political entity, but that wasn't consistent either. Again, should have been caught by the editor. Also, the characters of Torvig Bu-Kar-Nguv and Y'Lira Modan both order their names like Bajorans, family name first (as did the long-departed Orilly Malar). So they should rightly have been referred to as Ensign Torvig and Lieutenant Y'Lira. I recall a couple of places where this wasn't done right. And you had Keru abbreviate Torvig's name to 'Tor', whereas David Mack had previously established the abbreviation was 'Vig' somewhere in the Destiny books. (IMO Tor makes more sense than Vig, but hey, he's an alien.)

    .
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014