Spoilers Coda: Book 2: The Ashes of Tomorrow by James Swallow Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by JoeZhang, Oct 21, 2021.

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Rate Coda: Book 2: The Ashes of Tomorrow

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  1. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    [​IMG]

    Blur:

    The crews of Jean-Luc Picard, Benjamin Sisko, Ezri Dax, and William Riker unite to prevent a cosmic-level apocalypse—only to find that some fates really are inevitable.


    THE FUTURE IS AT WAR WITH THE PAST.

    The epic Star Trek: Coda trilogy continues as friends become foes, the Temporal Apocalypse accelerates, and the catastrophe’s true cause is revealed.


    About the Author:

    James Swallow is a New York Times, Sunday Times and Amazon bestselling author, a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) nominee, a former journalist and the award-winning writer of over fifty books, along with numerous scripts for video games, radio and television.
     
  2. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So, I got The Ashes of Tomorrow in my shipment at work yesterday. (Proof: the book on my desk.) I read half of it before bed last night.

    Things I'll say at this point...

    1) If you thought Moments Asunder was a page-turner, The Ashes of Tomorrow leaves Moments in the dust. Suddenly it was 11:30 and I was halfway through.

    2) Ashes is a completely different thing than Moments. The tone is different, the focus is different. Dayton writing Moments played to his strengths and style. Ashes plays to Jim's. So I expect Oblivion's Gate to be equally different in style and tone.

    3) The late Frank Delaney did a podcast about James Joyce's Ulysses (Re:Joyce), and in the introductory episode he talked about Joyce's "depth of reference." I'm not saying that Ashes is Joycean, but there's a depth of reference here -- to things you expect and things you completely do not expect -- that will have you grinning. Don't read the Acknowledgements first, because the authors named will spoil some of the surprise references.

    4) After Moments, I had a half dozen ideas of where Coda might be going, and I narrowed it down to three likelies. There's so much more on the plate right now (the start of Part II) that I'm not even sure those three "likelies" are even likely anymore.

    5) I was planning on working from home today, but I went into the office to work so I wouldn't be tempted to blow off the day and finish the book. That's how much I need to finish this.

    6) Putting this under a Spoiler tag, though it's probably unnecessary -- the apparent confusion about Ezri (did she die? why didn't Worf react? why is the Aventine on the cover if Ezri died?) is clarified very early on. She's dead, Worf is Stoic Klingon (TM), and the Aventine under Captain Sam Bowers plays a major role.

    This is a treat.
     
  3. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    But what about T'Ryssa! SHE'S THE REAL ONE WE CARE ABOUT!
     
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  4. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I suppose I must wait until Tuesday for the download....
     
  5. ryan123450

    ryan123450 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    My excitement for this had wained over the last few weeks, but it’s starting to peak again. Five days of waiting!
     
  6. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Wow.
     
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  7. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I finished the book last night, and I'm going to add a couple more.

    8) There's a scene in War of the Prophets (the second Millennium book) that I found affecting at the time and which has stayed with me in the twenty years since -- Nog, who lived through twenty-five years of hell, sees the Defiant crew for the first time since they disappeared, and he gives Worf a bear-hug. There are character reunion scenes sprinkled throughout the book that have the same emotional stakes.

    9) While an explanation for a character's behavior was given and the conclusion Worf reaches in the book is probably the correct one, I had formed another theory much earlier, which ties back to the early DS9 Relaunch, which I haven't entirely excluded as a possibility! There's a third possibility in the back of my mind, but that raises the question of motive, and we have none (as yet).

    10) The bond that forms between Picard and Sam Bowers, and the role that Picard plays in their relationship, is one of the core emotional threads in the book. I'd love to see Bowers on Picard, even though none of this material would exist there.

    10a) There are some definite Picard echoes here. And a Lower Decks reference!

    11) Page 280 gutted me. And if you ever loved Star Trek (not just the novels) Pages 320-322 will rend your soul.

    12) "Feral." That's an... interesting description.

    13) I now doubt pretty much every thought I had after Moments about where Coda is going. What if it just... ends? Like the Enterprise-D flying away, like the camera pulling back from Deep Space Nine. They save the timeline, they stop the threat, and they go on... even though we'll never see them again. Because this feels like a conclusion, not an event to set up something else to follow. That something else being, obviously, Lower Decks.

    14) For being the middle book of a trilogy, this is a very good novel, with beginning, middle, end, on its own merits, Yes, it's informed by what came before, both immediately and more distantly, and it clearly sets up what is to follow, but there are clear arcs from page 1 to page 300-something.
     
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  8. GaryH

    GaryH Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    My copy arrived in Ireland this morning.
     
  9. Extrocomp

    Extrocomp Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Where's 7) ?
     
  10. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I am still digesting what I read. Ashes of Tomorrow is a very, very good book, and a very powerful one in the bargain. Things of great consequence indeed happen, and are communicated so well by Swallow ...
     
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  11. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    There are a lot of moments that stick out for their sheer memorability. I keep coming back to one in particular.

    The last moments spent together by Ro and Quark, after their fight against the Nagas on DS9 comes to an end with their last phaser emitters and they prepare to blow themselves up with a stockpile of photon grenades, are told amazingly. You really get how much these two characters loved each other, and are glad that they were able to stay together right to the end that they picked for themselves.

    Well done, Mr. Swallow.

     
  12. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Beyond this, I am impressed by Swallow's ability to not only involve characters from pretty much the whole of Star Trek but to give them meaningful moments in even their briefest appearances.

    Spock, Saavik, Pulaski, Beverly, Wesley, René, Data, Lal, Picard, Bowers, Riker, Troi, Vale, Worf, Sisko, Jake and Korena, all of the O'Briens, Kira, Ro, Odo, Bashir, Paris, B'Elanna ... Even Ezri Dax made an appearance in a way, as someone who was so loved and whose loss inspired everyone to action.

    EDIT: Plus Alexander, Martok, and Klag with the Gorkon.

    EDIT 2: And, of course, Garak!

    There were lots of great dialogues, too: Spock and Saavik, Data and Lal, Sisko and Picard (finally!) ...


    It takes a very skilled author to be able to take such a huge cast of characters, coming from multiple branches of a vast franchise, and to give them meaningful moments that ring true to our understanding of those characters. Swallow does not only know Trek, he understands it, and he is able to give this understanding life.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2021
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  13. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Damn it, Jim, I'm a writer, not a mathematician! :)

    Seriously, I can't count
     
  14. Brefugee

    Brefugee Living the Irish dream. Premium Member

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    How and with whom? I've not even had Book 1 show up yet at my local book shop!
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2021
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  15. GaryH

    GaryH Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    i preordered with book depository, and they usually deliver Trek books a few days before the official print on sale date
     
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  16. Brefugee

    Brefugee Living the Irish dream. Premium Member

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    Cool, I was under the impression from other posters Book Depository was having supply issues.

    Well, the book shop here finally has Book 1 in, I'll get the ebook on Tuesday and await book 2 to come in.
     
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  17. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I did my ordering online and in advance at Indigo, and picked my copy up from the flagship store in downtown Toronto at Bay and Bloor.
     
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  18. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In a lot of ways, The Ashes of Tomorrow reminds me of Una McCormack's The Crimson Shadow. Both novels do an excellent job in keeping the action moving forward in aulti-book multi-author series, and both novels are also excellent self-contained novels in their own rights.
     
  19. Corran Horn

    Corran Horn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    She's on Picard.
     
  20. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I do expect Voyager to make its appearance in book 3. IIRC Beyer set things up that way.