Spoilers DTI: Shield of the Gods by Christopher L. Bennett Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Defcon, Jun 19, 2017.

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  1. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    STAR TREK - DEPARTMENT OF TEMPORAL INVESTIGATIONS

    Shield of the Gods
    Christopher L. Bennett
    Pocket Books
    June 19th 2017
    eBook exclusive novella


    [​IMG]



    Blurb
    An all new Star Trek e-novella featuring the fan-favorite Federation bureau the Department of Temporal Investigations!

    The stalwart agents of the Department of Temporal Investigations have tracked down many dangerous artifacts, but now they face a greater, more personal challenge: retrieving a time-travel device stolen from their own vault by a rogue agent of the Aegis, a powerful, secretive group that uses its mastery of time to prevent young civilizations from destroying themselves. Blaming the Aegis itself for a tragedy yet to come, this renegade plans to use the stolen artifact to sabotage its efforts in the past, no matter what the cost to the timeline. Now the DTI’s agents must convince the enigmatic Aegis to work alongside them in order to protect history—but they must also wrestle with the potential consequences of their actions, for preserving the past could doom countless lives in the future!

    About the Author
    Christopher L. Bennett is a lifelong resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, with bachelor’s degrees in physics and history from the University of Cincinnati. He has written such critically acclaimed Star Trek novels as Ex Machina, The Buried Age, the Titan novels Orion’s Hounds and Over a Torrent Sea, the two Department of Temporal Investigations novels Watching the Clock and Forgotten History, and the Enterprise novels Rise of the Federation: A Choice of Futures, Tower of Babel, Uncertain Logic, and Live By the Code, as well as shorter works including stories in the anniversary anthologies Constellations, The Sky’s the Limit, Prophecy and Change, and Distant Shores. Beyond Star Trek, he has penned the novels X Men: Watchers on the Walls and Spider Man: Drowned in Thunder. His original work includes the hard science fiction superhero novel Only Superhuman, as well as several novelettes in Analog and other science fiction magazines.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
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  2. Cy-Fox

    Cy-Fox Cadet Newbie

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    I started on the DTI series back when Watching The Clock came out, picking it up from Books-A-Million in Sandusky. Time travel and time policing has always been archetypes that I've followed since playing The Journeyman Project game series. The way Christopher gave life to our faithful duo knights temporal Gariff Lucsly and Marion Dulmur as well as tying together different Star Trek temporal events ranging from the Temporal Cold War to the Manheim Incident and even the Temporal Integrity Commission's efforts was masterful. Forgotten History, The Collectors and Time Lock were insta-buys and I was recently able to pre-order Shield of the Gods. It dropped earlier in the hour and I sat there, transfixed upon it.

    Continuing from Time Lock, Bennett sowed a connection to Watching The Clock that I picked up quickly. Though Lucsly, Dulmur and Garcia were auxiliary, the way things tied up was satisfactory (high praise in words that would draw agreement from both Lucsly and any Vulcan). It was short, yes, but still an excellent piece. Christopher does well with consistency. And for the price, I feel I got my money's worth. It will reside on my Kindle shelf and likely be re-read time after time.

    Yes, that's a time joke. I get it, you DTI types hate those.
     
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  3. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Anticipating starting it on the weekend.
     
  4. rahullak

    rahullak Commodore Commodore

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    Just got it for the Kindle app. Will be starting it off after finishing Hearts and Minds.
     
  5. Markonian

    Markonian Commodore Commodore

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    Finished. Heart-breaking feels for the characters. But also moral standards so high they almost boggle the mind. I'd never be able to argue for the Fethetrit's survival if I was put on the spot, but Ranjea's and, coming in second, Rodal's argument were sound.

    The question now is: The ship on the cover, is that Daiyar's over Feth or Rodal's over (a future image of) Lakina II?
     
  6. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I enjoyed the philosophical musings, but the narrative didn't really do it for me this time round.
    I just felt that where Ranjea ended up wqs wasted. It's a great idea and totally fits his character that he would want to care for and protect even someone who kidnapped him etc, but it's something that a single message could never convey properly.

    It's not the worst I've ever read, but definitely the weakest of the DTI series.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Note that there are two planets visible. It's the Feth-Keekuwa binary, therefore it's Daiyar's ship.

    I'd say that
    the inadequacy of that single message under the circumstances was kind of the point, from Garcia's perspective, anyway. And I couldn't give a fuller picture of where Ranjea ended up, since that would've stripped away too much of the Aegis's mystery.
    Sorry it didn't work for you, though.
     
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  8. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I did get the sense of that enough to understand why you made the choices you did, just a case of you can't please everyone all of the time, and I accept that. Overall DTI is still probably my favourite original to novel Trek series.
     
  9. Kane2026

    Kane2026 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I haven't said no to a DTI story yet, so I will be picking this up. Well, downloading it to my Kindle anyway.
     
  10. Little_kingsfan

    Little_kingsfan Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    While I did enjoy this one, I agree that it's probably the weakest of the DTI series - it's not bad, it's just the others were better.

    Will we be getting more DTI novels or novellas, or is this it for the foreseeable future? Because I for one would like to see how the new partnership plays out, or if there's any truth to Dulmur's and Garcia's speculation.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't have any current plans for DTI continuations, but then, I never have before (except with Time Lock), and yet they keep asking me to do more.


    Don't expect any big revelations. I like to hint that Lucsly has big, spectacular secrets in his past because it's fun and it makes it more interesting for the readers, but I think he's really just a pretty ordinary guy (albeit probably mildly autistic).
     
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  12. UssGlenn

    UssGlenn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Near the end you reference Gary Seven's grandmother and say "although her surname isn’t Five". Is this a reference to something? Do subsequent trained generations get sequential numbers normally?
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, they don't -- that's the point of the joke, that the numbers don't refer to generations as an outsider might suspect. If anything, I've implied that the numbers are ranks within the Aegis, what with Rodal Eight being the Cardassian supervisor replacing Cyral Nine in Watching the Clock. Although in retrospect I'm not sure I really like that idea, so I haven't fleshed it out in more detail.
     
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  14. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not a great fan of the DTI but the Aegis involvement made it interesting. Christopher, did you imply that Isis might have other feline forms we never saw?
    I would go with the numbers impling some hierarchy or responsibility within the Aegis
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Let's just say that anything that can take on two such disparate forms is probably capable of more -- plus I very much doubt that either one is Isis's true appearance.
     
  16. DWMarch

    DWMarch Captain Captain

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    I haven't read the whole story yet but I had to give Christopher mad props for the mention of the "Varley extraction"! John Varley is one of my absolute favorite authors and I feel as though his work is underappreciated so to see him getting a shout out from another one of my favorite authors made my day!
     
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  17. Cyfa

    Cyfa Commander Red Shirt

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    - Me, too! I immediately knew that the next DVD I was going to watch would be Millenium (based on his short story "Air Raid", for those not in the know). I love that film so much!

    This is another excellent addition to the DTI series, Christopher. I really liked Garcia and Ranjea's partnership, so I was sad to discover that it's over - I kept thinking there was going to be a time-travel resolution, but I'm glad you didn't go down that route as the ending suits Ranjea very much.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I always thought the movie was based on the 1983 novel Millennium, which was expanded from "Air Raid." But apparently the novel is based on Varley's screenplay, which he first wrote in 1979 and took a decade and several failed starts to get to the screen. I guess he did the novel because he got tired of waiting for the movie, or maybe he did it at a point when it seemed the movie had fallen through.

    Thanks!
     
  19. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I can believe that, as well as they are supervisors of all of their agents, regardless of their rank.
     
  20. foxmulder710

    foxmulder710 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I loved this. I posted my review on my blog (https://theapokalupsiscoach.com/2017/06/25/st-dti-shield-of-the-gods-compassionate-love/) but am re-posting here, augmented because I'll be speaking to just Trekkies now ;):

    "How to convey how mystified and misty eyed I am at words on a page creating characters and experiences who nourish and move my heart?

    What a wonder, fiction. What a wonder, words. We are able to create imaginary experiences that create and activate real emotions. Plato saw this as a problem, wanting to banish all the poets from society for its safety. Meanwhile, I spend my Sunday afternoon relishing in one of my favorite ST authors' creations.

    The Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations - Shield of the Gods eBook came out last week. I've been reading it a little per day, trying to savor it, and it came to a climax today. I had been wanting something more creative, some temporal gimmick, some plot twisting hook or nuanced intricacy of landmarks from the ST canon tied together in some clever way (as Bennett is wont to do, see Watching The Clock, Forgotten History, or even The Collectors). But, as with another beloved of mine in this moment, sometimes what you expect simply disappears and goes silent.

    Luckily, in this case, something better arose. It's almost a passing-the-torch novel, as Ranjea and Teresa Garcia (the two junior agents who came to partner up in the first novel) are showcased perhaps more than Lucsly and Dulmur (who basically ARE the DTI as established in original canon). But then (SPOILER ALERT) Ranjea gets abducted and sent to the past, and chooses, in perfect alignment with the depths of compassion in his character, to stay there in order to help love, rehabilitate, and heal the deep emotional wounds of the villain. Leave it to Star Trek well-written to give an illustration of compassionate healing for one's antagonist rather than elimination (discounting, for the moment, the extremely simplistic action-film trope format that doesn't do anything like this with General Chang, the Duras sisters, the Borg Queen, Ru'afo, Shinzon, Nero, and Krall...with the notable cryogenic re-freeze of Khan).

    I wept as Ranjea spoke his goodbye message to Teresa. The book, I realized, doesn't need a gimmick of plot...it's theme and the characters, in a testament to those pillars of fiction that will stand for many centuries to come regardless of vicissitudes of genre and setting, are strong enough on their own. Brilliant enough. Beautiful enough.

    Even though I predicted this ending - Ranjea sacrificing himself for love of another, in a very unique and long-suffering way - about two pages before it happened, it was the kind of thing that makes me want to do the same.

    To listen, hold space, and step back rather than condemning when someone dishonors their word and leaves me with a violated expectation. To love them through their wounds and not stop when their blind action from those wounds hurts me.

    After all, no pain is mine but that which I can heal. Or redeem in creative combination with art and the quest to empower others.

    Recipe for bliss #80: Allow the gifts that are uniquely yours to arise in and redeem your experience, and then give them..."

    To make the point more on-the-nose than in my blog, what was done with the villain here was better than what most ST movies for the past decade or two have done...this novel hits closer to home with the spirit of Trek than they did, imho. I was sad about how Ranjea ended, though maybe we could see more of him in the future as an Aegis agent.

    I like the Aegis and their unique long-view perspective on the timeline et cetera. We definitely need more of them.

    I'm curious to see what might happen next in the DTI universe. I felt like there were some motions towards the temporal defense grid being built, that moment early on where Lucsly actually comes at Dulmur with a view of wanting to take a more active role in defense of the timeline, which was cool. I LOVED the fleshing out of the Aegis, and how you managed to keep them still mysterious at the same time...really, it was a wonder, how you pretty much stayed almost exactly adjacent to their brief portrayal from the show and then maybe to Greg Cox in the Eugenics Wars novels...and still managed to have it be interesting. In fact, I ALMOST felt like there wasn't enough added content to what's already in canon, but as you said earlier in this thread, you didn't want to strip them of mystery.

    THOUGH it would be PERFECT for the next novel to be about Lucsly having been a double-agent this whole time, having been born Aegis and having chosen DTI as the perfect way to fulfill his innate desire to ensure stability and proper flow of the timeline (maybe that being something bred into him?)...if that got revealed, though, it would HAVE to be under the dramatic circumstance of some sort of conflict between his two loyalties, a significant alteration of his friendship with Dulmur, and while Teresa partners with him...all AFTER he's enlisted her help in marshaling all the forces needed to create the defense grid...Christopher, you can have this one if you want, I definitely didn't come up with it ;)...I just REALLY REALLY want this series to continue and am brainstorming how. :)

    It was a good read, and fairly satisfying. I re-read all the DTI series this year in preparation, and it was worth it :)