This novel was originally released in 1998 and it takes place between 2368 and 2372. I believe it's supposed to be at least loosely tied to the young adult Starfleet Academy series (which other than the final book in the Day of Honor series I never read). It basically follows a group of cadets through their years at Starfleet Academy, interspersed with events going on in the Star Trek universe at the time, such as the beginnings of the Maquis, the events of Generations, the discovery of the Dominion, and the beginnings of the on again off again conflict with the Klingon Empire over Cardassia. In many ways it's what you'd expect of a story following cadets. a coming of age story, or group of stories really. There isn't really an overarching plot, other than we're following these cadets through their time at the Academy. Each chapter basically focuses on 2 or 3 of the cadets as they face some challenge they have to overcome. The most interesting part of the book is these cadets are not what you'd call the best of the best. They end up with reprimands and get into some trouble, though they each have their individual strengths that help them overcome some of those weaknesses. Overall, I'd rate the book as fair. It's not that it was poorly written or anything like that. It's just that it's not the type of story that I easily warm up to. I had a hard time getting through some of the chapters. There were a few 'mini-stories' that I liked better than others, like one where a former Bajoran vedek who joined Starfleet rescues some Orion slave women. He's a character that never realized he is braver than he thinks he is. On the flip side is a character who is called a Rex (whose name is Bobbie Rae which I thought was a bit odd for an alien character) who is on a survival quest of sorts with another character and they are ambushed by others of his kind, simply because they were confused by his actions. That was a slog to get through, despite the action, and it didn't make a lot of sense. I'd probably only recommend this book to people who like coming of age types of books. It carries TNG label, probably because it features more characters and story elements related to TNG than the other series, but it also carries some elements of DS9 and a few Voyager tidbits as well. But if you pick it up just thinking it's another TNG novel, you'll probably be disappointed.