TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Dec 22, 2013.

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Rate Peaceable Kingdoms.

  1. Outstanding

    18 vote(s)
    19.1%
  2. Above Average

    38 vote(s)
    40.4%
  3. Average

    32 vote(s)
    34.0%
  4. Below Average

    5 vote(s)
    5.3%
  5. Poor

    1 vote(s)
    1.1%
  1. USS Firefly

    USS Firefly Captain Captain

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    I was a little bit dissapointed, especially with Crusher when she doesn't do much beyond reacting late especially whith the fight scenes .
     
  2. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Commander Red Shirt

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    This was an OK conclusion - I really enjoyed the flashback chapters, those added quite a bit to the story, but overall? It came across as mechanistic. This is the job it's assigned to do in The Fall series and it has to do it.

    It also shows up the marketing for The Fall, with the notion that you can read any one of the books, as utter bunk! It is a 5-book series so sell it as that! Points for honesty will be given if nothing else.

    President Cardboard remains a charisma void, how anyone took him seriously is beyond me. Highlight of the book? Garak's cameo, so damn classy!

    What I liked most is the series was an emphatic rejection of the militaristic tendency in the Federation and Starfleet. It would be fair to say the hawk faction could have been more subtly portrayed but their outlook was also complete crap. The idea that a more militaristic Federation would have had an easier time with the Dominion and Borg is, to me, utter counter-factual fiction that bears no resemblance to the reality.

    While the Typhon Pact will continue as an adversary, I'd like to think this series sees the Federation politics getting a rest. Not least as the scars from the Borg invasion are partly scabbed over now and its in a much better position than it was. That's one of the things Pocket Books should get credit for - they did the Destiny arc, but also spent a substantive amount of time on the consequences afterwards, without overdoing it.
     
  3. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

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    I think listening to the authors talk about the series on Literary Treks might help you have a little more background as to what they were going for with the series.
     
  4. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Prize by Therin of Andor, on Flickr

    My prize of a signed, enlarged cover slick of a "Star Trek" novel, "The Fall: Peaceable Kingdoms", arrived in the mail yesterday. With sincere thanks to author, Dayton Ward.
     
  5. Ben

    Ben Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Just finished reading this over lunch and I have a question about the Ishan reveal:

    How did they know the remains they found belonged to the real Ishan if their identities had been swapped in all the records? Wouldn't their computers identify them as Baras remains?
     
  6. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    They answered that in the book. Records of Ishan's real DNA pattern were still in the Cardassian data records, which Elona accessed. Baras and Velk were only able to swap Federation and Bajoran data records.
     
  7. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    I still don't understand. What is the titular "The Fall"?
     
  8. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    :vulcan:

    It's an entire mini-series about the fallout from a presidential assassination, and you have to ask?
     
  9. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Premium Member

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    Or it's based across the autumn months of the year and published across the autumn months of last year and the title stuck.
     
  10. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    While Dimesdan's right on the money (it was a placeholder that just happened to stick), I think the title does work reasonably well no matter what the intention behind it, at least if you want to read more into it, to ascertain its suitability.

    "The Fall" can have a double meaning, in referring, perhaps, to the literal fall as Bacco is shot dead, and the overall drama of her assassination. That one "fall" - the fall of one leader - and the rest of the series deals with its aftermath.

    Also, the Federation, as one of three cultures depicted on the hard climb back into the light after traversing the winding tunnel of crisis that's defined its last decade-and-a-half, is trying not to let that incident drag it down to somewhere it shouldn't go (just as it's reached the point where things are potentially back on track), while Cardassia has previously fallen and gotten back on its feet, and is now taking the last shaky steps toward a new stability and a more hopeful future. And Andor is teetering on the brink of extinction and civil war. Cardassia fell, Andor is about to fall (and facing the stark reality of its approaching end), and the Federation is in danger of choosing the wrong path and spiralling down. In the end, all three keep on walking in the right direction, and all three cultures are more-or-less on the path to being healed.

    "The Fall" is the spectre that hangs over everyone - for Cardassia, it's in the past, for Andor, the near future. For the Federation, a hypothetical. But they're all defined by it. And the fall of President Bacco is the event that forces their confrontation of it.
     
  11. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    I suddenly noticed the name of the Klingon battle cruiser mentioned on page 226. The I.K.S. ghungh'HoH.
     
  12. BritishSeaPower

    BritishSeaPower Captain Captain

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    Certainly didn't enjoy this one. And I think it really lowered my estimation of the fall in general. There's a point where Crusher, Daret and Tom Riker think about why Ishan would change identities and they're all pretty dumb reasons and we're left with Crusher shrugging. We then have a flashback that shows Baras-now-Ishan wondering why his identity was changed and saying he didn't know!? It seems like someone wanted the Martin Guerre story to be the reveal but had no clue what purpose it would serve in story.

    Reading through I think a lot of the posters here echo my sentiments. The scene between Riker, Akaar and Picard at the end was nice but considering I just started Absent Enemies in which a Starfleet Officer is already serving as a diplomat despite The Fall telling us that wouldn't really be the case any longer tells me all I need to know about the ramifications of this event.

    In the end I would rate the books as such:
    Revelation and Dust 2/5
    Crimson Shadow 5/5
    Ceremony of Losses 3.5/5
    Poisoned Chalice 4/5
    Peaceable Kingdoms 2/5
     
  13. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    What the hell are you talking about?
     
  14. BritishSeaPower

    BritishSeaPower Captain Captain

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    ^ In the flashback scene after Baras becomes Ishan he makes an off hand remark about being unclear on why exactly Urkar pushed for the identity swap and he even pokes a few holes in it (I can't go back to the camp because someone may know Ishan but everyone's dead, so if I go to another camp it'll all be fine) While, yes, it is hand waved away as a clever ploy to outsmart the Bajorans from knowing Baras is a collaborator it still seemed incredibly forced. And ultimately it seemed like Dayton Ward was lampooning the idea right in front of us.

    In the scene with Riker, Akaar and Picard there is a rather lengthy section in which Picard speechifies about keeping diplomacy with the civilians but that he'll still act as the Federation envoy when the need arises. It's a really good scene and really gets at the heart of the post-2005 Trek-Lit. Indeed that struggled should have been emphasized the whole book and it would have made for a better story. Absent Enemies begins with an Admiral being called away from important military action to effect a diplomatic on a species already known to the Federation. Sure, yes, I understand the nature of the call to duty as a literary caveat and it was established that Riker had experience with them. But the very first story to come out after the big "Let's be explorers again" coda to The Fall is Starfleet forcing an officer to be a diplomat again? It rubbed me the wrong way. It's not a narrative defect with either story, it just seems to be a strange oversight that really saps the good parts of Peaceable Kingdoms.
     
  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I just re-read Chapter 32 and I could find no such scene. The most I found was a reference on page 307 to Baras not being willing to go back to the Olanda camp, because he was worried other Bajorans would recognize him and remember that they had been told that Baras (in reality, Ishan Anjar) had been executed, thereby exposing his treason against the Bajorans. Which is a completely reasonable thing for Baras to fear; nothing about that seems forced.

    I think you may be referring to this passage from Chapter 38, pages 357-358:

    So Picard is making three basic arguments:

    1. He, Picard, should no longer have the kinds of extraordinary authorities to act within Federation borders that he was given at the end of TNG: Losing the Peace, because the Federation has become more politically stable since the Borg Invasion.

    2. Policy-making in diplomacy should remain the domain of the Federation's democratic government, not the domain of Starfleet.

    3. Starfleet has a diplomatic role to play, but this role should be restricted to serving as first-contact envoys and to other situations necessitated by distance; this implicitly carries within it the argument that when acting as such an envoy, a Starfleet captain's job is to interpret and execute existing foreign policy, not to make foreign policy (see #2).

    This does not rule out stories in which Starfleet captains or admirals must play a diplomatic role.

    I haven't read Absent Enemies yet--I generally don't read e-book releases. But if that species is still distant from the Federation, and if Riker was not making Federation policy towards them (but rather interpreting and executing extant policy), then I think there's no real conflict between that and Picard's thoughts in Peaceable Kingdoms.

    I don't agree. For one, I don't see an e-book release as being important enough to define the tone for 24th century Starfleet novels. Secondly, I didn't see the point of that scene in Peaceable Kingdoms as being, "Starfleet is going to be primarily about exploration again." I saw it as being, "Starfleet is no longer going to be primarily about defense and setting foreign policy because of extraordinary circumstances." Stories about Starfleet dealing with battle and foreign policy crises are obviously going to continue, but the impression I got from there was that, metatextually, the novel line would put a greater emphasis on exploration stories, and that, in-universe, Starfleet would go back to putting a greater emphasis on exploration.

    It's a fine distinction, I suppose, but I think it's important. One is saying, "We're gonna do exploration, period," and the other is saying, "We've been doing too much war and politics; we're gonna do exploration again, too."
     
  16. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I just finished reading Peaceable Kingdoms a few minutes ago, and I enjoyed it a lot.
    All of the different plots managed to hold my interest pretty solidly throughout the whole book.
    I'm a big Riker fan and I like Akaar alot, so I enjoyed their roles in the book.
    The most interesting story was definitely the stuff on Jevalan. I will admit, the reveal of what was going on with Ishan wasn't quite as big as I was expecting, but I was still thought it was interesting.
    The removal of Ishan and election of a new president did feel like they could have been expanded a bit more.
    Even if he wasn't what I was expecting, Ishan was still a pretty interesting bad guy.
    After the books spending a while seeming to go from one crisis or conflict to the next, I like that the end seems to be moving away from that to focus on exploration, and getting the Federation back to a more positive place.
    A solid above average rating for me.
     
  17. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Finished this book (and the Fall miniseries) yesterday. And while it brought the series to an ultimately satisfying (if a bit predictable) conclusion, the only really engaging parts where the flashbacks and the introduction of the Cardassian doctor. Everything else felt a bit repetitive after the other parts of the series. And TBH, I also didn't quite get the reason for the identity change in the first place since the Cardassians don't change Baras' features to match the original Ishan's and kill all those who could identify Baras (and the late Ishan) anyway. So while the actual reveal worked well, the actual reason why seemed more like a random twist that wasn't really explored all that well. But then again, I thought it would go in a sort of Iliana Ghemor/Kira Nerys-direction...

    I also liked the way that exploration should be back on Starfleet's agenda after all the political upheaval.

    Otherwise the novel spent pages upon pages repeating itself (and its predecessors) which let my attention wander a bit - which is never a good sign. I observed the need to endlessly summarize previous chapters in quite a few ST-novels now, and I wonder why that is necessary as I don't think the readers are incapable of retaining the memory of what they've just read for more then 5 seconds. Fortunately, the action picked up speed in the second half of the novel, but during the first half it was a real chore to wade through those repetitions. I think much of the space used for those "summaries" could have been used exploring the aftermath, Ishan's removal, Bajor's reaction, the actual election (even if the election of the Andorian candidate was a foregone conclusion), even the race to get the information back to Earth/Louvois. Riker's end of the story, his confronting Schlosser, even the part where they got Velk out, all that got awfully short-changed. Why not show the actual events instead of just mentioning them in a conversation after the facts?

    So, overall I voted "Average" here - it was an entertaining story, but it could and should have been more.

    The highlight in the series was "The Crimson Shadow" for me... and come to think of the series as a whole, I still wonder why the parts aren't numbered on the cover. Especially in this series, it's an illusion to maintain the statement that every single part can be read on its own without prior knowledge - yeah, that may apply to "Shadow" (and Revelations since it's the first part), but to the others (especially Chalice and Kingdoms) not so much. So why not be upfront about it and put the reading order on the covers?