I originally created the UNITED FEDERATION OF CHARLES review site to talk about nothing but the Star Trek: Expanded Universe but like SF Debris, it just sort of wandered in every which way but the one I intended to review. But I do love the Star Trek Expanded Universe and while I'll never be able to review a hundred of the books I want to review, I still have time to read some of them. I've decided, since I fell behind on the Typhon Pact books, I would read the Klingon Empire series by Keith R.A. DeDandido. Ironically, that meant I couldn't start with book one because the series ACTUALLY starts with this book as they were originally guest stars of a ST:TNG novel. It's a bit like how you need to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation to understand who the Marquis are and why they hate the Federation. The premise of this book is Worf has been promoted to ambassador of the Federation to the Klingon Empire. Given he straight up murdered the people who killed his wife, his career to Captain of the Enterprise was derailed anyway. It was a good trade-off anyway. Assigned an impossible mission by both the Federation and Empire (specifically, make everyone happy in a disputed planet where the locals are raging an insurgency against the Klingon government), he is sent on a klingon vessel to serve as mediator. Worf, a mediator? Wow, that would be so very funny if not for the fact it was actually a fairly good choice since he's Ghandi dompared to most Klingons. Worf episodes were always my favorite of the TNG series with the Duras plot, his ill-fated romance, and the fact he was a horrible parent. I love the Klingons and he's my favorite Klingon of them all. Watching him work as a statesman actually "works" in a way you wouldn't associate with him. I especially liked how he played off of his much more rough and tumble Klingon companions. The real stars of the book are the crew of the I.K.S Gorkon. Following Captain Klag and his oddball crew, it has a lot of interesting characters ranging from two technicians in the otherwise anti-intellectual Klingon culture but who hate each other (one hating innovation due to not wanting to be here from the beginning and half-assing her job, the other being the innovator) to Martok's bully of a son to a completely normal Klingon woman suffering hero worship of Worf. I was fond of the aliens here as they're basically a planet of polar bears who walk on four legs almost all of the time. The novels have always done a good job of being more inventive with alien species since they don't have to deal with a show's budget. The situation with them and their resistance is resolved a bit too easily but Star Trek isn't the kind of show (or novel series) which should ever get too much into the chaos of real life. It's space fantasy as well as science fiction for a reason. I will say this novel does deal with one thing I've always had a bit of a problem with: specifically, the fact the Klingons act like ancient Romans with slavery, mass executions, torture, and all the other things which despotic regimes like their inspirations do in real life. The thing is, they're close allies with the Federation and that doesn't make much sense. I mean, in real life, the United States is allied with Saudi Arabia at the harsher side of things and China at the softer side of things but the Federation is supposed to be above that sort of realpolitic. I mean, you'd think the Klingons would be required to give up slave planets as part of the Khitomer Treaty. Overall, I found the book to be extremely entertaining but a bit on the short side. It basically reminded me of a TNG episode and that's not a bad thing. Certainly, it caused me to want to purchase the Klingon Empire novels which continue following the adventures of the crew. Plus, I'll read or watch virtually anything with Klingons on it. 8.5/10 So what did you guys think?