TNG: Silent Weapons by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Nov 17, 2012.


Rate Silent Weapons.

  1. Outstanding

    38 vote(s)
  2. Above Average

    34 vote(s)
  3. Average

    12 vote(s)
  4. Below Average

    3 vote(s)
  5. Poor

    1 vote(s)
  1. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

    Feb 21, 2005
    On the USS Sovereign
    I just finished. This is one convoluted story in a larger arc. I wonder if the Breen will continue to try and lead the Pact, and how soon the Gorn might leave it. In the greater scheme of things, is tbe Picard family really safer on a planet than the Enterprise, given the current astropolitical crises?
    Will the wormhole drive from the MU actually come into use in this Universe?
  2. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jul 22, 2004
    Arizona, USA
    I have to admit, I forgot that they weren't a unified state.
  3. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

    Jul 20, 2000
    Durham, North Carolina
    Finished the book this morning. While I thoroughly enjoyed the ongoing Typhon Pact political shenanigans and the rapid pace of the Breen's so-called master plan, I was a bit disappointed by the Breen's endgame. All of this was for a salvage operation of a new type of propulsion? The Breen really need to get over that obsession, especially since they trashed their espionage program with the Soong-type androids for the sake of that obsession. As others have already mentioned, they could have much easily have stolen the slipstream schematics with the Soong-type androids without all of their grandstanding and at the risk of losing their espionage program or their alliance with the Gorn.

    That all being said, I loved the book aside from the poor payoff. Esperanza Piñiero's death is a terrible loss even if it was one I saw coming a mile away. After killing Jasminder and Esperanza, I fear who Mack will kill in The Body Electric! :eek:

    While I know this isn't a fair judgment of the book, but I wish we had seen more of Data's hunt for Akharin instead of this major detour. While I'm certain The Fellowship of the Artificial Intelligence killed Hilar Tohm (although I initially thought Akharin was responsible) and will be followed up on, I wanted more of Data's journey. I was thrilled by the epilogue and pleasantly shocked that the Fellowship kidnapped Akharin although I can't see why they would.
  4. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Feb 23, 2006
    Sector 001
    Finished the book yesterday. And it left me feeling a bit ambivalent.

    First of all, it was a much easier read than PoM, certainly because there was no present tense or 1st person-PoV. There was enough adventure and quick action to make this book into a page-turner. But even though, it lacked the emotional depth of the last part of PoM. Again, I repeat what I said in my reaction to PoM: Maybe that's because I'm merely a casual reader now who has no knowledge of the prior parts of the TP. Granted, this book could be read on its own, but there's a lot of contextual information that's only hinted at - and not knowing the details IMO distracts and minimizes the pleasure of reading the story. I've often said here that I'd wish for some kind of "What happened earlier" in the books, especially in books connected to each other. But the way it was I didn't quite get the Breen's apparent obsession with that propulsion system, leading them to literally throw away the Soong androids which really could have secured them dominance if used wisely. And of course, the intricacies of the whole political situation escaped me almost entirely.

    My reaction to Piniero's death was... indifferent, again. Frankly, I'd have felt more if Wexler had been killed and then used as a traitor.

    I found the character moments on the E-E much more interesting. First of all, there was no real dealing with Worf's loss. Of course, Silent Weapons occurs a couple of months after PoM, but still, save for some problems with Smrhova which were mentioned in passing (because their actual interaction was quite limited), he was pretty much sidelined to putting some of the clues together. Except for 2 or 3 mentions of Choudhury, it was like nothing ever happened - which reenforced my red-shirt point of view. I'd have wished for more here.

    OTOH, I quite liked Smrhova's portrayal, but I guess her ambition and her need to prove herself, coupled with her badass attitude could lead to troubles in the near future.

    I didn't quite get what Beverly's problem was. Honestly, somehow I thought *she* let it go to her head that she's the "captain's" wife and shouldn't quite worry so much about Rene. It's not news, after all, that Picard has troubles keeping his relationship with a woman under his command and his duties as officer apart - that was the issue why he and Darren separated in "Lessons" after all. Back then, his focus was on his career - and even though he felt terrible putting her in danger, working together while having a relationship was not possible. The only shift in attitude from Picard was that now he's ready to resign himself and put the relationship above his career. So, what does that tell about Beverly and her perception of their relationship? And why does she criticize Picard? After all, she could have put herself between "Piniero" and Bacco as well. And if one goes one step further: What if Rene had been there? Would she really have expected and accepted Picard sacrificing his son? This was a "Change of Heart"-kind of situation. And actually, considering that his first officer has a mark on his record for that incident with Jadzia, perhaps Picard and Beverly should have made plans to prevent such situations (not going on away missions together etc). Well, the signs are there that they will leave the E-E in the near future... Who knows what will happen then to stories set on the E-E...

    Finally, I was a bit disappointed by Data's role here. I loved the way he contacted Geordi and had confidence that his former colleagues would come. Then again, save for mimics and smiles his return to being the Data of old, solving puzzles, making use of his android speed, felt a bit too convenient. Especially his integration into the entirety of the Enterprise crew during the "think tank"-parts. I mean, they all know of Data, they might have heard of his return... but they don't know him and at least displayed no obvious curiosity towards him. To me that seemed a bit too much like business as usual.

    I hope the 3rd part will continue Data's storyline (as the epilogue suggests it will), and in doing so be a bit more emotionally engaging than this novel. I realize that most of what I've written here is critical, but, overall, Silent Weapons is a good book. However, I'm not satisfied with good. *g*
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  5. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 21, 2011
    The Black Country, England
    I loved this book. It gave me a 'revisiting old friends' vibe that I don't often get, and I'm much more into the political arc in the Typhon Pact than the stand alone novels.

    After PoM I thought it was unlikely to measure up, but it really did. I know Destiny is highly regarded, and it did get me back into Treklit, but it didn't press my buttons nearly as much as the Cold Equations novels are doing. I can't wait for the third one (if Amazon UK stop cancelling preorders it would help) and this trilogy is shaping up to be my favourite Trek work.

    We are truly lucky at the moment - with this series and DRGIII's trilogy (I'm counting Rough Beasts with Raise The Dawn and Plagues Of Night) this is something of a highpoint of Treklit for me...
  6. the_wildcard

    the_wildcard Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jul 17, 2004
    Bay Area, CA
    Just finished the book myself. I thought it was a very good read. The action scenes were what I expect from a great author like David Mack. I have to say I was shocked of the number of deaths of so many familiar characters we've all gotten to read about in recent years. Mr. Mack is really shaking it up in this trilogy.
  7. Dingo

    Dingo Captain Captain

    Mar 14, 2009
    Typhon Pact and the Cold Equations Trilogy have combined to get me back into TrekLit as a whole (I read through a fair bit of the DS9 Relaunch of late but I was intrigued by the stories of the Typhon Pact when I did some wikipedia reading about the Breen).

    I really like how the Breen seemed to be catalysts in unraveling the Typhon Pact with their subterfuge (pissing off the Gorn in the process, and causing the Romulans to pause) and the further insight we got into the Breen as a culture based on Mack's work.

    I wonder what's coming with the Typhon Pact later in the year as a result of the events of this trilogy (specifically the Breen screwing around).
  8. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 28, 2011
    I suppose this could go in the The Body Electric thread, but since I haven't read it yet, I'll put it here.

    Here, David Mack identifies three actors to play TrekLit-only characters depicted in this book:

    I don't know Kreuk, but she certainly looks to be the part, given the descriptions we have of Chen. Minka Kelly I know from her work on Friday Night Lights and I think she could pull off Elfiki very well. (Though I sorta wish an Egyptian actress could be found; I'm not sure how comfortable I am with the idea of an American of French and Irish ancestry playing a human of explicitly Egyptian descent. Probably a discussion for another time, though.) And googling Ms. Šmrhová led me to some... interesting results that I would advise folks to approach carefully if they are in the presence of employers/the elderly. David, did you name-drop Šmrhová in Destiny before realizing that she would get a bigger role later on?
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    I think Dave's changed his mind about Elfiki, because back in 2008 he suggested Sarah Shahi for the role. Ever since seeing her in Fairly Legal, she's been my choice for Elfiki.

    Kristin Kreuk as T'Ryssa? I dunno. She might be able to pull it off, but she's a little too gorgeous. Elfiki's supposed to be the really stunning one, with Trys being more just reasonably attractive or cute. But Kreuk is right up there with Shahi among the most stunningly gorgeous women on the face of the Earth. Besides, Kreuk is already my casting choice for Counselor T'Lana from the previous few TNG books.
  10. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

    Jan 25, 2003
    New York, NY
    Ah, yes — I forgot about Sarah Shahi as Elfiki. I rescind my suggestion of Minka Kelly and revert my choice to the exquisite Ms. Shahi.

    As for Šmrhová, I name-dropped her as a minor background player. It wasn't until I began outlining Cold Equations that I thought to move her up in the cast hierarchy.
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    How does one pronounce "Šmrhová" anyway?
  12. Mage

    Mage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 17, 2007
    Beats me, I keep wanting to say 'Smirnoff', like the Vodka. Probably says more about me though...
  13. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 28, 2011
    A hobby of mine is reading about foreign language phonologies and the different ways the Latin alphabet is used to transcribe non-Latin sounds. Czech has a pretty cool phonology and orthography.

    Š corresponds to English "sh".
    M is as in English.
    R is a trilled "r", as in Spanish "perro", but it also can form a syllable nucleus, as it does here. (So "Šmr" is one syllable, just like the "ble" in "syllable" is one syllable without an actual vowel.) Note that this "r" is different from the "ř" in Dvořák's name.
    H is basically like in English.
    O is an Italianate "o".
    V is as in English.
    Á is a long "a," as in Spanish "casa", but held longer.

    So, assuming I understand correctly, "Šmrhová" should probably be rendered by Anglophones as "Shmerr-ho-VA", with that first syllable theoretically being much more "rr" than "er".
  14. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    Washington, DC
    Literally read this one in one sitting. Sat down, three hours later, book done. Never done that before.

    For all the thrilling heroics, though, there wasn't as much emotional weight to this one as I'd hoped. Bacco and Esperanza was great, and Picard's conflict I thought was nicely done, but I was hoping for more interesting introspection from Data and Worf.

    I do like that Geordi has been up front kicking ass for two books in a row now. Having decided that he likes it here, dude's been nicely angst-free and enjoying himself.
  15. ronny

    ronny Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Mar 21, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    Awesome book. I just finished a few a little while ago and haven't read the threads yet and I'm exhausted. Past my bed time but I HAD to finish this. I loved it. Can't wait to start the third book. Tomorrow...
  16. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Dec 26, 2002
    This is an awesome book I just finished this book a little while. Bravo. I really like how Data character storyline was continued in this book and how Geordi's friendship with Data was further explored in this novel. I'm so glad that story was focused on the growth of the chracters and the changes they've gone through.It looks like the Gorn and the Romulans are very angry with the Breen. I'm loking forward to reading the last book in this series,:techman:
  17. WarsTrek1993

    WarsTrek1993 Captain Captain

    Nov 18, 2011
    The Final Frontier, TX
    Just finished, that was a blast! I liked a lot of elements, namely the continuation of the resurrected Data's story and path, the use of the Breen, and the political-thriller elements, too.

    One minor detail: the fake Pinero's assault on Bacco reminded me a lot of Eastwood's In The Line Of Fire.

    Also, that little wink to the Mirror Universe was nice. Well-played, Mr. Mack! Can't wait to read The Body Electric whenever I get it.
  18. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 9, 2003
  19. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 17, 2011
    Nice review, thanks for sharing it!


    I just finished my own.

    I really loved the Breen and Gorn's portrayal in this book. The Typhon Pact is already showing its fraying nature yet, ironically, the Federation may be shoring it up as I see a relationship with the Gorn and Romulans lasting far longer than I see the Breen with anyone. Well, you know, ignoring a certain EVENT in three years.

    I actually feel bad for the Romulans for the first time in, well, forever. It may be wrong but I'm also getting the impression the Breen are a very fiscally conscious government given everyone is always speculating on their budgets whenever they propose projects. It's a nice change of pace from most governments I know. I do wonder, however, whether there's any positive qualities to the Breen or whether they're just a loathsome dictatorship. Could you share what you see as the positives of Breen society, DM?

    I also agree with fans on this board who state they think the Breen sacrificed much better assets than they would have gained with the wormhole ship. As impressive as that was. Also, bluntly, I can't imagine the Tholians will be too happy to be betrayed to the Federation by the Breen. Jeez, these guys are awful allies.

    Great book and awesome spy fiction.
  20. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Easily ;)

    I just finished the book and I must admit my opinion differs from the majority. I found it good but it didn't take my breath away. After finishing it I must say that the plot was quite interesting, but I think the "chopped" form was interrupting my concentration; I was just getting into a situation of, say, the Picard plot, when it was abruptly changed to the Breen only to be quickly changed to Bacco.

    However, the plots coming together and explaining everything (including seemingly idiotic complains "why did you save me?" from Crusher, which turned out to be totally understandable after she said what she was really angry about), and leaving the answer to the question "what are the Breen up to?" until almost the last moment made it a book worth reading.