Spoilers TOS: Agents of Influence by Dayton Ward Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Avro Arrow, Jun 6, 2020.

?

Rate TOS: Agents of Influence

  1. Outstanding

    14 vote(s)
    70.0%
  2. Above Average

    3 vote(s)
    15.0%
  3. Average

    2 vote(s)
    10.0%
  4. Below Average

    1 vote(s)
    5.0%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. DEWLine

    DEWLine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2003
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    The first two episodes of DSC made it clear that Donatu V - whatever was involved there - happened before the "Battle of the Binary Stars". Yes?
     
  2. DGCatAniSiri

    DGCatAniSiri Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Yep. T’Kuvma cites it during one of his many speeches. It took place about twenty years prior to TOS, so it’s still a decade in the past when the Battle of the Binary Stars takes place.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    There was a bit of a retcon there, though. The first episode had dialogue suggesting that there'd been virtually no Federation contact with the Klingons for nearly a century, but the second episode walked that back a bit by mentioning Donatu V and other brief skirmishes.
     
    Corran Horn, lawman and Elwro like this.
  4. Procutus

    Procutus Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Location:
    Somewhere in Outer Baldonia
    Is there any actual mention of the plans to upgrade the Constitution-class ships in the near future? Or is it just that we know by the time-frame that this will happen?
     
  5. Leto_II

    Leto_II Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2013
    Location:
    Room 303, The Heart O' The City Hotel
    There are several direct references to the DSC-conflict in the story, but none to Donatu V that I can recall. As DGCatAniSiri mentioned above, Donatu was already quite some time in the past even back at the start of DSC (and was covered pretty thoroughly by Kevin Ryan's Errand of... trilogies).

    No mention of this in the book. Although
    one can maybe infer that the Endeavour's near-destruction during the events of the novel due to a Klingon weapon serves as a flashing warning to Nogura and the rest of the admiralty that Starfleet needs to upgrade their topline heavy-cruisers, stat, which would fit the timeframe. The K'tinga-class battlecruisers are discussed at some length, however, in terms of them being about to finally enter production at Imperial shipyards.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
    lawman and Ronald Held like this.
  6. Procutus

    Procutus Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Location:
    Somewhere in Outer Baldonia
    ^

    Thanks! My copy finally arrived on Thursday, but I still had about 50 pages to go in a David Golemon novel and wanted to finish that first. Ready to start in on AoI tonight!
     
  7. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Location:
    California
    I mostly just seized on it because I have a bit of a personal investment in Endeavour surviving to the movie era (well, not to mention the fact that we only know its registry number because of a chart in TUC).
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
    DEWLine and Leto_II like this.
  8. Leto_II

    Leto_II Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2013
    Location:
    Room 303, The Heart O' The City Hotel
    Dayton had the Endeavour (or at least some form of it) evidently surviving into the TOS movie-era in his novel Elusive Salvation, where it participates in the 2283 Iramahl rescue-mission with the Enterprise. Based on how this new book ends,
    maybe the saucer got attached to a new, 5YM-era Connie stardrive-section and then both underwent a refit in later years, but who knows.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
    David cgc and DEWLine like this.
  9. Tuskin38

    Tuskin38 Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Virtually none doesn’t mean 100% none. Also they could have meant contact as in actually speaking, the attacks could have had no communication.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Yes, of course any inconsistency can be rationalized. The very point of the word "retcon," which a lot of people don't get, is that it's retroactive continuity, not discontinuity. It's supposed to be reconcilable. But it still represents a change in the storytellers' intentions. My point is that I got the feeling that the writers of the pilot episode had forgotten about Donatu V and someone (probably Kirsten Beyer) set them straight by the time they did the second episode.
     
    lawman, Tuskin38 and DEWLine like this.
  11. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    I finished this book and voted outstanding. I really liked this story alot. Vanguard should really enjoy the storyline with Captain Khatami and her crew working with Captain Kirk and Uhura and Sulu to protect them from Orion Pirates and ruthless Klingons in the Irvantri asteroid field. Also Spock in command of Enterprise with Admiral Nogura investigating the klingon technology that causes attacks on their ships .
     
  12. BuckBokaiLondonKings

    BuckBokaiLondonKings Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2018
    Location:
    Washington
    I really loved this book and voted outstanding. I agree with previous posts that it started a little slow but once I got about halfway through I could. not. put. it. down.
     
  13. lawman

    lawman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    I have to admit I found myself somewhat disappointed by this one. It wasn't egregiously bad, to be sure, but neither did it stand out and distinguish itself in any particular way. It has the bones of a really cool story in there somewhere, but the way it was fleshed out doesn't live up to that underlying potential.

    Certainly the concept of long-term deep-cover Federation agents on the Klingon homeworld sounds like something with all kinds of fascinating story potential, but none of it is really developed. We barely get to know the agents, barely see them operating among Klingons, barely learn anything about their work or lives on Qo'Nos, never actually learn how they were discovered—they don't even bring any particular intriguing plot MacGuffin with them. In a sense, they are the MacGuffin.

    Likewise, bringing the oft-mentioned but seldom-seen Admiral Nogura aboard the Enterprise seemed to have lot of character-revealing potential. It all goes unrealized. Nogura himself comes across as a generic hardass-with-a-heart-of-gold, such a cipher in personal terms that the book literally lampshades how little personality he has. Nor do we see any interesting interactions with the regular crew. The highlight of the entire story, Nogura-wise, is probably the moment when he calls McCoy "insolent."

    Beyond that, the book really feels like it would've benefited from more attentive editing. For example (at least in the Kindle edition I read), when we first meet D'zinn and her Orion crew, they're tracking a civilian freighter with three people aboard—at a moment in the story when we've just learned that Kirk and company are planning to go undercover in just that way. Except it's not them, because they haven't actually started yet, and whatever random civilian freighter it actually is is never seen, heard of, or mentioned again. For an even more egregious example, the firefight on the asteroid later in the book, which is something that by all rights should be taut and suspenseful, instead drags out interminably, with scenes that repeat themselves almost literally word-for-word. And these are just a couple examples; lots of other scenes, from beginning to end, have a similar sense of overly wordy drag to them.

    The pacing is an issue in terms of plot developments, too. From the moment we first learn that a problem has cropped up with the signal buoys the Endeavor is using, I thought, "Hmm, it would be thematically appropriate if there were an undercover agent on board trying to sabotage things... I bet it's Character X!" But it isn't until some godawful number of chapters (and multiple additional sabotage attempts) later that the story finally reveals that gosh, yes, the saboteur is indeed Character X. And even after all the waiting, for some inscrutable reason, the scenes are staged in such a way that we don't get to see our protagonists figuring that out.

    On the whole, it just feels like it's going through the paces of a generic run-of-the-mill Trek story. I was hoping for better.
     
    Daddy Todd likes this.
  14. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sunshine cottage,Lollipop lane,Latveria
    I mostly enjoyed this one but frankly I’m sick to death of “undercover mission on a grungy freighter”trope.
     
  15. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Location:
    On the USS Sovereign
    Over 100 pages in. All right so far. Tired of Orion pirates.
     
  16. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
  17. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Great interview with Dayton Ward.I really enjoyed listening to your discussion about Agents of Influence and Vanguard books.
     
    Admiral Rex and Kertrats47 like this.
  18. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Location:
    On the USS Sovereign
    Will have to wait until I finish the book.
     
  19. Procutus

    Procutus Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Location:
    Somewhere in Outer Baldonia
    On page 174, can anyone tell me about the incident with Koloth and the Devisor? I'm assuming this is something that happened in one of the novels I may not have read.

    All in all, I'm enjoying this, especially Nogura's interaction with the crew.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    It's a reference to The Animated Series: "More Tribbles, More Troubles."