TOS: In the Name of Honor by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Defcon, Aug 16, 2014.

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Rate In the Name of Honor

  1. Outstanding

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  2. Above Average

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  3. Average

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  1. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    TOS: In the Name of Honor by Dayton Ward

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    [LEFT]Blurb:
    Delicate peace talks between the Federation and the Klingon Empire become complicated when Captain Kirk discovers that Starfleet prisoners of war are being held captive on a remote jungle planet. Now, with the unexpected assistance of an old adversary, Kirk embarks on a daring rescue mission, knowing that if he fails, the Federation will deny all knowledge of his intentions.
    But powerful forces within the Klingon government are determined to keep the shameful secret of the hostages' existence, even if it means obliterating every last trace of the prisoners -- and anyone who comes to save them!

    _________________

    MY review from 2005

    A very good novel and my favorite TOS story so far.

    “In the Name of Honor” is a very well written story with very few flaws. It’s a successful mix of politics (if only marginally), action, character enlargement (especially for Kirk) and an insight on the transformation of the Klingon culture over the centuries of their involvement in filmed Star Trek. These insights on the Klingon society are one of the things I like most about the novel. No matter how the Enterprise Producers will explain the Klingon forehead issue, for me Dayton Ward’s little theory here will be the one I’ll accept for me, namely that it is a sign for the support of the “teachings” of Kahless. Although it isn’t said in the novel ,but I imagine it like that : The modern day Klingons are born without the head ridges, but like other things in present belief systems, the genetic manipulation has become a tradition every young Klingon child goes through shortly after birth and so we haven’t seen any smooth headed Klingons since the TOS-era.
    I was doubtful if the pairing of Kirk and Koloth would work, since Koloth was in a rather comedic episode before, and so I wasn’t sure if he would be a good counterpart in this story, but the chemistry is there. The both sided respect is believable, because Ward didn’t made it a buddy story and especially the final parts of their time together makes clear that there’s still a long way to go before Kirk (and probably the Federation) can really trust and understand the Klingons and their old/new belief system.
    The characterization is consistent with what we know about the characters and especially Kirk’s inner turmoil is a strength of the novel. The one scene with his outburst at the end of the novel gives the Kirk character more depth than all 8 Shatner/Reeves-Stevens novels, with all their Kirk glorifying, together. All of the other bridge officers get their scenes, but McCoy has a rather minor role in comparison to how big his involvement in other novels is. That’s no complaint, since he isn’t really necessary for most of the story, just something that occurred to me while reading the book.
    There are only minor things I would have liked different or which I haven’t understand. For example I would have liked to see more about the Klingon council and the skirmishes there in this confusing era. One thing I haven’t understand, is why the events of Star Trek V were recalled in the beginning, although they play no real role in the novel.


    Overall “In the Name of Honor” is one of those novels every fan should have read, because it is a real gem.
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  2. Leto_II

    Leto_II Captain Captain

    Joined:
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    [LEFT] Yeah, it's pretty interesting to note just how successful Dayton's own approach to this was in the broad strokes, in that it wasn't necessarily contradicted by Enterprise just a couple of years later -- he left things intentionally vague enough so that future onscreen canon-works would still have room to permanently define it, while at the same time pointing in approximately the same direction that ENT did.


    Koloth was used very well in this story; being the "leak" whose intelligence-data sets events in motion, and whose actions could potentially dishonor him permanently, but also acting as an entity of conscience who couldn't simply stand aside and let the Empire continue on its course with that operational penal colony.

    He's put into a very tricky position in this book, and you can begin to note the shift in his character from the events of "Tribbles" to the more grounded Koloth of DS9's "Blood Oath" (and also Excelsior: Forged in Fire).


    As the novel opens, it had been approximately one month since the Enterprise-A had resolved the Nimbus III crisis (and made its journey into the Great Barrier), which was still, at the beginning of the book, its then-most recent mission. (Likely some of those intervening weeks were spent getting repairs, system upgrades, etc., before the Starbase 49 peace-talks began.)

    There are some differing versions of Gorkon's ascendancy to/departure from the High Council throughout Treklit (VAN, The Lives of Dax, this novel), but if one assumes that he went into a period of exile following the events of Precipice, and then returned years later to the Council during the movie era (as depicted here), then it tracks fairly consistently well, I think.

    Like you, I'd love to see a TOS movie-era work tackle the behind-the-scenes Klingon political situation in more depth, leading up to what occurs in the sixth film (and perhaps beyond, although there's some excellent post-TUC stuff in Cast No Shadow, Sarek, and The Art of the Impossible).
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    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  3. Nathan

    Nathan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    I voted average story, but I think at the time the book came out, it was in my top 5 for kick @$$ book covers.
     
  4. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    I remember reading this novel along time ago. I thought it was interesting.
     
  5. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Maybe, if he had not reappeared after Precipice, but Gorkon's last appearance in Storming Heaven suggests his centrality in the future. It shows him seeing off Duras's ascendancy, and he seems to reclaim his position with Sturka. Certainly he, Illizar and Captain Chang are enjoying themselves at the novel's end in early 2269...
     
  6. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    I reviewed this one last year. I generally enjoyed it and I thought that the story was a good one. I didn't really like the turn that Kirk took towards the end of the novel, but that was not really Ward's fault. I felt his prejudice against the Klingons in The Undiscovered Country was a little over the top, and this novel was setting that up.

    Here's my full review!