A cataclysmic multidimensional explosion rips through Klingon space, killing thousands. It is an act of terrorism on a galactic scale. The blast threatens the tenuous peace treaty between the Klingon Empire and the Federation. The sect thought responsible has not been active in nearly a decade and to make matters worse, a Federation traitor is somehow connected.
The new novel, ‘Star Trek: Cast No Shadow,’ by James Swallow, follows up on the events in the motion picture ‘Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.’ It is 7 years after the assassination of the Klingon Ambassador Gorkon; Kirk is dead; Spock is a diplomat; and Valeris, the Vulcan traitor, is serving a life sentence on a penal colony.
The Klingons quickly blame the house of Q’unat, known for harboring extreme Klingon-isolationists, but they haven’t been active in years. Elias Vaughn, from the Office of Intelligence Evaluation, finds evidence that may point in another direction entirely but is immediately shut down by his superiors. He does what every good protagonist does, risks his career and ignores them. Vaughn quickly manages to talk his way onto the USS Excelsior, helmed by one Captain Hikaru Sulu. The Excelsior is on its way into Klingon Space to investigate the events surrounding the explosion and arrive just in time for an even bigger detonation.
The book at times reads like an episode of Law and Order ST: SVU (Star Trek: Special Victims Unit), complete with flashbacks and interrogations. Not being a Trekker myself, it has been years since I’ve seen the movie that this story expands upon, but Swallow makes sure that re-viewing it is not necessary, filling in the pertinent details with ease. I like the idea of a book as a sequel to a movie, as most movies leave gapping plot holes. This book addresses them nicely.
‘Cast No Shadow’ is archetypal Star Trek reading; no new ground is broken here. That’s not a bad thing. Star Trek has been mostly talk with a little action added when needed and ‘Cast No Shadow’ is no different. The writing and plotting are tight, the characters stay true throughout, and the Klingons are…Klingons. Even good authors have trouble giving them more than two dimensions.
Star Trek fans will enjoy seeing one of the better movies based on the original series expanded here. ‘Cast No Shadows’ will not convert non-believers but I don’t think it intends to. If you ever wondered about Spock’s relationship with Valeris (played by Kim Cattrall in the movie), or what was behind her treason, pick up this book.