This is the second of three books in the I.K.S. Gorkon series of novels, and it is an action packed continuation immediately following the first of the series, A Good Day To Die.
Captain Klag of the Gorkon follows orders to find world's that the Klingon Empire can annex for resources to help rebuild after the war with the Dominion from the Gamma Quadrant. Chancellor Martok has sent a fleet to the Beta Quadrant to seek planets that are rich in the resources needed, and to conquer any populations that might be there. Klag found San-Tarah, a planet that is ideal in what it has to offer the rebuilding effort, however, it is also populated by a race of canine-like beings that fight as fiercely as any Klingon. While it should have been an easy matter for the crew of the Gorkon to follow through with the taking of San-Tarah, the situation is complicated by a series of anomalies that prevent the Klingons from using anything more than their hand-to-hand weapons for the fight, their advanced technology is useless. The odds are even as the Klingon landing party finds that the Children of San-Tarah, who have no technology other than their own, are amazing warriors in their own right.
Klag takes notice of this and after performing five contests, which the San-Tarah wing the majority of, has to keep a promise that no Klingons will ever step foot on their planet again. Klag’s commander, General Talak, takes exception to this and tells Klag that he and several other ships are on their way to San-Tarah, and that Klag and the Gorkon will participate in the conquering of the planet. Talak tells Klag that he has no right to make such arrangements on the Empire’s behalf, but he also has an axe to grind with Klag that involves the dishonor of Talak’s kinsman, so Talak will use the situation to take his revenge. Add to that, Klag’s own brother, Dorrek will also take advantage to right wrongs that he feels Klag has done.
Honor Bound begins with Klag calling on his fellow members of the Order of the Bat’leth to help him uphold his own personal honor as well as the honor of the Empire. While some come to his aid, a battle ensues both in space and on the planet that reaches epic proportions that finds many on both sides losing their lives. Many ships are damaged. And there is glory for all who come out on top, but is honor served?
Once again, honor is being tested on various fronts in this story. As the commanding officer of a ship, Klag is well within his bounds to make promises and enforce them, his sense of honor will not allow him to follow the orders of Talak, who will appear to follow Martok’s orders, but he uses this to cover his vendetta against Klag. It is a matter of orders versus what is right, and Klag will always err on the side of what is right and just because he holds his honor above all else.
This story is one of battles being fought on many different fronts. Klingons fighting against Klingons, Klingons defending the promises made to the San-Tarah, Klingons fighting alongside the San-Tarah, and then there is the battle in space between ships holding crews numbering in the thousands. There are also the personal battles that all of the Klingons fight within themselves as they take up arms against their fellow warriors based on orders received, and not knowing the real reasons behind the fight. This is a fast paced and multifaceted story that is exciting to its core and never lets up until the very end, where there is an interesting twist.
As I have stated before, Keith DeCandido knows Klingons and how to write their stories and present them as believable, colorful, and exciting to read. This is a real page-turner and I did not want to stop reading once I started. On several occasions, Keith fills in the blanks by giving just enough backstory on various characters adding to the understanding of the motivations behind individual actions and attitudes. His descriptions of the places in the story are well done so that the reader can visualize what the arena of action might look like.
I guess what I am trying to say is that if you want to read about Klingons in action, and about Klingon honor, then Honor Bound is what you are looking for, however I do recommend reading the first book in the series to better understand how this conflict came to be.
Well, there it is…