Way back in April, Dayon Ward announced that his new novel, From History’s Shadow was to be released in July, and that it was available for pre-order. So, it might not surprise you that I did pre-order. Little did I realize at the time what a ride I was in for when it finally arrived on my Kindle, as promised on July 30th.
The action in the book is ever present, so therefore I am not going to go into a lot of plot details this time. The plot is pretty well covered on the liner notes.
I liked everything about this story. While it is a TOS era story, the Enterprise and Crew aren’t as dominant in the story as much as one would expect, but when Kirk and company are involved, it is an intricate part of a much larger story.
Briefly, the Enterprise is depicted in the year 2268, about a week following the events of the TOS episode Assignment Earth. The bulk of the story is follows events surrounding Captain Jim Wainwright from the DS-9 episode, "Little Green Men," and spans over twenty years of his life and his involvement with UFO and aliens residing on Earth, and with Project Blue Book.
A race of beings called the Certoss are convinced that if the people of the Earth learn to travel in space, they will cause the destruction of the Certoss. The Certoss make it their mission to assure that this doesn’t happen by making sure that the people of the Earth get themselves into a nuclear war. The US is launching a test flight of the Saturn V rocket (from "Assignment Earth"), but this test flight is actually a nuclear weapons platform. The Certoss know that if they sabotage this rocket, it will trigger a global nuclear war. The agents of the civilization that trained Gary Seven, as well as the crew of the Enterprise know that the Certoss and the people of Earth will have a good relationship and make have to make it their mission to be sure that the Certoss fail in their mission. This is the main plot of the story, but there is so much more to the story. Dayton Ward calls on his knowledge of all the Trek episodes that are involved with alien presences on Earth.
The Roswell Incident in 1947 was actually a result of Quark, Rom, and Nog accidentally coming to earth of the past while transporting Nog to Starfleet Academy in the "Little Green Men" episode of DS-9. In that episode, Nog tells General Rex Denning that the Ferengi are planning a full scale invasion of the Earth. Captain Wainwright, witnesses this as an aid to the general. Wainwright is transferred to another location soon after and becomes vigilant in monitoring alien activity, never forgetting the Ferengi threat.
Mestral, who arrives on Earth as the result of the accidental crash of a Vulcan surveyship, later decides to remain on Earth to observe. He becomes fascinated the the people and the culture he learns about in "Carbon Creek", A small mining town in Pennsylvania, and decides that in order to get a complete picture of human culture, must travel and learn. Eventually, he meets Wainwright, and also travels to the future to meet the Enterprise crew to assist in thwarting the Certoss plans.
Roberta Lincoln, who has begun her training as an agent under Supervisor Gary Seven, is thrust into also assisting the Enterprise crew in convincing the Certoss of their folly. Gary Seven and other agents all work to keep the Certoss at bay, and some lose their lives.
So what Dayton has done in his novel is to bring together a tapestry from the threads of several different stories in Trek lore. I have seen all of the involved episodes, but never would have imagined how they could have been woven together so neatly. It really speaks to the genius of the author for him to take all of the canon episodes he called on to make a story that is very coherent and logical, almost as though all of the separate stories were actually meant to be connected.
I should also mention that he calls on two other episodes not mentioned earlier in this review, those being the TOS episode Tomorrow is Yesterday in which Captain Christopher of the USAF is accidentally abducted by the Enterprise, and the Voyager two part Future’s End episodes.
I have read a lot of Star Trek novels, novellas, and short stories, and have to say that this is, in my opinion, one of the best and most enjoyable Trek stories I have ever read.
Well, there it is…