Of all of the factions that have been created over the years for the Star Trek universe, my favorites are the Klingons. I enjoy their spirit and their sense of honor. One thing that has been missing for me is knowing what goes on beyond what is presented in the television series and films. I have always wondered about what goes on in the lives of the common Klingon everyday lives as they interact with one another. After all, a planet where everyone is more concerned with being a warrior than with producing goods and services to support the masses wouldn’t stand very long. Thanks to the imagination and masterful storytelling of Keith DeCandido, at least some of my wondering has been addressed in A Burning House.
There are several story threads in this story that stretch from the highest levels of Klingon government to the most common and downtrodden people on the Klingon Homeworld, Quo’nos.
The I.K.S. Gorkon returns from battle with a degree of battle damage that requires it to put in for repairs at Praxis Station on orbit of Quo’nos. With the amount of time it will take for the repairs, much of the crew are afforded shore leave to take care of personal and professional business and to visit family. Captain Klag, commander of the Gorkon reports to his headquarters to present an account of his ship’s actions along with several other ship commanders, one being his brother who has been previously discommondated from the House of M’Raq. It is determined that Gorrik, Klag’s brother, has behaved in a dishonorable manner and his ship is to be taken from him. This action begins a complicated series of events in an effort to exact revenge by Gorrik against his brother whom he believes is the root of his dishonor.
The Gorkon’s medical officer, B’Oraq attends a Klingon medical conference which, to her, is nothing more than a farce and she is shunned when she tries to bring what she has learned from attending Federation medical training to the Empire in an effort to improve practices within the Klingon medical community.
Other officers and crew head for home to renew familial ties or to look back at their roots, and one finds that the adage, “you can’t go home again” is very true.
Further, if all of the above isn’t enough, Keith details the exploits of Gorrik in his quest for revenge against Klag. There are plenty of plot twists and turns that not only involve new characters, but also reintroduce characters that we are familiar with through the television series.
All in all, it is just a good read all the way around.
Among the many things I enjoyed about this book was how the author masterfully develops characters. Even the minor characters come alive as they interact with the main characters and by making them come alive, the story comes alive and thus making the story completely believable and compelling. This story is one that a reader can become immersed in and not be surprised when being drawn back to it making it a read page-turner.
If there is a problem, it is in that I have not read the stories that come prior to A Burning House, those being the three novels in the I.K.S. Gorkon series; an oversight I plan on correcting in the near future.
Well, there it is…