In this first of three books in the I.K.S. Gorkon series, the major powers of the Alpha Quadrant are experiencing a shortage of resources to rebuild the depleted fleets following the war with the Dominion. There is an uneasy peace in the quadrant and the Klingon Empire is ready to take advantage of the lull to go in search of materials in the Beta Quadrant. Chancellor Martok and General Talak dispatch the fleet to search out worlds rich in resources. If the worlds are inhabited, the fleet is to conquer the beings on the planet and make them subjects of the Empire.
The Gorkon approaches a planet that has no indications of technological development and and is rich in the raw materials that the Empire is in need of. Looks like pretty easy pickings until a landing party is faced with a warrior race that is every bit as fierce as the Klingons. On top of that, some unnatural phenomenon is interfering with the operation of the Gorkon’s weapons and communications.
Captain Klag is an honorable Klingon and truly admires the San-Tarah as a warrior race. At the same time, the San-Tarah feel the same about the Klingons. A deal is made that will either bring the San-Tarah into the Empire as jeghpu’wI (a term that means more than slaves and less than citizens), or the Gorkon will leave and the San-Tarah will never be conquered by the Empire.
Once again, Keith DeCandido give us a look into the internal workings of the Klingon Empire. This story takes a closer look at a Klingon ceremony that bestows on of the highest honors a warrior can receive, as well as some of the workings of how rivalries develop and escalate to further the cause of revenge. Some are all too willing to set aside their honor, and the honor of the Empire to advance their own causes.
As I have mentioned in previous reviews of this author’s works, chief among Keith’s many strengths is his ability to bring characters alive and make them seem like real people. Although A Good Day To Die is obviously a work of fiction, it seems real as one reads mainly owing to the vivid character development. One major example of this is the main character, Klag. We know from the TNG second season episode “A Matter Of Honor” that he was first officer of the Pagh. After serving aboard that ship for ten years under Captain Kargan, we learn that Kargan became well known thanks mostly to actions of Klag. Later during the War against the Dominion, the Pagh crashes killing everyone aboard except for Klag, who lost an arm in the crash. Armed with only a mek’leth, Klag defeats seven Jem’Hadar soldiers. While he probably could have gained by telling the truth of how he was the power behind the legend that Kargan was becoming, Klag never really talks about Kargan, seeing no need to dishonor his former captain after he died.
In this story, Klag agrees to face five challenges with the San-Tarah. Whichever side wind the majority of the challenges will determine whether the Klingons get the resources of the planet, which are of no interest to the San-Tarah, or whether the Klingons leave the planet alone honoring a fellow warrior race. When he is questioned about whether he is sincere in his promise to leave, he explains to the leader of the San-Tarah that a Klingon’s word is his bond and Klag will not break his word, even though he most likely has sufficient personnel on board the Gorkon to hold the San-Tarah at bay until the rest of the fleet arrives.
I have always found the Klingons to be a fascinating people, but this book has heightened my knowledge and piqued my interest in the fictional race far beyond what I know from the television series. Keith writes Klingons with the passion of a warrior and it is obvious that he wants to get it right, which he does in spades. I give my highest recommendations to those with similar interests as mine, such a reader will find a well written and compelling story.
Well, there it is…