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Book Review

Book Cover

Star Trek
The Dark Veil (Hardback)


Author: James Swallow
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
321 pages
RRP: £16.99, US $25.00, Cdn $34.00
ISBN: 978 1 9821 5406 6
Publication Date: 05 January 2021

Having recently reviewed the River Song novel, I have noticed a trend in some books. I'm not sure if it is a marketing ploy or a need to connect the novel to the greater story, but these books reference other things and places that are unnecessary, a case in point...

Star Trek Picard: The Dark Veil (321 pages), by James Swallow, also suffers from this problem and the only thing it makes me think is, did the author not think his story was strong enough without including Picard. Picard plays no active role in the plot and appears to be only there to link it with the show.

The story takes place on the U.S.S. Titan, commanded by William Riker, previously the first officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Onboard Is his wife Troi and their son, Thaddeus. The ship patrols the neutral zone at a time following the synthetics attack on the Mars shipyards.

During a routine transit of the zone, the Titan unexpectedly encounters a Romulan Mogai-class warbird, a rare occasion, given their ability to cloak. Their main mission is to return the Jazari ambassador home, but when they get there, they discover a planet ravaged for its metals and an enormous ship, ready to take the whole of the Jazari race to the stars. All seems well until an accident tears a singularity adrift causing massive damage and threatens both ships. When all seem lost the Romulan ship reappears with an offer of aid.

It is difficult to go any further with the book's premise without ruining the central reveal.

Although connected to the wider Trek universe, Swallow’s novel remains a self-contained tale. If you have watched or read other stories around this era, you will get a better experience, but it's not necessary. The book stands as a prequel to the Picard show and swallow deftly adds the elements to explain Thad’s passing from an apparent condition which the federation was unable to cure.

It also opens the door to Riker's growing concern about the path the federation is taking. Like Picard, he is struggling to keep the balance between his moral values and the values of the Federation.

The tale deftly weaves together the Romulans, the Tal Shia, the giant ship and the Titan well and the inclusion of the Romulan's perspective adds depth to the story. The story is quite intricate and told from multiple points of view, but Swallow can keep all his plates spinning so the reader never gets lost or overwhelmed.

Overall Swallow has produced a compelling and well written Trek novel.


Charles Packer

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