Star Trek
Vulcan's Soul
Book II - Exiles

Author: Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwartz
Pocket Books
RRP: 6.99, US $7.99, Cdn $9.99
ISBN-13: 978 0 7434 6360 7
ISBN-10: 0 7434 6360 9
Available 08 May 2007

Following the events in the first book of the Vulcan's Soul trilogy:
Exodus, the Romulan Empire remains at war with the mysterious Watraii, worst than that Starfleet Intelligence discovers that Chekov, far from being killed in a transporter malfunction, is alive and a prisoner on the Watraii homeworld. Unwilling to start a new war so soon after the Dominion War, Uhura, now head of Starfleet Intelligence, asks Spock, Scotty Data and the Romulan exile Ruanek to mount a covert rescue mission which must recover Chekov and a priceless Romulan artefact that the Watraii have stolen, an artefact which may well be something from the time of the founding of Romulus...

Exiles, is the second book in the Vulcan's Soul trilogy by Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwartz. Both of whom have written extensively in the tie-in genre. They are also authors of their own original concept novels.

Exiles is in fact two stories rolled into one, I presume that the first novel also followed this format, though I haven't actually read it. The book is an accomplished work and I'm sure it was a difficult concept to keep fresh.

In the contemporary Trek universe we are offered a fairly straight forward rescue story, with our heroes off to free the unfortunate Chekov from his captivity by the Watraii. It would be fair to say that this part of the novel contains little in the way of character development; it would also be fair to say that this is not a surprise. The characters of Spock, Savik, Chekov and Scotty are so well known that to have them do something out of character would have most of the Trekkies up in arms. The only inclusion of a major character that felt a bit false was of poor old Scotty. The poor bloke was already way past his best when he was rescued from the transporter beam and was up for retirement, not the sort of over weight guy you'd send into danger.

The second part of the story is actually woven into the book by the past and present sections having alternating chapters, and concerns the Vulcan's flight from their own planet in search of a new home, home that we all know will become Romulus. In a way this historical portion is the most difficult, as so much of the story is know already. We already know that the exiles settle on Romulus, why they left and what their eventual fate would be. From the film Nemesis we know that something happened to abandon a proportion of the population on Remus and the terrible mutations which ensued. Whilst their trials and tribulations hold some interest, I did find myself wishing that this part of the book would get on with it, the slow decimation of the fleet started to do the same thing with my interest about half way though.

One of the things which kept both stories going is the enigma of the Watraii, who apparently have a grudge against the Romulan's for stealing their world, a grudge that is never explained in this book, in fact when the Vulcan's eventually reach what is to become Romulus, there is no indication, in the book, that it contains any intelligent, indigenous life forms, which is very strange and goes a long way to deepen the mystery and keep the reader on tender hooks for the last book in the series.

So, an accomplished book, which should surely please Vulcan fans, though it lacks the added little punch which would have drawn in a wider readership.

Charles Packer

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