Star Trek
The Next Generation
A Time to Sow

Author: Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99, US $6.99, Cdn $10.50
ISBN 0 7434 8299 9
Available 03 May 2004

Just as the human race looks to the future, the time of another is coming to an end. In a distant part of uncharted space a world is dying, it's people the Dokaalan realising that their world will soon be gone send out three unmanned probes into the forbidding depths of space in one last desperate, futile hope that they can be saved...

A Time to Sow is set two centuries later than the events described above. The discovery of one of these probes gives Starfleet a convenient opportunity to send the disgraced Picard and Enterprise on a mission that will remove them from any scrutiny.

It is a simple assignment, locate the Dokaalan home world and search for any remainder of their existence. However what should have been a simple survey/ archaeological mission develops into something much more when the Enterprise finds a small colony of the Dokaalan still left. Against all odds they have survived and now attempt to create a new world.

But amongst the survivors sinister goings on soon emerge as the fragile remnants of the Dokaalan are ripped apart by sabotage and murder, and the Enterprise has ended up right in the middle of it - and just in time to share in the chaos.

A Time to Sow is the third in the series and certainly does no damage. Written by veteran trekkie authors Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore, it is a book that smells of Next Gen. Everything about it is just right; the scenario, the characters everything. If this was televised it would fit in seamlessly.

From the opening pages you get the sense that all is not well and this feeling is well maintained by the authors. The pace starts slow but when it picks up it doesn't stop. The Enterprise is all over the place, as well as its crew, and the book manages to mix action with subterfuge and diplomacy really, really well.

One minute you are on the Enterprise racing through an asteroid field to save a colony from destruction, next you are a shadowy agent infiltrating the Starship, then you're somewhere else being shot at by another threat. It is this constant change and excitement that makes this book the great read that it is.

If you put it down, you'll be picking it up two seconds later, and it doesn't disappoint. And, just like a two part in Next Gen TV episode, it leaves you dismayed once the end arrives. The ending is well timed - just as answers begin to be answered they leave you wanting to know more.

The book, despite being by different authors to the first two in the series, manages to maintain the same atmosphere. This is a great book, from a great series and should be read by all Next Gen fans.

Charlie Brine

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