Star Trek
The Next Generation
A Time to Kill

Author: David Mack
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99, US $6.99, Cdn $10.50
ISBN 0 7434 9177 7
Available 06 September 2004

When the small and technologically insignificant planet of Tezwa declares itself sovereign over a nearby Klingon colony it appears a suicidally futile endeavour. However unknown to the galaxy, unknown even to most of the people on the planet; the Tezwan threat may not be as empty as it seems...

Tezwa was a setting for a devastating trap, planned by the Federation during the darkest days of the dominion war. Cataclysmically powerful Federation made space artillery, was placed on the planet on the border between the Federation and Klingon Empire, in direct violation of the Khitomer accord, jeopardising the volatile peace between the two superpowers. Now the militaristic Tezwan government plans to use the artillery to expand its influence. Knowing full well that the Federation cannot let the planet fall to any Klingon reprisal lest the truth outs about the true origin of Tezwan's artillery. If this does happen the entire Alpha quadrant will be plunged into a devastating war. So when then Klingons launch a fleet to invade Tezwan the entire future of the Federation requires the Enterprise-E to single -handedly take the entire planet of Tezwan and avert the end of the Federation

A Time To Kill is a very good read. It starts off with an explosive beginning and keeps the action up for the majority of the book. As the plot unfolds, it does feel more Tom Clancy than Next Gen at times.

The book also capitalises on the good work, already revealed in the previous books, in relation to the feelings of the crew, Will Riker and Beverly Crusher. The author, David Mack, uses many smaller characters to look at the plot through a variety of perspectives and this angle works well. Although it does get a little confusing as to who is who after a while. Worf makes a welcome appearance. The DS9 influence doesn't end there however, as those shifty guys from Section 31 make an appearance.

The time on Qo'noS is welcome, but there doesn't seem enough diversity in the book. It is too centred around the events planet-side. While this may sound boring or stifling, it is actually pretty well done. It is so different from any other thing I've read in the series so far, and that that made it all the more enjoyable.

It is also well complemented by the intriguing subplots involving all of the political hijinks at the head of the Federation - as they desperately try to keep the truth from all sides, especially the Klingons. All the while you wonder what the involvement of section 31 will bring to the story.

Another thing the book does well is contrast the relationship between Picard and Crusher and also that between Deanna Troi and Will Riker. It keeps up the pace, and the reader's interest throughout the whole of its 338 pages. A definite 'must have' for all fans of the series.

Charlie Brine

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