Star Trek
The Next Generation
A Time for War, A Time for Peace

Author: Keith R.A. DeCandido
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99, US $6.99, Cdn $10.50
ISBN 0 7434 9179 3
Available 01 November 2004

The resignation of President Zife has created a huge power vacuum at the top of the Federation. It creates the setting for a fierce battle between two rival candidates, each with their own views for the future of the Federation. The future of the quadrant though also depends on the outcome, will it be war or will it be peace?...

With the alliance with the Klingon Empire on a precariously fragile footing events within both Empire and Federation may yet bring the two to war. The true events and Federation involvement on Tezwa may come to light and on Qo'noS the attack on the Federation Embassy leads Ambassador Worf into a shocking discovery that will force him to evaluate his role.

On the Enterprise-E Picard and the crew must face one more challenge. A team of inspectors have been assembled to deal with the ship. The team, handpicked by the Admiralty, all have reason to be hostile to the Enterprise's crew. The disgraced Picard must face up to the harsh evaluation of all his decisions good and bad, right and wrong, with the outcome deciding his very future at Starfleet.

Well this one was different The author has in his hands the ability to write a well combined dramatic conclusion to a series of excellent books. The ability to do justice to the great work done by the other five authors and what's produced? What is the stunning and dramatic conclusion? An election, nice. Worth the wait? Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

A Time for War, A Time for Peace has a promising start. The attack on the embassy was well conceived. It doesn't, however, fill its full potential - just like the book. It was simply, average, boring at times.

All the elements for a great Next Gen storyline are there. The Enterprise under inspection, a close fought election, a siege on Qo'noS. But somehow, Keith R.A. DeCandido systematically drains every last single piece of emotion, tension and excitement he can from the storyline. Thus it falls way short of the book it could and really, really should have been.

The candidates for the election were interesting, they seemed complete opposites. One had views that seemed to threaten war. I doubt the people of the Federation would fail to see through the thinly disguised threats, especially after the Dominion War. Even if they did you know the outcome of the election simply because of the emotional link and amount of time you spend with one candidate. By knowing the outcome it ends the tension that could have been created as you worry over who will win?

The siege on Qo'noS ends much to soon, and lamely. It begins well but seems to fizzle out. It does open a doorway into another storyline that is boring. Sadly, the book fails to live up to the hype.

Now on to the final thread of the tale - the inspection of the Enterprise. One of the best features of A Time to Be Born was the unfair treatment given to Picard, as a big fan of the great man I felt aggrieved and the book did a lot to inspire emotion. In A Time for War, A Time for Peace this is tried but fails. There is not enough to properly play with the emotions of the reader.

The book is a huge anticlimax - in fact a series of small anticlimaxes that combine to both bore and intensely annoy people like me who expected better. A Time for War feels limited, its only one book whilst other authors have had two volumes to express themselves, DeCanidio had the mammoth task of summing up the events of eight books in one - whilst still adding something of his own into the mix. And whilst he gamely achieves the first task he fails at the latter. This is because the book feels like it is simply summing up event, a lame conclusion rather than an exciting end. The feeling is compounded by an overlong epilogue, that deserved to be explored in a second volume.

Don't buy this book if you really want the series to end on a high for you, because the previous book A Time to Heal by David Mack will do this well enough. Sad to say, but this is the worse book of the series.

Charlie Brine

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