“If you do not wish a thing heard, then do not say it.” “If you are going to bite, bite deep.” “Only a fool fights in a burning house.”
This is the book that explains Klingons. It explains their philosophy of honor, their warrior culture, why so many have names that begin with “K.” It begins to develop a language and a belief system for the Klingons. It is a beautiful and thoughtful book, philosophical and action-packed at the same time. While Mr. Ford’s Klingons may not be canon, the influence on later incarnations of Klingons is obvious.
We follow the life story of Krenn, a young Klingon Commander, from his childhood as an orphan through his adoption by a Thought Admiral who teaches him “that least Klingon of arts…strategy”, to his service in the Klingon military. He is chosen to transport a human ambassador sent to the Klingon Empire to represent the United Federation of Planets. Krenn develops a relationship with Ambassador Emanuel Tagore and we begin to understand the two cultures and how they misunderstand and resemble each other.
When ST: TNG debuted, I had to get used to Worf, because he didn’t behave like a ‘real’ Klingon based on my love of this novel. I feel like Worf and the TNG Klingons began to adopt some of these behaviors later on.
Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:
McCoy gives Kirk a book to read, “The Final Reflection,” set 40 years ago. Starfleet denies it is a factual book.
There is no Klingon language glossary, so we will learn as we go. Immersion.
The book begins again after the framing device with a title page and a note from the ‘author.’ Neat.
These are ridge-headed Klingons—a smooth forehead is indicative of alien genes.
Klin Zha is the Klingon version of chess, but more. The Game is everything; it is influences how Klingons exist.
Klin Zha Kinta is the game with live pieces.
Komerex Zha is the perpetual game: life. Do you deny the Komerex Zha?
In the Reflective Game of Klin Zha, both players play with just one set of pieces, attempting to prevent the other player from making any further moves.
The “K” is added to a Klingon name as a sign of status. Not everyone achieves this, but every Klingon has a chance. Men and women are fully equal.
Kahless, the greatest Klingon Emperor, The One Who Is Remembered, gets a (first?) mention. As does prune juice and the Klingon affinity for it.
Klinzhai is the Klingon homeworld.
Krenn meets T.J. McCoy, Chief of Medicine at Emory University Medical Center. He doesn’t have time to visit, because he has to go change his grandson Leonard’s diaper.
Krenn meets a very young Spock at a diplomatic gathering and plays chess with him. He also meets Sarek and the Lady Amanda.
Krenn and Tagore spend the long journey back to Klinzhai teaching each other their cultures’ games and languages. There is a difference between translating a language and understanding it. A culture’s games may explain the way they think.
When Krenn is called upon to ferry the Ambassador home to Earth 4 years later, he realizes someone is attempting to incite a war between the Klingons and the Federation. He exposes the machinations, keeping his own identity secret.
Krenn realizes he has been a pawn in the Khomerex Zha since infancy. But he prevented a war. He played the reflective game. He has honor.
Sudok works his controls. If you know what I mean. And I think you do.
Who is the extra Vulcan/Romulan on the cover? Why does Krenn have a smooth forehead?