This is the fourth book in the nine-book Vanguard series. This story arc, written in the 2000s-2010s, is set concurrently with Star Trek: The Original Series television show. In fact, Captain Kirk and the Enterprise show up from time to time, either in person or through Starfleet scuttlebutt.
While the series is a throwback in terms of Starfleet eras, the subject matter is contemporary with a lot of sci-fi of the time – advanced, ancient tech (Mass Effect, Halo); the internal politics of Starfleet (Battlestar Galactica), intergalactic amorous pursuits (all sci-fi ever), quips (Firefly). Even though the subject matter isn’t ground-breaking, the series has been a lot of fun. Great for a relaxing bed-time story without brain-cramping physics or despair.
That being said, four books in, things get pretty heated for a lot of the characters the readers have come to know a thousand pages in. Without specifically spoiling anything, I will say that not everyone in the first book makes it to the end of this book. Additionally, things only hinted at in the first few books are now in relief and directly impacting every form of life in the Taurus Reach (at the border of Klingon, Starfleet and Klingon space).
There’s also an in-depth Vulcan storyline that is pretty fun – it deep dives into Vulcan lore from other books and shows to explore Vulcan psychology and medicine. That part is really interesting, but in my opinion the book suffers from only taking the position that the Vulcan worldview has got it all wrong. Any kind of culture will have pros and cons, and I would’ve liked to have seen the pros addressed more.
Nonetheless, it was a fun read, ad book number five is in my Summer 2023 To Read queue, and probably cutting in line.