Web of the Romulans
2 journalers for this copy...
The Romulans are known to be somewhat treacherous and patrolling the Neutral Zone has always been tricky. But this time, Captain Kirk feels particularly uneasy. The Federation has received hints of serious internal crisis within the Romulan Empire. Will the crisis lead to an attack? Kirk's suspicions are quickly confirmed when a Romulan ship violaes the zone. The ship appears to be headed toward Canara, a Federation planet. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy learn that the Romulans are being ravaged by a plague and that the only antidote can be found on Canara. S'Talon, captain of the Romulan ship, has been ordered to raid the planet - despite his own misgivings about the widsom of his mission. To do so, he must destroy the Enterprise! Unless Captain Kirk and Spock can find a compromise, the Federation and the Romulans will be at war.
This hardcover book is journeying with a Star Trek BookBox.
The writing was a bit over the top at times, but was generally good. The characters were well drawn--the characters we know acted like themselves and the characters we didn't seemed better than two-dimensional--and the plot was fairly believable. No glaring scientific impossibilities (though at one point Kirk has the Enterprise go from one side of a planet to the other at Warp 1. Faster than light speed to travel halfway around a planet?).
Sexist even for the early eighties when it was written. First, all of the people in charge (including the Starfleet head council) are all men. The women in this story were: Uhura whose main scene had her looking "fragile" in her bathrobe; a yeoman (seq. Wikipedia "a rating usually with secretarial, clerical, payroll or other administrative duties"--in other words the secretary who brings the boss reports to sign when she's not delivering his coffee) in the botany lab (what was she doing there? filing plants?) who is bullied by her male superior; a centurion second-in-command who isn't loyal to the Romulan Empire or inclined to command like the Romulan men, but she's loyal to her commanding officer, whom she's in love with and only feels fulfilled when (view spoiler); a lieutenant helmsman who gets two or three lines, none of which add anything to the situation; and finally, the Enterprise computer who was programmed by female jokers (really?) to act like she's "in love" with Captain Kirk, but who actually acts like a stereotypical (i.e. not realistic) 12 year old spoiled brat with a crush. Blech. It was like the author was trying to be as sexist as the worst of TOS--even though she was writing after the women's liberation movement of the seventies.
Slow. It was more than half way through before there was an actual crisis or conflict. Not much in the way of suspense.
Crazy Admiral Award. Why are there so many crazy Starfleet admirals? Does the pressure just get to be too much? And why, if you have a crazy admiral bent on going to war just because he's a fanatic, would you put him anywhere near the front lines? Why not send him to Utopia Planitia where he can't do much harm. Better yet, send him to a hospital.