Wednesday 6 June 2012

Star Trek Enterprise: The Good That Men Do - Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels

Title: The Good That Men Do
Author: Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: 2007
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

I was looking forward to getting stuck into "The Good That Men Do" as part of my Star Trek Reading Challenge for a couple of reasons. The first was that it had felt like a bit since I last read a Star Trek novel and I was beginning to miss them. However, the main reason I couldn't wait to get reading was that the plot was centred on re-writing the travesty that was the Enterprise series finale and undoing the death of Commander Tucker. I don't normally support such blatant circumvention of established canon but I was more than happy to see Mangels and Martin try to undo the mess I had seen on television.

The novel is based around the premise that Commander Tucker has been growing increasingly worried about the threat posed by the Romulans. However, Starfleet is more interested in getting the coalition of planets up and running without incident and therefore don't take either his or Captain Archer's warnings seriously. However, through his friend Lieutenant Reed, Tucker contacts a secret organization within Starfleet known as Section 31 that does take him seriously. This sets in motion a series of events that result in Tucker's death being faked so that he can carry out a clandestine mission in Romulan space.

I actually found this to be a rather enjoyable novel, with a fairly well conceived plot when you consider what it was trying to undo. Whilst it did become a little bit melodramatic at times it still did a good a job in keeping me entertained from start to finish. It was also probably one of the most action packed Star Trek novels that I have read recently which helped to create a rather fast pace. However, as with most Star Trek novels it struggled to create any real feeling of tension as the reader knows that there is no real risk to the main characters or the Enterprise itself.

A minor issue I did have with the novel is to do with the framing story, the very same issue that many people had with the Enterprise series finale. This time the framing story follows Nog and Jake Sisko from DS9 fame looking over some newly uncovered history records that imply the events people believed had occurred are possibly a lie. It is a bit less in your face as what was seen on the TV show but I still groaned a little bit as it just felt all very irrelevant and I just wish Enterprise could .be allowed to be itself without feeling the need to link it constantly with other Star Trek franchises. However, the biggest problem I saw with this framing story is that it isn't actually confirmed anywhere that the records Nog and Jake were reviewing are true. Any author in the future could potentially just reset this and say the records were false which I felt undermined the credibility of the story a little bit.

Overall, I found "The Good That Men Do" to be an entertaining read that does a good job in trying to alter the events seen in the series finale. To be honest, I got the feeling that the authors were at times even mocking the episode which did bring a smile to my face. As with most Trek literature I doubt anyone who isn't a fan already is going to find any reason to read this book. However, if you are an Enterprise fan then this book should be a definite read, especially for those of you that hated the finale.

Available at:
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

Challenges Book Counts Towards:
Ebook Reading Challenge (The Eclectic Bookshelf)
Ebook Reading Challenge (Workaday Reads)


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