I’m a Star Trek fan from way back and have been reading the novels based on the various series and movies since I was a kid.
In 2016, Star Trek celebrated its 50th anniversary, with the series first airing in 1966. The iconic images of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the rest of the cast were something I grew up with. I didn’t see it first-hand, not having been born yet, but I watched it in syndication from an early age and have been a fan since 1981.
To celebrate the anniversary, Pocket Books and its Star Trek authors published a series of books called “Legacies.” The first book in the series, by Greg Cox, is called Captain to Captain.
Cox has always been a dependable Trek writer, not producing anything flashy but giving readers a solid plot, good characterization of the regulars, and some interesting stories.
Does Captain to Captain stand up?
Sometime in the middle of the Enterprise’s first 5-year mission, the crew of the Enterprise receive an unexpected visitor, a former crewmate of Spock’s and an excellent captain in her own right.
Formerly known as “Number One,” but having taken the name “Una” during her time with Starfleet (her real name is relatively unpronounceable), she visits her old friend Spock ostensibly to ask about their old captain, Pike (who was badly injured in an accident and whom Spock broke Starfleet regulations to take to a haven where he could live out his days in peace).
(Yes, continuity can give me a headache)
Una has another task in mind, however, and requires something secretly kept in the captain’s quarters on the Enterprise, something that dates back to when Captain April was commander of the ship and which Kirk is now safeguarding.
She is trying to rectify a mistake she made 18 years ago when she was a young lieutenant on the Enterprise under April, but doing so will put her in incredible danger on the planet Libros III, as the Klingons now consider it part of their territory.
Will Una succeed in her mission before Kirk and the Enterprise can catch her? Or, worse yet, the Klingons? And what will the results of this mission mean to the galactic political situation?
Legacies #1 – Captain to Captain is the first of a trilogy, and I have to say that the book does end on an unexpected cliffhanger. In hindsight, it should have been obvious, and maybe you all would see it coming a mile away, but I was pleasantly surprised.
As I said before, Cox is a very dependable writer. While I can’t remember any books of his that I would rate as top of the heap in the Star Trek realm, I can also say that I wouldn’t rate any of his books as “bad” either.
I can say the same about this book as well.
Captain to Captain has an intriguing plot and it’s nice to have the former Number One fleshed out a bit. It’s also nice to give her a name, as it would have been very confusing to keep referring to her as “Number One” when she’s actually a captain.
This is definitely Una’s book, and the flashback to her time on the Enterprise under April was really nice to see. Cox created a pretty interesting set of crew members, with her friend Shimizu being a standout. Considering that the only time we’ve ever seen Number One, she was very straight-laced, never smiling or anything like that, it was nice to see a lighter Una, one who actually smiled and laughed. Shimizu was a great counterpoint to her in that respect.
The Jatohr were an interesting adversary too. These slug-like beings who invaded the planet were intriguing to read about, and Cox did a good job with the two Jatohr characters we ended up seeing. It would have been nice to find out more about them, but since this is a trilogy, that may be coming.
In the “modern” day (Kirk’s time), most of the characters don’t really have a lot to do. This is definitely Kirk and Spock’s story, with some irascible McCoy in there as well. Most of his time is just grumbling and asking what’s going on, however, as Kirk can’t tell him anything due to the classified nature of what’s happening.
What we do see of the crew is good, however. Cox always does a nice job with the Enterprise crew. You can hear Shatner and Nimoy’s voices when Kirk and Spock speak, which is always a good sign. The dialogue, especially the Kirk/Spock/McCoy banter, is top notch.
One thing Cox has always been guilty of is using too many continuity references, referring to old episodes or books that he then has to quickly explain.
This book turns that on its head in a really enjoyable fashion.
First, he doesn’t go out of his way to explain them, which is nice. It can be quite jarring when the author has to spend a paragraph or two explaining the plot of a previous episode.
What makes it even better this time around, though, is that Cox uses references to events that are totally made up. They don’t reference any episodes at all and are just there to demonstrate that these characters have a history.
Well done, Mr. Cox! I loved that aspect of the book.
If there was something bad to say about Captain to Captain, I would have to say that the Klingon threat felt a little old hat and the action scenes were not really thrilling at all. They seemed more like a means to get the characters in danger than as something that the reader would actually be interested in.
It also doesn’t help that Cox uses the old “last second rescue” trope not once but twice. I rolled my eyes a couple of times.
Captain to Captain is a really solid book that leads nicely into the next book of the trilogy. It leaves you wondering what is going to happen next and it’s an enjoyable read in the meantime.
A nice, 3.5 star book.