I.K.S. Gorkon: A Good Day to Die, by Keith R.A. DeCandido

I.K.S Gorkon A Good Day to Die, by Keith R.A. DeCandido book coverGenre: Star Trek
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: 2003
Reviewer Rating: three stars
Book Review by Lynn Nicole Louis

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A Good Day to Die is book 1 in the Star Trek I.K.S Gorkon Series, tales about the Klingon Defense Force starship Gorkon. Newly inducted into the prestigious Order of the Bat’leth, Captain Klag leads the crew of the Gorkon into the unexplored Kavrot Sector to find new planets to conquer for the Klingon empire. There, he discovers the Children of San-Tarah, a species with a warrior culture that mirrors the Klingons’ own. Their planet is rich on the elements and mineral the Klingons are in dire need of and the planet would be a great addition to the Empire.

Strange sub-space eddies around the planet prevent the Klingons from using their advanced weaponry and as a result they beam down to the planet and engage the natives directly, where they end up in much more of a fight than they expected. Having found in the San-Tarah a worthy enemy, Klag faces a choice: call in the fleet to conquer the world or accept the San-Tarah challenge: Klingons versus San-Tarah in a series of five martial martial contests, from tests of strength to individual combat. If the Klingons lose, they will go on their way and never trouble the planet again. If they are victorious, the San-Tarah will cede themselves to the Empire and Klag will have single handedly conquered an entire world.

Star Trek’s Klingon race has found itself quite a following. Any convention-attending speculative fiction fan can attest the the number of Klingon warriors wandering the halls, some even going so far to have learned the Klingon language, a real language developed for the films and now even taught in some universities. DeCandido does a very good job representing the ethos of the Klingon warrior culture, a culture where honor and duty are paramount. Yet despite such values, the Klingons are famous for their infighting and civil bickering. Honor and duty are very individual things to a Klingon and one often finds them at odds over some perceived insult or violation of ethics. A Good Day to Die is no exception, as Klag must not only content with the San-Tarah contests, but must also worry about an estranged brother and a commanding officer who’s opinion of Klag is less than favorable.

DeCandido does an admirable job of capturing the feel of the series, as well as staying true to what I’ve seen regarding Klingons and their culture. Fans won’t find any familiar Star Trek characters here however, beyond a bit of name-dropping, but are still sure to enjoy the book. Non-fans, at least those who are able to overlook the infamous Star Trek technical babbling, will probably enjoy it was well, though probably not nearly as much.

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