I.K.S. Gorkon: Honor Bound, by Keith R.A. DeCandido

I.K.S. Gorkon Honor Bound, by Keith R.A. DeCandido book coverGenre: Star Trek
Publisher: Pocket Books
Published: 2003
Reviewer Rating: three and a half stars
Book Review by Lynn Nicole Louis

Have you read this book?
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I.K.S. Gorkon: Honor Bound is the follow up to I.K.S. Gorkon: A Good Day to Die. In it, DeCandido resumes the adventures of Captain Klag and crew and the Children of San-Tarah.

Klag has given his word to the Children of San-Tarah that the Klingon Empire will leave them in peace. When he relays the situation to his commanding officer, General Talak, the General orders Klag to violate his promise and conquer the world anyway. When Klag refuses, General Talak uses the opportunity to brand Klag as a traitor and to bring the forces of his fleet, including a ship commanded by Klag’s brother, to bear. Klag, for his part, believes he is following the course of honor. He sends out a call to his fellow members of the Order of the Bat’leth to aid him against the General. Will they assist him and disobey Talak’s order? Or will they turn on Klag and assist Talak?

As in the first book, DeCandido does an admirable job of capturing Klingon culture as represented in the series; yet they are more than glorified warriors. Klag struggles with his decision, wondering if he is truly following the course of honor or if he is just listening to his own pride. His relationship with his brother degenerates even further, despite their closeness in childhood. It’s a closeness Klag longs for and one that might prove his undoing in the battles he faces.

Despite my past prejudices and media tie-in series, I enjoyed this book quite a lot, as I did the previous two I’ve read for SFReader. DeCandido is a writer of some skill, breathing life into characters and a culture when it would be all to easy to rely on the existing mythos created by the television shows. He doesn’t just duplicate it; he gives it depth.

Sure, I’ve watched and enjoyed the Star Trek movies, and upon occasion linger over a rerun of Next Generation or the classic series, but I was never a serious fan, and I never felt the slightest interest in reading a Star Trek book. I’m pleased to admit that, in my opinion, these aren’t Star Trek books in the sense that they are about Star Trek. Calling them such implies a one-dimensionality that isn’t applicable here, at least with the ones I’ve read. I’ve found them to be books about character and events set in the Star Trek universe and, like any book, they succeed or fail based on the same traditional elements that determine whether or not any other book succeeds or fails.

Fans of the series in any of their incarnations will thoroughly enjoy this. Science Fiction fans in general, who enjoy a character-driven story and can overlook the ubiquitous pseudo-scientific babble, would probably have fun with it as well.

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