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TNG: Titan 2 - The Red King, by Michael A. Martin, Andy Mangels Book Review | SFReader.com
TNG: Titan 2 The Red King, by Michael A. Martin, Andy Mangels Genre: Star Trek Publisher: Pocket Books Published: 2005 Review Posted: 3/9/2007 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated
TNG: Titan 2 The Red King, by Michael A. Martin, Andy Mangels
Book Review by Jason Garza
Have you read this book?
Somewhere, a wise Ferengi must have uttered the phrase "There are only three certainties in life: death, taxes, and Romulan secrecy." It is the latter that sends the Starship Titan from Romulan Space to the Small Magellanic Cloud, what is known as Neyel Space. Fresh from halfheartedly saving Romulan Society, Riker and his crew find themselves face to face with the consequences of Shinzon's destroyed Thalaron core: being tossed across the galaxy and coming up against a growing sentient galaxy the Neyel have dubbed "The Red King," the titular problem facing the reluctantly eager scientists and officers.
Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin once again helm writing chores for The Red King, meaning that the enjoyable and exciting prose present in book one returns, making this a quick, fun read that will have you biting your nails. While it would be beneficial to read "The Sundered" before reading The Red King, it is not necessary; the callbacks to the previous book are always given the necessary explanation (though that particular novel is highly recommended). One feels an emotional connection to the Neyel, an offshoot of humanity genetically engineered to resilient perfection (in their eyes) who find their very existence threatened by the emergence of an apparently sentient galaxy.
A novel of betrayal, secrets, politics, and debts of honor, The Red King is a galaxy-spanning adventure drawing heavily upon characterization and the human condition, with creation itself at risk. While I could continue extolling the virtues of the plot and the writing team of Mangels and Martin, there is one thing the book gives us that sets itself up as one of the most fascinating, exciting reads to come down the pipeline in some time: the story behind Tuvok and Akaar's barely repressed loathing of one another. Juxtaposed against the doomsday scenario facing the Neyel, both stories are intertwined, explaining the importance honor, friendship and loyalty. Further, it calls to question the chain of command and hints at the flexibility of the Prime Directive (as well as other Starfleet/Federation tenets). The emotional connection between the abstraction of the Neyel and Tuvok/Akaar is one of the main underlying themes of the novel and serves as its central focus, even if it exists on the periphery; here, things change, and not necessarily for the better.
Martin and Mangels' follow-up to "Taking Wing" is a page turner, and perhaps one of the finest books they've written in the "Star Trek" pantheon. It is a tale of redemption and sacrifice, of what it means to be human...even when you're not.
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