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Vanguard: Harbinger, by David Mack Book Review | SFReader.com
Vanguard: Harbinger, by David Mack Genre: Star Trek Publisher: Pocket Books Published: 2005 Review Posted: 3/21/2007 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated
Vanguard: Harbinger, by David Mack
Book Review by Jason Garza
Have you read this book?
To call Vanguard: Harbinger an original series version of Deep Space Nine is a tremendous disservice; the mythology is vastly different, as are the motley assortment of colorful individuals whose very existence seems to run contrary to popular Starfleet thinking. What could have been a simple rehash is anything but; here, the mysterious alien Shedai Wanderer is one of the central mysterious, as is the discovery of the Taurus Meta-Genome. In the hands of David Mack, the story is enthralling, a mix of new characters and new mysterious, old friends and welcome returns.
The sheer number of characters (established and new) may come off as a bit daunting; however, Mack handles every individual well, dishing out just enough history and conflict in their respective lives to tell us enough—and leave us wanting more. We know that Commodore Reyes is seeing Captain Desai and his mother is dying; that Jetanien, the Rigellian Chelon, is involved in a Starfleet operation; that Anna Sandesjo is a Klingon spy involved with a Starfleet officer; that Tim Pennington is an unfaithful journalist. And that's barely scratching the surface. Certainly it risks character overload, but it never really gets there; indeed, Mack writes these characters with pulls off these new characters with panache and style. Everyone has his or her own place, briskly moving the plot while adding a fair amount of background on this new section of the galaxy.
Harbinger serves well as an introduction to a new mystery, one that will undoubtedly have repercussions well beyond its 2265 timeframe. David Mack brings his usual style and wit to the series, offering an excellent starting point for fans of any Trek series; there is exploration, isolation, scientific mysterious, and the welcome return—and expansion—of the Tholian Assembly, to say nothing of the simmering tensions between the Federation and Klingon Empire. Even more significant is the development of fan-favorite T'prynn, the Vulcan woman heretofore mentioned only in passing, save for her brief appearance in "Lesser Evil."
Ultimately, Harbinger offers a new glimpse into the Original Series mythos, bringing Enterprise into the story with great impact—but not overshadowing Vanguard's own cast. As usual, it is easy to get inside the minds and motivations of the characters, resulting in delicate shades of gray that allow one to draw one's own conclusions. Harbinger is not merely a springboard novel or "first in a series;" no, it is a standout achievement that any true "Trek" fan will enjoy, regardless of your favorite series.
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