The Enterprise War

The Enterprise War
© 2019 John Jackson Miller
366 pages

“Giving up our values in the name of security is to lose the battle in advance. I’m curious. Did you sideline the Enterprise because you knew I’d never stop reminding you of that?”
“You sat out the war because if we’d lost to the Klingons, we wanted the best of Starfleet to survive. That was you, and all you represent.” (ST: Discovery)

At the outset of a months-long exploration of the Pergamon nebula, Captain Christopher Pike and the Enterprise receive a disturbing message: hostilities have opened with the Klingon Empire, and some of Starfleet’s finest ships have fallen in the Battle of the Binary Stars. Enterprise is to continue its exploration of the nebula, to stay as far from the conflict as it can. Although Pike attempts to defy these orders, Starfleet is adamant — and the punctilious Commander Una ensures that he obeys them. Grudgingly, Pike and the Enterprise commit to the violent nebula named for the Gates of Hell — and soon find themselves in a battle for their lives, caught between an ancient war between two factions, both equally dangerous. When Enterprise loses thirty of its crew and their multiple base camps on a habitable planet within the nebula, Pike is plagued with self-doubt — but he presses on.

What Pike doesn’t know is that his thirty crewmen were abducted, not killed; one faction in the war routinely seizes crew off of ships that come into the nebula, using them as its soldiers. While Pike seeks vengeance on the mysterious aliens who attacked his ship and people without warning, one captive officer — Spock — labors to understand the people and war he has suddenly become involved in. The officers are compelled to fight, living as they are in battlesuits that bring to mind Starship Troopers. The comparison is especially apt given that the other faction are Bug-like, but John Jackson Miller isn’t doing a humans-vs-bugs retread. Both of his factions, in fact, are far more interesting than they initially seem — composed of six different species which originated from the same planet, five bipedal species in an alliance against the bugs. The battlesuits themselves are very cool, and make the captors more compelling than hateable. Spock and the others are truly put to the test, though, when they learn they will be used in an attempt to capture the Enterprise herself.

The Enterprise War is great drama all around; at one point the Enterprise is in pieces and in peril, its saucer section upside down on a planet with an unlivable atmosphere, and the two pieces of the ship both desperately need the resources of crewmen on the other piece; one woman is pregnant, but the medical staff are on one side, for instance. Spock and his fellow captives are in no less a fix, and one officer proves such a capable warrior within the alliance that his loyalties are thrown into question. The icing on the cake, frankly, is the ending, which eschews the usual battle-to-the-death theatrics, and instead depends on the unique relationship between the warring factions.

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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12 Responses to The Enterprise War

  1. Cyberkitten says:

    I see he’s also written a Philippa Georgiou book…. Interesting. I like her (as an interesting character) almost as much as Pike.

    • Anyone who corrals that show’s Mary Sue! I like Georgiou, too — that previous DSC novel I read featured her and the real Lorca, which is why I tried it. I don’t like the MU Geogiou, but I’m just tired of the MU in televised Trek. They did it better in Treklit but that arc is done.

  2. I am a huge Classic Star Trek fan, but I don’t read the novellas, except the ones James Blish wrote from the original screen plays. Don’t laugh, but the reason is because I don’t want to read someone else’s interpretation of the characters. I’m too opinionated.

    Praying you have a good day!

    • I can understand that. Some authors are better at it than others; Greg Cox is a master at the TOS crew, and the Reeves-Stephens did DS9 very well. The relaunch era Treklit is mostly new characters, though — many of whom are more memorable than the television crews, especially given lackluster characters like Harry Kim, Reed, etc.

      Thank you! Back at work after dialysis and a salad….

  3. Cyberkitten says:

    I’ve never read a Trek book. Although I *do* have one…………

    • Ooh, which? I’ve been reading Trek books since ’94 (when a young adult series about the TNG crew at Starfleet academy came out), so there’s a good chance I’ve read it….

      • Cyberkitten says:

        Not 100% sure without checking but…. It’s Picard pre-TNG before he became captain – and WITH hair (in the cover art)…

      • It’s probably “THE VALIANT”, Michael Jan Friedman. Read it in the early 2000s but don’t recall much about it besides it being a disappointment compared to the Stargazer series.

  4. Cyberkitten says:

    I *think* that’s it. It was a freebie off the front of a SF magazine I used to buy. Got a Dr Who book too….. [grin]

    • Oh, nice. Can’t beat free! 😀

      I’m 2/3rds through Hitchhiker’s Guide. Amusing and weird so far….

      • Cyberkitten says:

        Hitchhiker’s is FUN. Loved the books, loved the TV series, HATED the Movie! Never listened to the radio show though – it’s supposed to be really good.

      • I may see if that’s on youtube…today I had the idea of putting some old radio shows on my new laptop and listening to them at dialysis. I couldn’t concentrate on reading this morning, so I listened to an audiobook — Stephen Fry’s MYTHOS.

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