Book Review: Star Trek Discovery: Desperate Hours
By: David Mack
I just finished the last pages of David Mack’s newest novel, Desperate hours. All I can say is WOW!!! This book is a tie-in to CBS All-Access’ Blockbuster new series Star Trek Discovery. With the show, there are so many unanswered questions that leave fans drooling with anticipation. Many of those questions are answered in this book.
Warning: The review that follows contains mild spoilers…
The story centers around Discovery’s titular character, Michael Burnham about 6 years into her stint aboard the USS Shenzhou. We really get to see the relationship build between not only Burnham and Captain Georgiou, but also Burnham and Lieutenant Saru as well. This story is at times bittersweet given that it takes place about a year before the events of Star Trek Discovery’s two part premiere “The Vulcan Hello,” & “Battle at the Binary Stars.” (If you haven’t watched the premiere yet, please put down this mobile device, subscribe to CBS All Access and catch up. I promise you won’t regret it.)
In this story we get to see Captain Phillipa Georgiou in her prime, and really get to see how formidable, and strong a commanding officer she is. She and the Shenzhou’s crew are faced with a terrible dilemma on two fronts:
1). An ancient and deadly ship has emerged after 9 million years, seemingly intent on wiping all life from the recently colonized planet Sirsa III.
2). She is confronted with orders from Starfleet to obliterate the entire planet, and these orders are hand delivered by none other than Captain Christopher Pike and the USS Enterprise!
Not only do we get great Backstory for Georgiou, but we get to see Pike, Number One and Spock, in action years before the Enterprise’s vaunted exploits under the command of Captain James T. Kirk! These characters are far different from the humans we are used to. They’re more primitive and quickl to anger, a trend that seems to be carried into the plot of Star Trek Discovery. One wonders what humanity went through in the century following the events of the series Star Trek Enterprise…
Not to give too much away, but Burnham has just been promoted to Acting First Officer, so she feels that she has a lot to prove to her captain and crew. Fortune forces her to work closely with someone she’s avoided her entire life and both of them come out the better for the experience, (I want so badly to tell you who it is, but I suppose I’ll let you be surprised…)
Other fantastic parings are Saru and Number who must work on a mystery of their own. There is also a very surprising series of interactions/confrontations between Pike, a relatively new Captain given command of one of Starfleets newest and most powerful starships and Georgiou, a battle-tested veteran warrior/diplomat with decades of experience behind her.
What is really gratifying is the fact that the author goes to great lengths to explain the descrepancies in the tone and look of Star Trek Discovery. This has been one of the biggest things fans have been complaining about, and Mr. Mack takes it all in stride and explains it in a way that makes total sense. This book is a true companion to the series and fully fleshes out characters we have only scratched the surface of in the series.
This book truly leaves you yearning for more. Not only is it a fantastic page turner with a brilliant story that truly makes these characters come to life, but it gives us a singular gift, one that we would likely never see on screen, the gift of seeing heroes from five centuries in the past alive and vital again in the Star Trek universe. Thank you for that Mr. Mack!
One final thought…If I ever have a daughter, I want her to grow up to be like Captain Phillipa Georgiou