Monday, September 6, 2010

Star Trek: Klingon Empire - A Burning House by Keith R. A. DeCandido

Spoiler Level: On the higher side of Medium

Star Trek: Klingon Empire was an attempt by Pocket Books to "relaunch" the IKS Gorkon novels.  According to the author, the previous Gorkon book hadn't sold that well, and this was an attempt to give the line a new jumping on point and hopefully boost the sales up.  Sadly, no Klingon Empire books have been published since this one, so I can only assume that Pocket wasn't happy with the sales.  Which is a real shame.

This book picks up directly after the end of IKS Gorkon Book 3: Enemy Territory as the Gorkon is called back home to Qo'noS.  From there we get to meet many of the families of the Gorkon crew.  The ususal Klingon politics abound, but there's also a very fresh look at the Empire.  We get to see the slums of the Empire, a Klingon opera along with the kinds of Klingons who put on such a show, and one of the Klingon farming colonies.  It's a great look at how the Klingon attitudes we know are shared (and sometimes not shared) among the different classes of Klingon society.  In many ways, the wonderful characters of the 15th Squadron are used as the lense to show us the rest of the Empire, a view we've never seen in any other Star Trek before.

But best of all, the subpolt of Rodek's lost memories-- those that we the reader know to be his original memories as Worf's brother Kurn-- finally comes to the forefront in this book.  Which is good, because I was never completely comfortable with what Bashir and Worf did to Kurn (even if they did for what they felt were very necessary reasons), and this gives the subject a much deeper examination, pro and con, which I think it deserved.  And the outcome was never once predictable, which I really enjoyed.

There's still a few Gorkon short stories out there-- I know there's one in the Captain's Table anthology that I haven't read, and I think there's one in the Mirror Universe anthology as well, so I still have a few stories to look forward to, but all in all I'm sorry this series didn't run longer.  DeCandido really knocked it out of the park with this series, and hopefully we'll see more of the Gorkon and its crew in the future.

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