House of Cards by Peter David

House of Cards (Star Trek: New Frontier, #1)
Links to Goodreads page

Book #1 in Star Trek: New Frontier series: Released 7/1/1997

I own a copy of this book, bought second hand

Author’s Site


Book Synopsis:

Sector 221-G: For the whole of Federation history, this large area of space has been controlled by the Thallonians, a cruel, militaristic race of which little is known except that they rule the other races in their sector with vicious iron hand.
Now the Thallonian Empire has collapsed and the systems it once ruled are in chaos. Old hatreds are surfacing. Petty tyrants control deadly weapons. World after world is descending into disorder and self-destruction. The Federation must send a starship to help where it can and report what it finds.

That ship is the U.S.S. Excalibur, a newly refit Ambassador-class starship commanded by Captain Mackenzie Calhoun and manned by Starfleet’s best and brightest, including some old friends from Star Trek: The Next Generation and some of the most dynamic new characters ever to crew a Federation starship.

Join Captain Calhoun and the crew of the U.S.S. Excalibur as they explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where no one has gone before!

My Review:

I received the first part of what could be the final book in this series from the publisher through Net Galley, not knowing it was part of a larger series.  I did enjoy the book, review here, but felt like I was missing out on the chemistry between the characters.  I decided to go back and start the series from the beginning as my first true venture into Trek fiction.  Now I still feel like I am missing out on some character history, but I think this is probably still a good starting point for this series and will continue to work my way through the books…probably.  This is my biggest complaint about Trek fiction, the confusing crossover of series, characters, and authors.  It makes it difficult for a reader to know where to begin.

Anyway, what about House of Cards?  What did I think about the start of this series.  I’m not sure.  This book had a strong set-up feel to it.  There was the necessary background information on the main players for the series and a few familiar faces from Next Generation and even Spock.  The problem with Picard, Riker, Data, and Spock though is that they felt off.  Several times I kept thinking they wouldn’t say that or that isn’t how so-and-so would react/think/behave.  Of course I only know these characters through the TV shows and perhaps their characters have transformed a bit in the written universe of Trek.  It is just going to take a bit for me to let go of how I think the characters should be and let the authors tell the story.  I picked this series to start because I was hoping it would be an easier introduction to Trek  fiction, by reading a new set of characters, separate from the shows, I wouldn’t be bringing and Trek baggage with me.   Reading this book made me believe my assumptions were right on that point.

Like I said this is a set-up book, very short only around 165 pages and beyond the background character info little else besides the problem set up takes place.  Just around the end the action was starting to pick up as the main characters in this series were starting to be drawn into the mix.  I am looking forward to the next book, as I think it will become much more enjoyable once the TV characters have a less prominent role in the plot.  I like this new captain though, Calhoun reminds me a bit of Kirk and should be a fun leader for this new band of crew mates.

I’m only giving this two stars.  I did enjoy it, but wish they hadn’t released this in serial format.  Just give me a full length book… Also the odd personalities of the TV characters hurt the story a bit for me.  Gave it a fan-fiction feel to it, and I know that’s what it is, but it felt like poorly done fan-fiction at times.  I do expect things to get better.

My Rating: 2 Stars



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