It’s often said about some people that they think the universe revolves around them. In earlier times, humans once thought that everything revolved around Earth. In Star Trek: Dark Victory, the universe revolves around Captain Kirk.
This is the fifth novel written by William Shatner and Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. In it, they pick up immediately at the end of Star Trek: Spectre.
Kirk, Spock, and an aged Dr. McCoy are working with the crew of the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as several characters from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. As if the canvas was not thick enough already, there is a crossover between this universe and the militant alternate universe seen in the original Star Trek series as well as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
At times this gets very confusing, with two Spocks, characters from one universe but not the other, as well as characters related to other characters in one universe, but who don’t exist in the other.
This leads to major confusion, even for me as a very big Star Trek fan. I found it very difficult to keep track of what characters were who and involved with things in what way. The prime motivation of the author(s) seems to be showing off how much t(he)y have been keeping up with the Star Trek universe. There are many references to events in the most recent Star Trek film at the time, Star Trek: Insurrection. It’s gratuitous and doesn’t need to be there most of the time, and it just drags the story down.
Since the story itself isn’t all that great, it doesn’t need gratuitous references to drag it down – it needs all the help it can get. This book is all about Captain James T. Kirk, no matter how many other characters Shatner tries to draw into it.
Starfleet manages to create the illusion that Kirk’s counterpart from the mirror universe, Tiberius, has been slain in a battle with Kirk and those from this era who have been working with him to defeat those infiltrating Starfleet from the mirror universe. Not quite believing the evidence Starfleet has shown him, but having no way to prove otherwise, Kirk returns to the planet Chal with “the love of his life”, Teilani, to prepare to wed and await the birth of their child.
However, at their wedding Teilani – now eight months pregnant – is poisoned by a genetically engineered child who can produce a toxin and deliver it to an intended target. Just who is responsible for the existence of the child is a mystery that only Kirk can solve.
The problem with the story is that Kirk is at the center and everyone else is secondary characters. Even when Shatner and his co-authors attempt to give what appears to be a storyline to some of the secondary characters it really revolves around Kirk. They are all there to propel the story with Kirk at its center.
Had this been a story with a true ensemble, where everyone was working together to achieve the end result, it would not have been half bad. However, the confusion involving all of the characters coupled with a lackluster story with the aging Kirk once again being the only savior of the universe as we know it falls completely flat.
Even the scene of his wedding, which is supposed to be about the uniting of two people, ends up being all about Kirk. There are pages and pages of homage to Kirk, talking about all of the people who are there to pay tribute to him; all of the representatives and gifts Starfleet and its personnel have sent to honor him; what he thinks and feels on that day. It’s almost as if his bride is there as an afterthought. It’s an ego trip of epic proportions.
There’s not enough that’s interesting for the other characters to do that makes this novel worth reading. If I hadn’t been given it in a box of books, I’d want my money back. The cover picture of Kirk and Picard is misleading.
Previous book in the series (link): Star Trek: Spectre