Book Reviews

Book Review – Star Trek: Vulcan’s Soul: Epiphany by Josepha Sherman & Susan Shwartz – A Vulcan/Romulan History Lesson

Vulcan’s Soul: Epiphany is the third and final book in a series that details the history of the Vulcan and Romulan races. These two races were once one people, but diverged at some point in the past. The first two novels in the series, Exodus and Exiles have detailed the history nicely and set it against a modern backdrop of a new race challenging the Romulans and the Federation just after the war with the Dominion.

The Watraii are a race that seems determined to eradicate the Romulans. With an alliance forged during the Dominion War, the Federation is challenged as to what to do. They aren’t ready for another war. Even the Klingons aren’t too happy about the situation. In a covert mission, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the Enterprise team up with Ambassador Spock and his wife Captain Saavik of the Starship Alliance to try to bridge a peace between the races. However, they are ready for war, if need be. At the same time, the Federation will disavow all knowledge of the mission if things fall apart.

The backstory is intriguing. Although the first two novels in this series were heavy on the Vulcan history, this one is less so, having set up much of it already. I kind of had an idea of what had happened after the second novel, but wanted to see how it played out. The descriptions of the life of the Vulcans who left the planet to seek out a life elsewhere is reminiscent of the Pilgrims seeking religious freedom, although they do not wipe out another race to claim the world for themselves (that was my first hunch that proved to be wrong). Their story pretty much picks up where it left off, with the twin worlds of Romulus and Remus testing the new settlers with its harsh conditions and even harsher treatments by their fellow exiles.

In the present day, Spock and Saavik do well navigating the politics and personalities involved in the mission. Spock’s loyalty to his former crewmates is evident, especially in how he reveres Commander Chekov. In some ways it’s hard to believe Chekov and Uhura still function well in the Federation after all these years. Spock is a long-lived Vulcan, but Uhura and Chekov are humans and this is set more than 100 years after events in the original series. Their presence is a bit of a stretch, but I could suspend my disbelief for it.

The Watraii are demanding to keep a relic they stole from the Romulans which they say belongs to them. For a long time, this didn’t make sense, but things come together here. It also makes some sense out of the film Star Trek: Nemesis and events which took place in that film.

Overall, this is a good conclusion to the series, which gives much greater depth to the Romulans and Vulcans overall. We know why the races split from each other and how the fragmented races came to hate each other. The modern characters stretch a bit too, but don’t act out-of-character at all. They add to the story quite a bit. I particularly liked the insight into Spock and Saavik’s relationship and thought it was well-done. This is a great series to augment the Star Trek universe and worth checking out.

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