Originally conceived as series of novels set five years after the events of Star Trek: Voyager, this was meant to fill a gap left in the market by the lack of Star Trek on our screens. It has a whole new crew and a ship introduced very briefly in the early years of the television run of Voyager. Big Finish have been given the licence to record audiobooks of the first three novels written from that series (originally released in German and subsequently translated into English in 2016) by Bernd Perplies and Christian Humberg.
Unlike other Big Finish releases, this is a straight reading of the novel rather than a dramatization. This means that the listener is totally in the hands of the narrator. In this instance it is Alec Newman. He reads with much nuance and does a good job at characterising the different voices in the book. The problem lies not however, in the storyteller, but in the structure of the story.
A string of terrorist attacks against both the Federation and the Klingon Empire sees the crew of the USS Prometheus, led by Captain Richard Adams, dispatched to find the culprit. They meet distrustful species whilst struggling to hold back the outbreak of war between the two galactic powers. It is a whodunit but the reader is left largely confused by the ending (as it leads into the second novel).
Unfortunately, the good concept for the plot is ruined by an almost fanatical devotion to continuity with many characters from previous incarnations of Star Trek popping in to give advice and spending little time in letting the reader get to know the main characters of the ship. That’s always a risky move when introducing new characters to the franchise and its loyal followers. At eleven hours, it may test the fortitude of some of the most devoted Trekkies around.
This is undoubtedly a test of whether the Big Finish audience will embrace the Star Trek franchise therefore leading into more ranges associated with the brand. Although this audiobook has much going for it in terms of production and the narrator, the old saying of “you can’t make a silk purse out of a cow’s ear” seems pertinent.
Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Rating out of 10: 5
Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: July 2018
RRP: $12.99 Digital Download