Book Reviews · Books · Star Trek

The Poisoned Chalice – Review

Originally Posted on

USE_ST.Fall_.Poisoned_.Chalice_.Cvr_“There is rot at the core of the Federation…and we are going to put it to an end.” — William Riker

The penultimate book in The Fall has been released and The Poisoned Chalice continues the story with distinction. James Swallow’s entry is filled with action and suspense as the crew of theTitan and some familiar faces try to unravel a seemingly endless tapestry of lies and misinformation. With the heart of the Federation at risk, the stakes have never been higher.


The Fall series has been rife with connections to our own world, and The Poisoned Chalicecontinues on this grand Trek tradition. As Riker digs deep into the mystery that is pro-tem President Ishan, the rabbit hole continues to grow. The Titan and her crew find themselves facing a Federation as topsy-turvy as Wonderland. With secret executive orders and the disappearance of political prisoner Julian Bashir, the heart of the Federation seems to be rotting from the inside out. Swallow uses the realities of Cold War Europe, as well as War on Terror tactics, to create a rich and compelling story.

The Federation has been beaten down, and because of it, has begun to push agendas “…based on fear instead of hope.” The wars have created a generation that has know only fear and terror on all sides. Self-protection has become the highest virtue for many, which has slowly eroded the very things the Federation has held most dear since its inception. Swallow crafts a mirror for the 21st century in the 24th century — one that may reflect the worst of what we’ve become.


The Poisoned Chalice will have you on the edge of your seat for the entire read. Swallow gives us just enough to satiate us in this political/action thriller until Dayton Ward’s Peaceable Kingdoms is released at the end of December. There are so many great character moments for Riker, Troi, Vale, Tuvok and the Andorians, giving growth to some of the best-loved Trek characters. This is a standout novel, using the best of Trek storytelling to challenge the reader as well as entertain. This book is rated 10 out of 10 Andorian Atlire-class escort cruisers, since the one in this book is named after me, the Mat-Rus. (Thanks, James. I am eternally in your debt.)

4 thoughts on “The Poisoned Chalice – Review

  1. With the exceptions of David R. George III’s explosive opening, ‘Revelation and Dust’ and Una McCormack’s Garak-driven ‘The Crimson Shadow’, this was the best of the series, as far as edge-of-your-seat excitement goes. (Although, Una had me climbing the walls, for a bit, there…) James Swallow leads us on an incredible journey and leaves us hanging on a precipice. Who do our heroes trust? How deep does the corruption run within the halls of the palais? Will Picard and Riker be able to root-out the true culprits, in-time to stop the Federation from going over the brink? I could not wait for Dayton Ward’s phenomenal conclusion, to what has been a truly masterful series.
    Congratulations, on your inclusion in this epic series, with James’ nod to you; the MatRus. In that, we share something sweet, as Dayton Ward gave me a character-namesake in ‘Peaceable Kingdoms’; Lt. Eric Cone, Federation Security. BTW: Dayton reached a milestone with his novel’s debut; making the NY Times Best-Selling List, for the first time! ‘The Fall’ seems to be his rise and, good for him! He deserves it.
    Be well, my friend,

    PS: My only-drawback from the whole-thing: What was up with that Kira narrative, in the first book? What WAS the point? I’m totally lost…

    1. I think the Kira narrative is meant to carry on the DS9 story. George said on Literary Treks that he wanted the book to serve the greater DS9 as well as The Fall. Congrats on your character namesake! Diving into Daytona book next!

      1. I suppose, I’ll have to go and skim the ending of ‘Raise the Dawn’ to refamiliarize myself… It’s been too-long and so much has happened along the way… It’s difficult to keep all of the plot-points straight, with so many books and, so much time passing between each one. What I need, is a positronic brain… LOL!
        Of course, I’ll have to brush-up on VOYAGER, again, as that’s the next book on the horizon…

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s