Originally posted at Trek.fm
The Fall comes to an end with Dayton Ward’s Peaceable Kingdoms, and this series just might have been the most ambitious multi-author story Treklit has ever attempted. With the heart of the Federation on the razor’s edge of destruction, it is up to the crew of the Enterprise and her allies to uncover the mystery shrouding Pro-tem president Ishan as well as the assassination of President Bacco. As the hourglass empties, Picard finds that the answers he’s getting may be worse than imagined. Ward delivers a rousing conclusion to The Fall, as well as sets the stage for the future of the 24th century.
The Enemy Within
In recent history, the Federation has lived on the edge. This has caused a reaction in many people of wanting it to stop, to protect themselves and feel safe. The ends begin to justify the means and optimism quickly turns to cynicism. Ishan is the embodiment of that. He is a man who, when faced with adversity, turned to survival as the highest value. But, as Star Trek as shown us, survival is nothing if it means sacrificing a civilization’s evolved and enlightened status. What is so smart about the series is that the enemy was not the Typhon Pact, but someone within the Federation, showing us that even the best things can be corrupted if not for constant vigilance. Wars and rumors of wars have an impact on a society and it becomes easy to lose sight of humanity’s greatest ideals in the face of annihilation. But it is through the dedication to the principles of the Federation that Picard, Riker and the other heroes of the story show us the importance of doing what is right, even when it is difficult, or else all that is truly good will be lost. The Fall has helped realign the 24th century and, in turn, has given us a mirror to evaluate ourselves. In the end, that is what Star Trek has always been about.
Ward does a great job of answering some lingering questions that have been floating around in the 24th century novelverse. It becomes clear that Picard and Crusher are far from retirement. Also, Crusher is given a prominent role in the unraveling of Ishan’s past. The dialogue is snappy and the character interactions are some of the best parts of the book, most notably Picard with Worf, as well as Picard with Chen. With The Fall’s end, the 24th century is ready to face the unknown once again. Anticipation for stories about DS9, the Aventine, Sisko, Bashir, the Titan and so many others have this reviewer on the edge of his seat.