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Star Trek: The Next Generation: Before Dishonor by Peter David

01/10/2008. Contributed by Laura Kayne

Buy Star Trek The Next Generation Before Dishonor in the USA - or Buy Star Trek The Next Generation Before Dishonor in the UK

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pub: Simon and Schuster. 407 page paperback. Price: 6.99 (UK), $ 7.99 (US), $ 9.50 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-4165-2742-8).

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Set after the events of 'First Contact' and 'Nemesis', 'Before Dishonor' sees the return of the Borg, this time set to reassimilate Jean-Luc Picard/Locutus, who is in command of a new crew on the Enterprise and Seven of Nine who has returned to Earth to teach at the Starfleet Academy.

Picard, Seven and the rest of humanity believe the Borg to be defeated, the Collective and its Queen dead and the Borg Cube an empty, lifeless shell. But when Admiral Kathryn Janeway leads an expedition to explore the defeated Cube she discovers that the Borg are still in existence, bidding their time and waiting to fight for survival, for the time to strike and this time not only assimilate but to kill and even absorb other races into the Collective. There is the birth of a new Borg Queen and the human trapped inside her is Kathryn Janeway.

From light years away, Seven of Nine hears both the siren call of the awakening Collective and the pleas of help from her former Captain. She travels towards Picard, the Enterprise and Ambassador Spock in the hopes that together they can defeat the Borg once and for all and save Kathryn Janeway. Meanwhile, the Borg races towards Earth, demanding the presence of Locutus and Seven, Starfleet plans to send its fleet in battle against it and Picard decides to act against orders and embark on a daring plan of his own. To find an 'planet killer', the prototype to one that the Enterprise encountered previously, in the hope that it can be re-activated and controlled to counter the new Borg threat. In a race against time, Starfleet, members of his own crew and even starships that have been absorbed by the Borg and now full of assimilated former colleagues, Picard searches for the 'planet killer' while Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge frantically creates a back-up plan.

The Borg remain one of 'Star Trek: TNG's most iconic and deadly enemies and any story featuring them, if well-written, is certain to be fun, frantic and full of tension to create an entertaining adventure. Peter David manages this, combining existing knowledge of the Borg with a new twist to produce a dark tale, an unstoppable enemy and an action adventure pleasing to 'Star Trek' fans. He uses cliff-hangers and differing points of view between the Borg and the Enterprise to build up the adventure and let the action play out in a well-paced story. His characterisations and developments of Picard, Spock and Seven and the examination of Seven as a human and as a former member of the Borg who must watch their return is carefully and skilfully handled. He keeps the characters recognisable but reminding the reader that time has passed since the end of all three 'Star Trek' series - The Original Series, Next Generation and Voyager.

This is an enjoyable addition to the series of 'Star Trek' tie-in books and an interesting exploration of the evolution of the Borg and of The Next Generation and Voyager characters since the end of the series.

Laura Kayne

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