They say that history is written by the victor; the truth
is that history is written by those who have the power to
do so. What you think you know is taken on faith, so what
happens when you discover that what you thought you knew,
was a lie? On the eve of the formation of the Federation it
is necessary for a man to die in order to save the future.
This man is Trip and his death will secure the future of the
millions that are to come...
The Good That Men Do is a new novel by Andy Mangels and
Michael A. Martin, which exposes a lie at the heart of the
Federation. It's not much of a spoiler to say that the writers
have rewritten Trek canon - as it's plastered all over
the back cover - question is was it worth it?
Quite unfairly I'm going to put the boot in first before telling
you what is good about this book. Maybe I read too many of
these for reviews, as structurally they are all starting to
read as the same book. Maybe there is a requirement from the
publisher that all the books should have uniformity akin to
a McDonald's burger. Who knows? Who Cares?
So we have the inevitable unnecessary introduction of characters
from a slightly more successful series to bolster the book.
In the case of this story we have Jake and Nog watching the
ongoing story aghast that someone may have lied about the
past. The word here is "filler". They add nothing
to the already ponderous plot except to act as the everymen
appalled that someone may have lied, obviously they have never
watched House, otherwise they would realise that everyone
So, we have filler characters, well that's not so bad, but
then we have to wait for one hundred and fifty pages before
the book actually gets going and that is less forgiving. It
seems odd to accuse a book of being verbose, as words are
the stock in trade for novels, but this one just goes on and
on. In truth, there was enough of an idea here for a novella,
but forced into a four hundred and forty six page novel, there
is too much padding to make the book a compulsive read.
The book repeats many of the problems with Enterprise,
little in the way of character development, unnecessarily
repetitive speech patterns - which almost make a parody of
the original portrayals - by the main protagonists, and a
plot that just isn't big enough to fill a novel.
So, what's good about the book? Both authors have an easy
writing style which won't jolt you out of your train journey.
This may be some slim praise, but for a genre novel - let
face it we're not talking about Solaris here - this
is their reason for being. So, to have fulfilled these criteria
is a biggy.
In the end the novel is a take it or leave it proposition,
however, it contains the gem of a much more interesting novel
as The Bureau at this time is much more altruistic
in its outlook on the universe. Now, their transition from
this point of view to the Fascist organisation that they became
would have made a better novel.