one of his crew transmits sensitive data to an unknown party,
Jean-Luc Picard is both surprised and concerned, especially
since Admiral McAteer has cast doubt on Picard's ability to
command the Stargazer. When three starships in succession
fall to an alien armada, Picard fears for the security of
the entire Federation...
benefit of creating an almost totally new starship crew, as
author Michael Jan Friedman has done with his Stargazer
series, is that unexpected things can happen to them, and
it might not necessarily all be OK by the end of the story.
A recurring character could conceivably die or, in the case
of this novel, turn traitor. In terms of storytelling, this
is an exciting prospect.
downside of having a set of characters that is unique to a
series of novels is that ideally you need to have read the
previous books to fully appreciate the current one. Readers
who haven't experienced the first four Stargazer novels
might well, like me, find the first forty or so pages of Enigma
alternately tiresome and confusing. These opening chapters
are over-burdened with character moments, many of which follow
on from previous books.
the narrative could really have done with was a good dramatic
kick-off, such as a devastating attack on a starship. Such
an attack does take place, but only after about 60 pages.
From this point on, however, the plot sails along very nicely
common with a lot of Star Trek novels (because there
are no budgetary restrictions by way of makeup, costumes or
special effects), the Stargazer crew contains a respectable
number of alien life forms. These include Kastiigan, a (literally)
long-faced Kandilkari science officer; Obal, a Binderian security
guard; Phigus Simenon, the reptilian Gnalish chief engineer;
and Urajel, an Andorian engineer, to name but a few. Even
weapons officer Vigo, a name familiar from the Star Trek:
The Next Generation television episode The Battle,
is an extra-terrestrial: a powerfully built Pandrilite. For
me, most intriguing crewmember of all is Ensign Jiterica,
a gaseous low-density Nizhrak, similar to the Companion in
the original series episode Metamorphosis. She has
to squeeze herself into a human-shaped containment suit in
order to carry out her duties, though she experiences a greater
degree of liberty during this book.
memorable character, though not one of the crew, is Admiral
McAteer. Dissatisfied with the progress of the young Captain
Picard, this miserable old git wants to relieve Jean-Luc of
his command. With McAteer, Friedman has succeeded in creating
a thoroughly objectionable individual.
The plot of Enigma is rather slight, but after a slow
start it builds to a respectable warp speed.
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