Anyone who has ever read a TNG book or watched the show knows that Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Enterprise-D is a diplomat and he is also a historian. The Forgotten War plays on both of Picard's passions and talents. The story starts out with Captain Picard and the Enterprise picking up a race known as the Tarn. For generations, the Federation and the Tarn have agreed to a buffer zone between their two territories since the disappearance of the legendary Starfleet Captain Lucien Murat and his ship the Verdun. For the first time since the treaty was signed, Starfleet sends the Enterprise to make this first impression again a good one. With the help of one of Commander Riker's past loves, Dr. Janice Eardman, as their historian they pick up Commander Harna Karish from Tarn.
The most powerful circle of the moment or family-line runs the Tarn people's government. A dishonor to the circle means the end of their power, much like the Klingons in that respect. They are also a war-like race and diplomacy has never been their strong point, but it's the job of the Enterprise crew to make it work somehow in discussions about this buffer zone between their two territories. Karish quickly makes it clear that that the Tarn are not happy with this interruption in their society. His petty arguments are shut up when the Enterprise comes across a part of history has frozen in space.
The Verdun and the Tarn vessel it had been fighting all those years ago is discovered in the buffer zone. After Dr. Eardman gets her chance to explore the old Starfleet vessel, a bigger problem then the Tarn's unwillingness to negotiate comes to light. The descendents of the Verdun and Tarn crews are still down on the planet fighting the same war for the last two hundred years. Picard sends an away team with Riker and Eardman down to the Federation side for a cease-fire while Karish is sent to the Tarn side. Somehow Picard has to break up a war that has been going on for two hundred years for no reason before more lives are lost or the two sides kill each other completely. Just when that seems impossible, a voice from the past comes back to argue that point with Picard.
The twists in this story are amazing and completely out of the blue, but everything makes sense at the end when it all comes together. You realize the whole book was well-planned and the hints are there before it is all revealed. The characters are kept very close to who they are on the show and this story really is one of the better ones I've read in the TNG series. I suggest this to anyone who even likes Star Trek, because you have the fighting below like the crew has stepped back into their past and then the negotiation end where Picard excels! It even offers hope that if Picard can get the Tarn on our side, then there's hope for the Cardassians and Romulans.
Title: The Forgotten War
Author: William R. Forstchen
Review by: CL6 Amanda Sielu Paris