Will Riker always loved Deanna Troi. We all know that. But there is alot we don't know about them and their relationship before they met again on the Enterprise D in the series premier.
This book fills in the blanks. And does it very, very well. It seems that, eventually, Deanna does fall for Worf, and she dies. And Will ends up a broken man, stuck out on an obscure Starbase, career shot to hell, going nowhere. He is visited by some of our favorite, and not so favorite TNG characters, as their future selves. Will is haunted by Deanna's death, even after all these years. And now, that event, and their history together is being forced upon him again, as he receives a summons to Betazed. To Lwaxanna Troi's deathbed.
Accompanied by Captain (?) Wesley Crusher, Will travels to Betazed and is confronted by Mrs. Troi and his past. The reader finally gets the whole story. How they met, how they reacted to each other (they could NOT STAND each other at the beginning), the mistakes and choices they both made a long time ago.
Lt. Will Riker is posted to Betazed as an assistant to the Federation Ambassador, a unusual character, who takes an instant liking to Will, appreciates his wit and charm, and doesn't mind Wills' dating his daughter, to a point. Of course, we have the usual crisis, damsel-in-distress scenario, etc. But it is the initial interaction between Deanna and Will that will carry you through this book. The verbal reparte', the cultural conflicts and the beginning of a deep and true love is engrossing and hard to put down.
Deanna's eventual posting to the Enterprise D and Will's arrival, and their 7 year journey together is well documented both in the series and in the books and novelizations that follow. But the tragic end that Deanna suffers, the estrangement from friends that Will orchestrates, the blame and guilt that he feels is very real in this storyline. And the ends that he will go to to change the past/future are more than the acts of a desperate and heartbroken man.
The depth that Peter David goes into, to explain the characters, their motivations, actions and reactions, are excellent. Well researched and thought out. The Betazoid planet, its culture, the way Deanna and Lwaxanna interact, is crucial to understanding their relationship in the future stories told. And Will Riker is less an enigma than he was before the reader finishes the book. There is a real good man behind all that nonsense we so often saw on the small screen. He will always, no matter what, love her first and best. And that, dear reader, is the moral to this story.
All I will add to this, to get you hooked, is that an old friend, "The Guardian of Forever" makes an appearance. And with the help of his true friends, he resolves his own destiny. Buy it! Read it!!
Author: Peter David
Review by: CL6 Kali D'or