It isn't often that a book takes on the task of splitting up the crew with two very intense missions and it's rare that this attempt is made by someone not a regular yet in the Star Trek series. John Peel takes on both of these challenges with The Death Of Princes. The two stories that are tackled here don't even have a connection besides the fact that they both involve royalty on separate planets. It makes you wonder how all this will tie together at the end.
The main problems with many of Earth's governments today seemed to be shadowed as we get our first view of the planet of Buran. The inhabitants are bird-like creatures that are suffering from a disease that is threatening to wipe out their whole civilization only months after its' introduction. Buran recently just joined the Federation at the urging of the king-to-be, Prince J'Kara. Not all of Buran agrees with him, including his father and fianc?e. In fact, many of Buran people believe that it was the Federation that brought the disease to their planet since both the disease and entrance to the Federation happened around the same time. Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Dr. Beverly Crusher tackle the problems of not only saving a whole planet from destruction, but also the chance to clear the name of the Federation with the people.
Of course, Buran has to switch to one government to even qualify for entry to the Federation. The other planet in this story, Iomides, is under surveillance by the Federation are just now taking those first steps. It isn't unusual according for this book for a observation station to be set up in hiding to study the inhabitants, like in Star Trek: Insurrection, until they achieve their first warp capability. This isn't the most exciting of work, but the agents have to be careful of their every move as they slip into the population for further surveying. One slip could alter the timeline of a whole planet. Now one of those agents are missing.
Maria Wallace is an old classmate of Commander William Riker's from the Academy, and although she is very head-strong, she is a very capable agent. Maria uncovers a plan to assassinate the current leader on the planet, Chal, and argues with her superior, a Vulcan named Starn, on their interaction. When Starn refuses just because Chal is very close to creating one government on the planet, Maria disappears back out into the population and then the station is attacked. Riker must find Maria before she stops the natural course of Iomides, but the name Tok Grell keeps coming up and Riker fears that Maria has joined forces with him.
Although, I wish there was another title for this book that didn't just plain spell it out for you, the book had plenty of other twist and turns. There were some you suspected, but still surprise you while are the ones that you knew all along deep down. This is also a perfect Star Trek book for mystery lovers. Here you have two going and clues that sometimes lead to nowhere while you're trying to figure it out right along with the crew. The only part I didn't like is when J'Kara finds out who actually planted the disease on his planet. It reminded me of an episode of Murder, She Wrote or Matlock when everyone gathered around to discuss the outcome and why they did it with the real offenders. I almost expected everyone to hug at the end before the Enterprise left orbit of Buran.
Despite this little set-back, I give this book five pips. The conflicts were real and the inner problems of both governments can also be applied to any government today and tomorrow; which makes it timeless. The mysteries were real with clues that are obvious connections when you all figure it out, but sometimes the motive is nothing more than power. This is an intelligent book by John Peel that will keep you entertained and, believe it or not, it all ties together in the end just when you thought you were running out of pages for it.
Title: The Death of Princes
Author: John Peel
Review by: CL5 Amanda Sielu Paris