Caretaker is the first novel in the Voyager series. As fans of the television show will notice, Caretaker is also the titele of the premiere episode of the television series. The novel is in fact based on the script for that episode. In Caretaker, the reader is introduced to the many characters that will eventually be part of the Voyager crew and learns how Voyager ends up on the far side of the galaxy, in the Delta Quadrant. Caretaker is the story of the beginning of Voyager's adventures.
Sent on a mission to locate Tuvok, an undercover Federation officer posing as a Maquis aboard Captain Chakotay's ship, Voyager and it's crew encounter what is first believes to be an anomaly. This anomaly sends them clear across the galaxy. Here they learn that their presence in the Delta Quadrant is no accident. Rather than an anomaly having brought them there, it was the work of an alien, known to the reader as the caretaker. Using his own advanced technology, he has brought Voyager, as well as the missing Maquis ship, to him for reasons that will not be revealed to the reader until the conclusion of the novel.
The novel centers on Captain Jayneway's attempts to locate and rescue two missing crewmembers, as well as find a way to get Voyager back to the Alpha Quadrant. In the process, the reader is introduced to several new species; the friendly yet isolated Ocampa and a deadly new enemy, the Kazon-Ogla. These new species make the novel very interesting and a touch of humour is added at the introduction of a strange little alien called Neelix. These new characters peek the reader's interest and set the stage for future Voyager novels and episodes.
So, did I like this novel? But of course! Being a late comer into the vast flock of Voyager fans, I often found myself wondering about the origins of the Voyager crew and their mission. Besides being very entertaining, Caretaker is informative. It is a MUST for anyone who either missed the first episode of the television series or has recently been thinking of becoming a Voyager viewer.