This book straddles the time between the end of The Next Generation and the new CBS Picard television show. The only problem with watching the show before reading this book is that I find myself wanting to re-experience the first season all over again!
A thrilling novel leading into the new CBS series, Una McCormack’s The Last Best Hope introduces you to brand new characters featured in the life of beloved Star Trek captain Jean-Luc Picard—widely considered to be one of the most popular and recognizable characters in all of science fiction.
I can only assume that this book blurb is so short because anyone who would read a Star Trek book is already a big enough fan of the show, series, or character that no further enticement is needed. And, I’ll admit this directly up front: I love Jean-Luc Picard but I wouldn’t consider myself a Star Trek fan. Probably more specifically I am a Patrick Stewart fan. I will follow this actor and therefore this character anywhere through any universe and story. Still, I’ve never been moved enough by the idea of Star Trek to venture into other storylines. With that being said, I know my Jean-Luc and Una McCormack delivers him beautifully.
“The Romulan star is about to go supernova.”
With that statement, Jean-Luc’s career is thrown in chaos alongside the millions, if not billions, of Roman people that will have to be moved from worlds will which shortly cease to exist and settled on new planets. Throughout the story we see, as we always have, Jean-Luc struggle with the delicate balance of being a Star Fleet officer and his core desire to protect those he feels are the most vulnerable.
Una McCormack uses shifting narratives to tell the many different stories of this nightmare situation. Lieutenant Commander Raffi Musiker, Gordi La Forge, Bruce Maddox, and Nokim Vritet take up the bulk of the narrative with other characters adding what is needed for perspective. I adored the Qowat Milat, the female based kick-ass warrior nuns with their open hearts and absolute candor. And I grew to despise the Tal Shiar, the secret Romulan group that seemed to be everything outsiders distrusted in Romulans concentrated to an evil level.
There were times that the sheer number of narratives grew overwhelming (a theme for me this week with my review of Aurora Rising). But the inclusion of so many felt necessary. Watching their stories, struggles, and eventual successes and failures weave together towards the conclusion of the story only made me want to pick up all the people, all the pieces, and put them back together again. Happily, I can do so simply by watching the first season of Picard again.
This book also echoed sentiments that are all around us regarding immigration, the needs of some versus the desires of others, and the politics behind helping people. I couldn’t help but see the parallels between this story and the struggles of so many trying to come to America. Layer upon layer, it was time well spent with a favorite character, on an issue that transcended science fiction.
Tell me, please!
Who is your favorite Star Trek character?