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Wildfire One and Two

By Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at February 7, 2003 - 5:56 PM GMT

Title: Title: Starfleet Corps of Engineers #23: Wildfire, Book One
Author: David Mack
Publication Date: January 2003
Format: ebook
ISBN: 0-7434-5678-5

Title: Title: Starfleet Corps of Engineers #24: Wildfire, Book Two
Author: David Mack
Publication Date: February 2003
Format: ebook
ISBN: 0-7434-5679-3

“Wildfire” by David Mack is a beautifully written tale of heroism and sacrifice. This novel is quite simply one the most emotionally moving pieces of fiction that I have ever read, and definitely one of the best I’ve read in a very long time. If you are a regular reader of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers ebook adventures I can guarantee that you will never be able to think of this series or its characters the same way again. If you are not a regular reader of this series it doesn’t matter. Nor does it matter one iota if you’ve never even heard of Star Trek or the Starfleet Corps of Engineers—the exemplary quality of “Wildfire” stands on its own.

What starts out as a hazardous salvage mission when the da Vinci receives orders to go to the aid of the U.S.S. Orion, which is crippled while trying to deploy the prototype Wildfire device, soon devolves into destruction and mayhem on an unbelievable scale. The editor of the SCE ebook series, Keith R.A. DeCandido, likes to joke that often in an SCE tale, “things go horribly wrong.” When it comes to “Wildfire”, that sentiment is a bit of an understatement.

Book One begins by setting the stage, reliving the final moments of the Orion. Shortly thereafter the da Vinci picks up an encrypted Starfleet emergency signal and upon arriving at the Orion’s location, the gas giant Galvan VI, the story kicks into high gear. I don’t want to ruin the compelling impact of “Wildfire” by describing the events in detail but I will tell you that you won’t find a more gut-wrenching cliffhanger ending than this one.

Book Two of “Wildfire” jumps right back into the story as the surviving crew begins to assess their position and then embarks on the seemingly impossible task of escaping the deadly atmosphere of the gas giant where they are adrift. To further complicate the already dire situation, the crew begins to suspect that there may be a previously unknown life form’s existence at stake as well. Have tissues on hand as the story races to its dramatic and shocking conclusion; you are going to need several.

As the stunning events of the Wildfire mission unfold before the reader, the tension of those events slowly builds until the story begins generating palpable terror and heart pounding fear. David Mack exhibits superior skill in drawing the reader into the story to such a degree that you have to stop and remember to breathe. The poignancy of the actions of the crew is portrayed in an extremely vivid and sensitive manner. One of the things I enjoyed most about "Wildfire" was Mack’s choice to allow the reader to experience the influence of the tragic events through the eyes of several of the characters, each seeing the horror of what they are living through in a different way.

I know that many people are reluctant to try ebooks, but no matter what your personal feelings about literature in a digital format, you’ll be missing one of the best pieces of Star Trek writing thus far if you let the fact that “Wildfire” is an ebook keep you from reading this extraordinary story. This is a tale you will never forget. A story that will leave your senses reeling, your eyes moist, and your heart and mind forever changed.

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Jacqueline Bundy reviews Star Trek books for the Trek Nation, writes monthly columns for the TrekWeb newsletter and the Star Trek Galactic News, and hosts the Yahoo Star Trek Books Group weekly chat.

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