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String Theory Book Two: Fusion

By Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at December 9, 2005 - 8:19 PM GMT

Title: Star Trek: Voyager, String Theory Book Two: Fusion
Author: Kirsten Beyer
Release Date: November 2005
Format: Mass-Market Paperback
ISBN: 1-4165-0955-0

In many respects the second book of a trilogy is the most difficult to write as the author must build on the events established in the first book while at the same time setting up the third book. When there are three different authors involved it can be even harder to pull off well. Although a newcomer to Pocket Books stable of authors, Kirsten Beyer has more than risen to the challenge with her first novel Fusion, book two of the Star Trek: Voyager, String Theory trilogy.

Fusion picks up the tale where book one, Cohesion (July 2005) left off as Voyager pursues Tuvok to what appears to be an abandoned space station, a station orbiting and being powered by a singularity. The existence of the station is another puzzle among several that the Voyager crew has already encountered in a star system that is itself a mystery. Like any good mystery the fun in reading it is in discovering the answers to the mystery, so in the interests of not spoiling this very pleasurable novel, and the one that precedes it, I'm going to dispense with the usual plot synopsis.

The String Theory story began as a planetary adventure when Voyager made a very odd discovery as they passed through the Monorhan system in Cohesion and in Fusion Beyer has expanded the scope of the story, building on the theme while at the same time ratcheting up the intrigue and excitement. The prologue may initially leave you scratching your head but a few more pages along everything starts to click.

Fusion is very much an ensemble story and Beyer's demonstrates a masterful grasp of the characters. Even the minor characters are clearly delineated as the author takes advantage of every opportunity the story provides to provide fresh new insights into the characters and their relationships. I particularly enjoyed the interactions between Neelix and Naomi Wildman.

Fusion also reflects back quite a bit to the beginnings of Voyager's long trek through the Delta Quadrant and the author's use of continuity is extremely well done. The references are seamlessly incorporated into the narrative and instead of bogging down the plot they help to propel it forward as Fusion answers enough of the questions that Cohesion provokes in the readers mind to satisfy but still leaves you anxious for the final installment.

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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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