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Star Trek : Destiny -- Book 3: Lost Souls

By Bill Williams
Posted at December 6, 2008 - 2:09 PM GMT

Star Trek: Destiny -- Book 3: Lost Souls by David Mack
Mass market paperback
464 pages, MSRP $7.99
ISBN-10: 1-4165-5175-1
Date of publication: November 2008

Summary: The soldiers of Armageddon are on the march, laying waste to worlds in their passage. An audacious plan could stop them forever, but it carries risks that one starship captain is unwilling to take. For Captain Jean-Luc Picard, defending the future has never been so important, or so personal -- and the wrong choice will cost him everything for which he has struggled and suffered.

For Captain William Riker, that choice has already been made. Haunted by the memories of those he was forced to leave behind, he must jeopardize all that he has left in a desperate bid to save the Federation. For Captain Ezri Dax, whose impetuous youth is balanced by the wisdom of many lifetimes, the choice is a simple one: there is no going back -- only forward to whatever future awaits them. But for those who, millennia ago, had no choice...this is the hour of their final, inescapable destiny.

Review: Before I get started with my thoughts on the third and final installment of David Mack's Destiny trilogy, I have to say it's good to be back reviewing the latest Star Trek releases! After being away for the past two years, coming back to reading and reviewing the latest Pocket Books releases is like breathing fresh air once again!

Now, on with the review…

So far I've been extremely captivated by the first two chapters of the Destiny trilogy, Gods of Night and Mere Mortals. Everything up to this point has been nothing short of hard-hitting and totally life-changing for everyone in the Star Trek universe - not just in one particular branch, but in nearly every single arena that this storyline encompasses. Without revealing too much at this early point, I must say that it's extremely necessary to read the previous two volumes, as well as the earlier TNG releases Resistance, Q&A, Before Dishonor, and Greater than the Sum, before proceeding into Lost Souls, simply to understand the larger nature and scope of the threat that is to come in the Destiny trilogy. This review contains unavoidable spoilers from the first two books, as well as potential spoilers to this final volume, so be forewarned.

Previously, the crew of the U.S.S. Titan encountered an alien race, the Caeliar, on the distant world of New Erigol, and living among them is Erika Hernandez, former captain of the starship Columbia who has been stranded among the Caeliar for hundreds of years, who warns them that they are not able to leave. But when Hernandez transmits a call for help from the planet's surface, Riker must choose the inevitable: leave behind his crew - among them his wife Deanna Troi, who herself is suffering through a potentially fatal pregnancy - and join the Enterprise, the Aventine (under the command of Captain Ezri Dax), and a fleet of ships from different worlds against the threat of over seven thousand Borg vessels assimilating one world after another in an apocalyptic blitzkrieg. But the Starfleet crews are already wounded as it is, thanks to a devastating Hirogen attack at the climax of Mere Mortals, which makes their ability to participate in the forthcoming war even more of a challenge.

Ever since his two-part S.C.E. epic Wildfire, as well as his pre-Nemesis installments A Time to Kill and A Time to Heal, I have enjoyed how Mack successfully manages to mix hard-hitting action with a deep personal element that leaves you caring for the characters and their fates. And Lost Souls is no exception. Of course, it wouldn't be a David Mack novel without the requisite body count, and Mack's penchant for making the reader care for those individuals who perish in the ultimate sacrifice is extremely evident throughout the Destiny trilogy.

It's a very fast-paced read that thrusts you right into the middle of the action, and Mack never lets up for one minute. Still, he finds time for those interpersonal moments that equally define the diverse casts that populate Lost Souls, from the reunions among the many Starfleet officers before the coming battle, to the Klingons breaking out in song before setting off on their mission (in a moment that recalls The Hunt for Red October), to the Columbia's MACO officers desperately struggling for survival thousands of years in the past with inevitable death their only companion, to the Federation Council's last meal together before certain doom. The human element is what makes for a successful Star Trek adventure, and David Mack capitalizes on the human factor in this series like never before.

Of course, Lost Souls eventually addresses the forthcoming apocalyptic final battle between the surviving forces of the Federation and the Borg, including the crews' encounter with a Borg Queen now bent on complete annihilation, and it's this final battle that Mack draws the reader into and never lets up. Similar to the final epic battle of Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King, the final chapter of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mack skillfully moves between hard-hitting action and personal drama in creating a battle for the ages. Are there tragic losses? Yes, as in any conflict. Is there a successful payoff for the Destiny trilogy? For the reader, absolutely.

Was Gods of Night an excellent first chapter to the Destiny saga? Of course. Could Mere Mortals top it in quality? Absolutely. Does Lost Souls exceed everyone's expectations? Not only that, but David Mack blows it all away, creating an epic final chapter to a stunning saga, one that will produce indelible ramifications that will be felt for years to come and continued in the forthcoming installment A Singular Destiny from Keith R.A. DeCandido. It's without a doubt the Star Trek equivalent of Tolkien's masterpiece.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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Bill Williams Is the Trek Nation's new regular book reviewer.

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