Book ReviewsStar Trek: The Brave and the Bold

Star Trek: The Brave and the Bold

The Brave and the Bold is a two-novel duology, written by Keith R.A. DeCandido, back in 2002.  Mr. DeCandido is one of my favorite authors of Star Trek novels (I’m sad that he no longer writes Trek books!!), and this story is an incredibly fun cross-over story that spans what at the time were all of the Trek shows (the Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise). I don’t know how I missed these two books when they were originally published!!

With the recent end of the two-decades of interconnected Star Trek novels whose continuity I’d been following and loving for so long, I’ve been left a bit unmoored.  (The Picard show contradicted the post-Nemesis continuity these novels had developed; so the whole shebang was wrapped up in the three-book Coda series.)  I’m bummed the novel continuity has ended and I didn’t love how Coda ended things.  I haven’t been that interested in the new novels that have been published for the past year or so, so I’ve decided to go back and find older novels that I’d missed along the way, which is what brought me to The Brave and the Bold.  (I did read two recent Picard novels, to see how those writers would try to blend the previous novel continuity with the new Picard continuity.  They were both OK.  I’ll post my reviews of those books after Picard season three wraps up.)

The Brave and the Bold is a title well-known to comic book fans; it’s often been used by DC Comics for their crossover series.  As such, it’s a great title for this crossover story.

After a short prologue at the start of the first book, set on Jonathan Archer’s Enterprise, each book is divided into two main stories.  Ther’s a TOS story, a TNG story, a DS9 story, and a Voyager story.  But this duology isn’t just a crossover between the five Trek series.  Each novella is itself a crossover story, shining a focus on other starships and their crews that we’d met in various episodes.  In the TOS story, Kirk’s Enterprise goes on an adventure with Matt Decker and the U.S.S. Constellation (from the TOS episode “The Doomsday Machine”).  In the DS9 story, Sisko, Kira and Dax are involved with Captain Keogh and the U.S.S. Odyssey (from the DS9 season two finale “The Jem’Hadar”).  In the Voyager story, set before the events of the Voyager pilot “Caretaker”, not only does Captain Janeway and Voyager pair up with Captain DeSoto and the U.S.S. Hood (mentioned in the TNG series premiere “Encounter at Farpoint” and seen briefly in “Tin Man”), but so too do Maquis leaders Cal Hudson (from the DS9 two-parter “The Maquis”) and Chakotay (who was a Maquis captain when we first meet him in the Voyager series premiere “Caretaker).  In the final novella, set before the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, Picard and Riker and the U.S.S. Enterprise team up with Captain Klag and the I.K.S. Gorkon.  (Klag, memorably played by Brian Thompson, was introduced in the second season TNG episode “A Matter of Honor,” and Mr. DeCandido would go on to write several more novels centered on Klag and the Gorkon crew.)

As if all those deep dives into Trek continuity weren’t enough, Mr. DeCandido chose to tell each of these stories from the perspectives of the secondary ship/character, rather than our “main” heroes from the shows.  What a fun choice!  Mr. DeCandido does a terrific job at fleshing out these various ships and crews, most of whom we only saw very briefly in their TV guest appearances.  I love this character building.  It brings these stories to life in a fun and unusual way (and it twists the knife for the reader, as we know that many of these characters went on to meet unfortunate fates in their on-screen appearances).

I loved these two books!  Mr. De Candido has a fun, easy to read style.  His mastery of Star Trek lore is spectacular.  I loved all of his choices for the obscure side characters he chose to include and develop in these books.  I wish all of these characters had been featured in many more novels!!  (I’ve never read Mr. DeCandido’s Gorkon novels, but now I’m for sure going to have to track those down!!)

It’s a true pleasure to read this duology.  It’s, on the one hand, an epic saga spanning what was at the time the full score of existing Star Trek series.  At the same time, its got wonderful small-scale character building, both for the familiar Trek heroes and for all of the mostly new side characters.  Mr. DeCandido does a great job on both aspects.  This is exactly what I’m looking for in a Star Trek novel.

I am so glad I’ve now read these books!!

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