Star Trek New Frontier: Stone and Anvil
By Peter David; Read by Joe Morton
4 CD’s; 4 hours [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 0743533283 (CD), 0743533275 (Cassette)
Themes: / Science Fiction / Star Trek / New Frontier / Federation / Murder / Genetic engineering /
Peter David’s Star Trek: New Frontier series has been consistently excellent. Stone and Anvil is the 14th book in the series, six of which have been produced as audiobooks.
This book has Ensign Janos of the USS Excalibur under suspicion of murder. Captain Mackenzie Calhoun doesn’t believe Janos is guilty, and investigates. Through flashbacks into Calhoun’s past, the mystery is unraveled, culminating in a confrontation between Calhoun’s Excalibur and Picard’s Enterprise, and an exploration of the ethics and practice of genetic engineering.
Personally, I’ve had a lot of fun with Peter David’s novels. I think it’s safe to say that he’s my favorite of the Trek novelists – among my favorites are his Imzadi and Q Squared. In the New Frontier novels, he has the sandbox all to himself, and he seems to be enjoying himself. Along with the character of Calhoun, he brings in several secondary characters from TNG – for example, his wife is Captain Elizabeth Shelby of the USS Trident, who first appeared in the TNG episode The Best of Both Worlds. Ambassador Spock plays a role, and the Enterprise and crew show up as well. David’s playful style is infectious, and the result is very entertaining.
Joe Morton narrates, which is wonderful. He plays the moments perfectly. One thing that sticks in my mind about this one is the confrontation between Captains Calhoun and Picard. Morton successfully paints the picture with his voice, convincingly acting each character. Another: Calhoun’s handling of the infamous Kobayashi Maru exam. Morton’s timing, whether adding tension or humor, is impeccable.
Stone and Anvil, like all of the New Frontier novels I’ve read, is a cut above the average Star Trek novel. There is no need to go to the beginning and listen to the others before listening to this, but after you hear this one, you’ll want to.