The seventh book in the “A Time To” Star Trek: TNG series.

Publication year: 2004
Format: print
Page count: 341 and an excerpt from the next book
Publisher: Pocket Books

Enterprise-E and three other star ships are on Tezwa, supposedly to keep the peace on a planet torn by terrorists who are lead by the power mad former prime minister Kinchawn. In reality, the Starfleet ships are there to prevent the secrets on the planet to see the light of day. A small group of Federation politicians, who are now the president and his chief of staff, hid powerful new nadion cannons on Tezwa and if that became public knowledge, the Klingons would start a war against the Federation. Unfortunately for said politicians, La Forge and his engineer are already suspicious of their findings.

The military is still loyal to Kinchawn and they are using guerrilla attacks against the Starfleet officers, Federation relief workers, and even against their own people who of the “wrong” ethnic origin. The crew of the Enterprise-E has to fight a desperate battle against the well-armed and numerous guerillas.

This book has lots of graphic scenes of people fighting and dying. Most of the secondary characters introduced in the previous book die gruesomely. To me the relentless violence felt very depressing and unlike most Star Trek books. Also, we’re constantly reminded that Starfleet is crippled by their moral rules of war when confronted by an enemy who doesn’t follow them. I think we already saw that with the Dominion war. The aim is, of course, to show how brutal and pointless war is. Again.

Sadly, the characters also lose their faith in their leaders. Pretty much all of the politicians in the book are corrupt and willing to sacrifice other people’s lives to further their own agenda. If the true goal of the conspiracy is to avert a war with the Klingons, surely president Zife could have gone to Martok on his hands and knees and confessed to being the only one to blame and to subject himself to the Klingon justice system. But no. He had to sacrifice the lives of thousands of people whom he’s supposed to lead and protect. Bah. When are they going to elect Picard or Janeway as president? Surely admirals and star ship captains should be public figures and so someone should suggest it, at least.

A more appropriate name for this book would have been “A Time for War” or “A Time to Kill”. No healing here.