Thursday, January 28, 2010

Reading Room Spotlight-
"Star Trek
The Khan Noonien Singh Trilogy"
By Greg Cox

Awhile back, I spotlighted the excellent Trek novel "Assignment: Eternity" by Greg Cox. The tease at the end of the book about how Gary Seven would be instrumental in dealing with Khan's exile lead to 3 books focusing on the Rise and Fall of Khan. In the "Eternity" review I named it as the best Trek novel I had ever read. Well, after completing the Khan trilogy, that may have changed.

The first 2 books focus on Khan's origins and rise to power. Intertwined in Khan's origin story are Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln, who are on a quest to thwart the efforts of genetic engineering. You won't believe the role that Gary plays in Khan's life, from his earliest days up through his exile from earth. Cox also does a masterful job of making sense out of the Eugenics Wars taking place in the 1990's. Mixing in real world events and giving a plausibility to a "behind the scenes" genetic tyrant and cryogenic-capable sleeper ship make you almost question if perhaps Khan really did exist in the 90's...

The third book in the series focuses on Khan's years of exile on Ceti Alpha V. Again, Cox does a great job of making certain film inconsistencies not only work, but add depth to his stories (like why Khan keeps the one glove on...). I actually found myself rooting for Khan by the end, and it has enriched my views on Khan's character in "Wrath Of Khan". In fact, do yourself a favor if you pick this up and immediately watch TWOK after completing it. It's amazing how different you feel about Khan once you know where he comes from.

I went into these books thinking I'd probably like them, but not as much as Eternity since they lacked the TOS regulars (Kirk, Spock, & company). Boy was I wrong. While Kirk and crew do have small (yet still interesting) side stories in all 3 books, Khan easily held my interest all on his own. All 3 books are fantastic and get my highest recommendation. I just wish there were more...



  1. I am thrilled to see attention paid to Trek books, but I am sad to say that I very much disagree with your esteem for this series. Although extremely fun and a great adventure (for both the reader and the characters), and also I have enormous respect for the storycraft that Greg Cox displayed in making the story work, I certainly never mistook any of them for the "Best Trek book I ever read." That is of course merely my opinion. However, even though the author Cox spins a fun story (making agile use of Trek lore and real events), his skills as a writer are left wanting, as I see it. Thus, great story, poor writing. Yet I immediately agree, well worth the read.

  2. Hey Rich! Different strokes for different folks I guess... but I am glad to hear you at least enjoyed them! I'd be interested to hear your top picks- I'll put them on my "must-read" list once I hear back!