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Star Trek: The Original Series: Crucible: Kirk: The Star to Every Wandering Mass Market Paperback – February 27, 2007

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Book 3 of 3 in the Star Trek: Crucible Series

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About the Author

David R. George III has written more than a dozen Star Trek novels, including The Lost Era: One Constant Star, The Fall: Revelation and Dust, Allegiance in Exile, the Typhon Pact novels Raise the Dawn, Plagues of Night, and Rough Beasts of Empire, as well as the New York Times bestseller The Lost Era: Serpents Among the Ruins. He also cowrote the television story for the first-season Star Trek: Voyager episode “Prime Factors.” Additionally, David has written nearly twenty articles for Star Trek magazine. His work has appeared on both the New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller lists, and his television episode was nominated for a Sci-Fi Universe magazine award. You can chat with David about his writing at

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One


Kirk stood beneath a hazy sky, feeling hazy himself. Around him rose trees and brush. A light breeze blew, causing the switchgrass to sway against the legs of his black uniform pants. The strong scent of Solomon's plumes wafted through the air, though in his mouth, he still tasted the tang of metal.

Metal? Still?

He reached his left hand to his lips, and his fingertips came away stained with blood. Kirk peered down at himself and saw dark patches on his crimson vest, and streaks of red on his long-sleeved white shirt and on his right hand. The material of his uniform had been covered with dirt and torn in numerous places. He struggled to recall what had happened -- and then did.

Soran. Veridian Three.

Kirk remembered falling, remembered gazing out from beneath the misshapen remains of the bridge that had crushed him and knowing that he had only seconds to live. He'd seen the flaming ribbon of energy, racing toward him and bringing the obliteration of space and time with it. The ribbon and the ruin had extended down to the planet, had engulfed him and Picard --


Kirk looked left and right, then turned in a circle, searching for any sign of the Enterprise captain. He didn't see him, though, nor did he see the rocky desert locale where they'd fought Soran. Instead, he found himself once more among the rolling, wooded hills of Idaho, in the area where he and Picard had last spoken prior to their mission on Veridian Three.

Except that they hadn't really been in Idaho, but in some type of temporal nexus that had allowed Kirk to imagine himself there. Picard had told him that, but Kirk had really known the truth of it even before then. He'd ridden Tom Telegraph out here from his uncle's barn sensing that it had been the day he'd met Antonia, but also knowing that it could only be an imitation of that time.

Movement caught Kirk's eye. He looked across the ravine to the hilltop, to where Antonia sat on horseback. Beneath the filmy sky, another horse and rider ascended the slope, approaching her. Only when they arrived at the summit of the hill and neared Antonia did Kirk recognize the second rider: himself, dressed not in the clothes he had worn on that long-ago day, but in the black slacks, white pullover shirt, and crimson vest of his Starfleet uniform -- the same uniform he wore right now, though neither ripped nor coated with the soil of Veridian Three.

What's happening? Kirk thought, and with an absurdity he realized a moment later, he actually patted the front of his own body in a visceral attempt to verify his own physical existence. He reasoned that he must be witnessing some sort of reproduced scene, since clearly he could not exist both here and there -- or could he? Could his presence here, in this spot, simply be a later version of himself than the one right now appearing to meet Antonia for the first time? Could he be standing here minutes after he and Picard had stopped Soran sometime in the 2370s, viewing a period in his life that had taken place in 2282?

He didn't know. That hadn't seemed to be how the nexus had functioned before. In his previous spell within the mysterious region, he hadn't been a witness to events, but a participant in them. He remembered preparing breakfast for Antonia on that day when he had been about to break the news to her of his intention to return to Starfleet, and then having his change of heart and telling Picard about it. He remembered stranding Gary Mitchell on Delta Vega but not being forced to kill him; finding a different way of dealing with Apollo on Pollux IV that did not require the self-styled god to spread himself thinner and thinner upon the wind, until only the wind remained; sharing a birthday meal with his son as David turned forty; and living or reliving so many other events of his life, some old, some new, many modified in ways clearly born of his own desires. But this...

He began walking forward, in the direction of the ravine, and beyond it, toward the hill where some version or replica of himself even now had that initial conversation with Antonia. As he moved through the switchgrass, he realized that it had been from this precise location that he and Picard had departed the nexus to reach Veridian Three. What did it mean, if anything, that he had returned to this place when he'd been swept back into the strange temporal confluence? Had he even really left the nexus?

Kirk stopped, unsure how he should proceed. He had intended to approach Antonia and the other Kirk, but now he didn't know if he should. He looked to his left, then moved that way, until he stood concealed behind the foliage of a low-hanging tree branch. For now, he decided, he would simply observe, in the hope of gaining more information before choosing a course of action.

As he peered through the leaves of the tree to the top of the hill, Kirk could not help remembering the original version of this day in his own life.

After waking up and eating a light breakfast, Jim Kirk knocked around the one-story farmhouse for a few minutes. Clad in blue jeans and a gray short-sleeved shirt, he paced aimlessly through the few small rooms: from his bedroom on the right side of the house, past the refresher, down the short hall to the kitchen, out into the living room, and into the second bedroom, which he'd more or less set up as an office, though he rarely spent any time there. With his years of starship service -- and consequently the requirements for written and recorded reports to Starfleet -- at an end, he found little need for a desk or any sort of a sit-down workspace. He'd had a com/comm unit -- a computer and communications station -- installed when he'd moved in, but he almost never used it. During his first few months here, Spock and McCoy and others had contacted him a number of times, but he supposed that he must've made it abundantly clear that he intended to disconnect from his former life and keep to himself in the Idaho wilderness. At this point, after residing here for nearly two years, days would pass between when he checked for messages, and only infrequently did he find one waiting for him.

Now, standing before the self-contained terminal, Kirk leaned forward and touched a control surface. It responded with a buzz, and the declaration 0 messages appeared on the display. Kirk felt a mixture of relief and disappointment.

If you want to talk with Spock or Bones, he told himself, you can just go ahead and contact them. He could, of course, but what would he say to them? That he'd made a mistake in leaving Starfleet? He knew that most of his friends and colleagues had believed that very thing when he'd stepped down, and they probably still believed it now. But while there might have been some truth to that view, he also knew that it would have been a much greater mistake for him to have stayed.

Kirk didn't want to discuss any of that, though, and what else could he tell his friends about his current life? Each day, he tended the horses, then often rode or hiked across the Idaho hills, even during the cold and sometimes snowy winter months. He occasionally went into Lost River for supplies, or farther afield, to Blackfoot or Pocatello or Idaho Falls. Twice, he'd visited the lava flows and cinder cones of Craters of the Moon Monument and Preserve. Last summer, he'd tried his hand at cultivating his own fruits and vegetables, but had discovered that he possessed little interest in the activity, not to mention something less than a green thumb. Now as then, he thought that some Orion joke must've hidden in that last observation, but it still eluded him.

Leaving the office, Kirk walked back out into the living room. A sofa and a pair of easy chairs, all old and timeworn, formed a cozy sitting area about the hearth. The mantel and the two end tables on either side of the sofa remained bare, though, and no personal photographs or artwork adorned the walls -- not just in this room, but throughout the house. Since he'd come here, Kirk had done little to make this place his own. He'd brought with him several crates of books and personal, naval, and antique artifacts that he'd collected through the years, but he had for the most part left those items packed up and stored down in the cellar. Every so often he would descend the old wooden stairs and rummage through one of the crates to find one volume or another to read -- and usually to reread. At the moment, a black, leather-bound edition of Great Expectations lay on the sofa, a gold ribbon halfway through marking his place in it, but the book hardly qualified as decoration.

Kirk padded across the living room to the front door and opened it, knowing that he needed to take care of the horses. The spring had been exceedingly mild so far, and the dull sky -- more gray-blue than blue -- promised another cool day. Kirk grabbed his light-blue jacket from where it hung beside the door and pulled it on. As he stepped outside, he hoped that the sky would clear and that by the afternoon the mercury would climb.

Great expectations, he thought, but the phrase resonated less with respect to the weather than to his own life. On his way to the barn, he considered the classic novel, which he had already read several times before, and he suddenly faced a moment of self-revelation. Have I become Miss Havisham? he asked himself. Jilted at the altar, her heart broken, the Dickens character had subsequently locked herself away, spending the rest of her life in her manse, Satis House, which she had then allowed to decay around her.

And me? he thought. Have I locked myself away? Kirk had not been abandoned on the day of his wedding, but fifteen years ago he had watched as Edith Keeler had been killed. The death of the woman he'd believed his one true love had affected him deeply, and though he hadn't physically sequestered himself away as Miss Havisham had -- at least not then -... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
  • Mass Market Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; First Edition edition (February 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074349170X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743491709
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Roger J. Buffington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 17, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like this author, and I really enjoyed the McCoy and the Spock "Crucible" novels. I did not particularly like this novel. A good part of my dislike is based upon its emphasis on events that took place in the "Star Trek Generations" film. I always thought that the whole premise of "Generations" was silly and improbable, and perhaps for this reason I had trouble investing much interest in this story.

Some hard core Star Trek fans will no doubt enjoy this piece, but I found it to be distinctly weaker than the other two Crucible novels, and I had difficulty finishing it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Yanni on March 18, 2008
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Slightly better than its "Crucible: Spock" predecessor, not nearly as good as the "Crucible: McCoy" opener of the trilogy. (Curious that even in a trilogy that consists of three separate stories not interdependant on one another, the middle installment manages to be the weakest.) For those who agree with the common perception that Edith Keeler was truly the love of Kirk's life, this story will doubtless work better than it did for me. But in order to accept that proposition, I would have to accept the cultural myth of "love at first sight" to an extent that I've never been able to manage (see my review of Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet.) After all, Kirk had only known her for a very brief time, not long enough to truly form a solid relationship that would constitute real love. Granted, infatuation interrupted can be devastating, and might even leave a weak-willed, impractical person traumatized for life. But Kirk was neither weak-willed nor impractical, and while the guilt feelings for having essentially caused the death of a woman he, at the very least, cared for deeply and greatly respected would certainly have been real and have haunted him for the rest of his life, I refuse to believe that what he had romantically with her was real enough to poison his relationships similarly. Furthermore, to suggest that Kirk's inability to have lasting relationships was a result of the events in "City On The Edge of Forever" is to overlook the fact that his romantic pattern was already established in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", "Dagger of the Mind", "Miri", and "The Conscience of the King" before "City on the Edge of Forever" occurred.Read more ›
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mark F. Henderson on April 5, 2007
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Out of the three books regarding McCoy, Spock & Kirk, I found the one about Kik the least enjoyable. I was surprised since the other two were outstanding reads. It was still OK and worth the time to read. It's just that the other two were that much better. Still, I'm glad to have in my ST Universe collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marc Klein VINE VOICE on November 5, 2007
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Just finished reading Crucible: Kirk and I have to say that it is very emotional. Actually, I felt like it was an extended version of Star Trek: Generations. At the second part of the book, I felt that there were scenes that would have firt nicely in the movie. Actually, I believe some of what's in the book was actually scenes that were cut from the movie.

Having read all three books, I can now give my opinion on all at once and here's how I break it down:

Crucible: McCoy: This was the best one in the series. I thought it heartwarming, touching and emotional.

Crucible: Spock: Was an okay one but I felt it was a bit weak.

Crucible: Kirk: Not as great as McCoy but still a fun and interesting tale.

I thank David George for writing these novels and allowing me the pleasure of reading something as mesmerizing as this series was.

Thank You Very Much Kind Sir.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. McCoy on July 27, 2008
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I've read all three books in the Crucible Trilogy in the order that they were written, beginning with McCoy, then Spock, and finally ending with Kirk. The book on Captain Kirk: The Star to Every Wandering was a bittersweet tale of love lost and the hope of finding that lost love again. This book was written to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Star Trek the Original Series and has references to various television episodes as well as the Trek films in which Captain Kirk appeared. The common thread that all three books in the Crucible Trilogy has is the TV epsiode: "The City on the Edge of Forever". If you enjoyed that episode, I feel confident that you will enoy reading each one of the Crucible Trilogy books.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Audrey Collins on March 12, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
David George is one of my favorite writers - Star Trek or otherwise. Each book of this trilogy left me excited to read the next one. I love how all three books have new scenes that are interwoven with original series episodes. The new scenes were so good, I had a hard time recalling whether or not they were actually in the episodes. What a great way to pay tribute to the show on it's 40 year anniversary. Each book has it's own distinct tone which I also liked. The first two are more personal and character-driven. Even though this one is more action-oriented, it still manages to reveal the heart of Kirk. I like that George wasn't constrained by what was published previously. However, he remains true to the canon of the original and animated series. He also gives us a new take on the origins of Kirk - one that I find far more interesting than being the son of a starfleet admiral. After reading this, I also had a much greater appreciation for the movie, Generations. I now view it very differently. If you've got an open mind and let yourself go with the story, you'll enjoy the ride!
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