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Star Trek: The Original series: Rihannsu: The Bloodwing Voyages [Kindle Edition]

Diane Duane , Peter Morwood
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description


Born in the twilight years of Vulcan's violent and passionate past, those who declared themselves Rihannsu chose to reign free in the unknown reaches of space rather than to serve under the new tyranny of logic. Having severed themselves from their homeworld, they survived the perilous voyage across the stars to wash ashore on a distant planet, there to begin the civilization that would one day flower into the Romulan Star Empire.

Now, after millennia of wars and conquests, that empire is decaying from within, surrendering its noble heritage to reckless ambition, abandoning honor for kidnapping and murder. The corruption is so great that the Rihannsu's finest military officer -- Commander Ael t'Rllaillieu of the warbird Bloodwing -- believes she can save her people only by joining forces with her greatest enemy: Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise™.

Meanwhile, on the Romulan homeworld, a Federation deep-cover agent has been posing as a household servant named Arrhae i-Khellian -- but her operation takes a strange turn when a captured Starfleet officer is brought to her home . . .

The lives of Ael, Arrhae, and the crew of the Enterprise come together in these astonishing adventures -- originally published in four volumes: My Enemy, My Ally; The Romulan Way; Swordhunt; and Honor Blade -- that will challenge everything you thought you knew about the Romulans.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Diane Duane is the author of numerous science fiction and fantasy novels, amongst them the fan-favourite Star Trek titles DARK MIRROR and the 5-volume Rihannsu series of novels exploring the world of the Romulans (the first four volumes of which are now available as the omnibus THE BLOODWING VOYAGES 1416525777) released together with the fifth volume (THE EMPTY CHAIR 1416508910) in January 2007.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


My Enemy, My Ally

Chapter One

Her name, to which various people had recently been appending curses, was Ael i-Mhiessan t'Rllaillieu. Her rank, in the common tongue, was khre'Riov: commander-general. Her serial number was a string of sixteen characters that by now she knew as well as she knew her fourth name, though they meant infinitely less to her. And considering these matters in such a fashion was at least marginally appropriate just now, for she was in a trap.

How long she would remain there, however, remained to be seen.

At the moment her patience was mostly intact, but her spirit had moved her to rattle the bars of the cage a bit. Ael propped her elbow on her desk, rested her chin on her hand, and said to her cabin's wall screen, "Hwaveyiir. Erein tr'Khaell."

The screen flicked on, and there was the bridge, and poor Ante-centurion tr'Khaell just as he had been twenty minutes ago, still hunched over and pretending to fiddle with his communications boards. At the sight of Ael he straightened quickly and said, "Ie, khre'Riov?"

Don't play the innocent with me, child, thought Ael. You should have had that dispatch decoded and translated ten minutes ago . . . as well you know. "Erein, eliukh hwio' 'ssuy llas-mene arredhaud'eitroi?"

She said it politely enough, but the still, low-lidded look she gave him was evidently making it plain to tr'Khaell that if Ael had to ask him again about what was holding up the dispatch's deciphering, it would go hard with him. Sweat broke out on tr'Khaell's forehead. "Ie, khre'Riov, sed ri-thlaha nei' yhreill-ien ssuriu mnerev dhaarhiin-emenorriul -- "

Oh indeed! I know how fast that computer runs; I was building them with my own hands before you knew which end to hold a sword by. Of course, you can't just come out and tell me that the security officer ordered you to let her read the dispatch before I saw it, now can you? "Rhi siuren, Erein."

Poor tr'Khaell's face gave Ael the impression that t'Liun was going to take rather longer than "five minutes" to read the dispatch. Tr'Khaell looked panic-striken. "Khre'Riov -- " he started to say. But "Ta'khoi," Ael said to the screen, and it flicked off.

Pitiable, Ael thought. Truly I could feel sorry for him. But if he chooses to sell his loyalty to two commanders at once, who am I to deprive him of the joy of being caught between them? Perhaps he'll learn better. And after a second she laughed once, softly, as much at herself as at tr'Khaell. Perhaps the galaxy will stop rotating.

She pushed away from the desk and leaned back in her comfortable chair, considering with calm irony how little her surroundings looked like the cage they actually were. They truly think they've deceived me, she thought, amused and contemptuous, looking around at the spare luxury of her command cabin. Pad the kennel with velvets, they say to each other; feed the old thrai on fat flesh and blood wine, put her in command of a fleet, and she won't notice that the only ones who pay any attention to her orders are the ones stuck inside the bars with her. Ael's lips curled slightly upward at the thought. "Susse-thrai" had been the name bestowed upon her, half in anger, half in affection, by her old crew on Bloodwing; the keen-nosed, cranky, wily old she-beast, never less dangerous than when you thought her defenseless, and always growing new teeth far back in her throat to replace the old ones broken in biting out the last foe's heart. You might cage a thrai, you might poke it through the bars and laugh; but it would find a way to be avenged for the insult. It would break out and tear off your leg and eat it before your face -- or run away and wait till you had died of old age, then come back and excrete on your grave.

Then Ael frowned at herself, annoyed. "Crude," she said to the room, eyes flicking up to the ceiling-corner by the bed as she wondered whether t'Liun had managed to bug the place already since last week. "I grow crude, as they do." Chew on that, you vacuum-headed creature, and wonder what it means, thought Ael, getting up to pace her cage.

The most annoying part was that it was true. That courtesy, honor, noble behavior should be cast aside by the young, perceived as a useless hindrance to expediency, was bad enough. But that she should begin to sink to their level herself, descending into brute-beast metaphors and savagery instead of the straightforward dealing that had been tradition for four thousand years of civilization -- that was galling. I will not fight them with their own methods, Ael thought. That is the surest way to become them. I will come by my victories honestly. And as for Sunseed --

She stopped in front of another of her cabin's luxuries, one better than private 'fresher or sleeping silks or key lighting. Beyond the wide port, space yawned black, with stars burning in it -- stars that at Cuirass's present sublight speed hung quite still, apparently going nowhere. As I am, she thought, but the thought was reflex, and untrue. Ael grimaced again and leaned her forehead against the cool clearsteel.

In one way, she had no one to blame for where she was right now but herself. When she had heard about the Sunseed project based at Levaeri V, and had begun to realize what it could do to Rihannsu civilization if fully implemented, shock and horror had stung her into swift action. She had taken leave from Bloodwing and gone home to ch'Rihan to lobby against the project -- openly speaking out against it in the Senate, and privately making the rounds of her old political cronies, all those old warrior-Senators and those few comrades in the Praetorate who owed her favors. However, Ael had not realized the extent to which the old warriors were being outweighed, or in some cases subverted or cowed, by the young ones -- the hot-blooded children who wanted everything right now, who wanted the easy, swift victories that the completion of Sunseed would bring them. Honorless victories, against helpless foes; but the fierce young voices now rising in the Senate cared nothing about that. They wanted safety, security, a world without threats, a universe in which they could swoop down on defenseless ships or planets and take what they wanted.

Thieves, Ael thought. They have no desire to be warriors, fighting worthy foes for what they want, and winning or losing according to their merits. They want to be robbers, like our accursed allies the Klingons. Raiders, who stab in the back and loot men's corpses, or worlds. And as for those of us who remember an older way, a better way, they wait for us to die. Or in some cases, they hurry us along. . . .

She pushed herself away from the cool metal of the port, breathed out once. Somewhere among those stars, out in that blackness, ch'Rihan and ch'Havran hung, circling one another majestically in the year's slow dance around amber Eisn; two green-golden gems, cloud-streaked, seagirt, burning fair. But she would probably never walk under those clouds again, or beside those seas, as a result of that last visit to the sigil-hung halls of the Senate. The young powers in the High Command, suspicious of Ael from the first, now knew for sure that she was opposed to them, and their reaction to her opposition had been swift and thorough. They dared not exile her or murder her, not openly; she was after all a war hero many times over, guilty of no real crime. Instead they had "honored" her, having Ael sent out on a long tour of duty, into what was ostensibly a post of high command and great peril. Command she wielded, but with eyes watching her, spies of various younger Senators and Praetors. And as for peril . . . it came rarely, but fatally, here in the Outmarches -- the deadly peaceful space that the power surrounding most of it called the Romulan Neutral Zone.

Names, Ael thought with mild irony, names . . . How little they have to do with the truth, sometimes. The great cordon of space arbitrarily thrown about Eisn was hardly neutral. At best it was a vast dark hiding-place into which ships of both sides occasionally dodged, preparing for intelligence-gathering forays on the unfriendly neighbor. As for "Romulan" -- after first hearing the word in Federation Basic, rather than by universal translator, Ael had become curious to understand the name the Empire's old foes had given her world, and had done some research into it. She had been distastefully fascinated to find the word's meaning rooted in some weird Terran story of twin brothers abandoned in the wild, and there discovered and given suck by a brute beast rather like a thrai. It would take a Terran to think of something so bizarre.

But whether one called Eisen's paired worlds ch'Rihan and ch'Havran or Romulus and Remus, Ael knew she was unlikely to ever walk either of them again. Never again to walk through Airissuin's purple meads, she thought, gazing out at the starry darkness. Never to see that some loved one had hung up the name-flag for me; never to climb Eilairiv and look down on the land my mothers and fathers worked for a thousand years, the lands we held with the plowshare and the sword . . . For the angry young voices in the Senate, Mrian and Hei and Llaaseil and the rest, had put her safely out of their way; and here, while they held power, she would stay. They would wait and let time do what their lack of courage or some poor tattered rag of honor forbade them.

Accidents happened in the Neutral Zone, after all. Ships far from maintenance suddenly came to grief. That was likely enough, in this poor secondhand warbird with which they'd saddled her, this flying breakdown looking for a place to happen. Crews rebelled against discipline, mutinied, on long hauls . . . and that was likely too, considering the reprehensible lot of rejects and incompetents with whom she was trapped here. Ael thought longingly of her own...

Product Details

  • File Size: 1138 KB
  • Print Length: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books/Star Trek (December 19, 2006)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000N2HCPG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,839 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent Trek novel December 20, 2006
Fed up with dull Star Trek novels? here's something far better. Journey through time to the founding of the Romulan Empire, with a people devoted to passion over reason, elemental powers, and an unutterably complex form of honor. Noted fantasy author Diane Duane has written a series unlike any others. Along with Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and other friends, this book features Ael, a Romulan traitor who values her personal honor over the empire, the crystal spider and Hamalki physicist K's't'lk, and other brilliantly original characters. A great series for any Star Trek fan, definitely not to be missed.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ri'hannsu: The Bloodwing Voyages (Star Trek) May 13, 2007
Diane Duane is simply the best writer in the Star Trek universe. Every novel she has written has been exciting, engrossing, and entertaining. With her, you gain a keen insight into the minds and histories of all aspects of our favorite Universe - the crew of the Enterprise, the other members of the Federation, the Vulcans, and in this series, the Ri'hannsu (Romulans). One should read everything she writes; you won't be able to put them down. She makes it very real, and she has the skill to make readers believe that they are there. She is exacting in her research (she accurately conforms to the ST series) and science, physicists will appreciate her details, but she makes it understandable to the scientifically challanged. She is also a brilliant psychologist and political analyst. She can even make her villians likeable and well-rounded. Her books are better than chocolate.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still love it, 3 years after I read it! January 16, 2011
This was the first Star Trek book(s) I ever read! I wasn't even much into the Trek franchise, even though I was a major Sci Fi fan. This changed everything for me! The story of Ael & the Romulans/Rihannsu is simply EXTREMELY GOOD (oh my god, it's great!) To be fair, I like the 2 first best, simply because they delve into Rihannsu culture, emotionalism, religious beliefs, language and honor, while the latter 3 contain too many space battles for my liking... but they are all worth reading. I only wish they'd make a hardcover omnibus containing all 5 novels, not just the first 4. (Hardcover, because you will want to re-read them a lot.) As a result of these books, I tend to side more with the Romulans in the canon series/movies, than the Federation;-)

Bear in mind that the first books were written BEFORE NextGen, so there will be canonical differences, although Diane Duane has corrected some in the omnibus, compared to the original/individual novels. But IMO this is the way they should have developed the Rihannsu, errr Romulans. The concept became so popular that fans even went so far as to lobby for the books to be considered canonical. Unfortunately Roddenberry refused, and banned the development of Rihannsu culture/language from later books, though some hinted at it even when it was banned (Diane Carey.) The ban was lifted in the 2000s. And in new books, you will find a lot of references to Diane Duanes original Rihannsu culture/language. Just goes to show just how good Diane Duane is; new trek writers still base their culture on her Rihannsu series 25 years later. Most notably: Andy Mangels & Michael A. Martin & David R. George III. - be sure to check out their books if you like the Rihannsu concept;-)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Better Romulans April 1, 2007
Very well wrtitten and with good plots, it's the book all the Romulans loving people should read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rihannsu: The Blood Wing Voyages December 5, 2008
This is a fantastic, and invaluable book for any who would like to learn about the deep and intricate culture of the Romulan Star Empire. The Star Trek universe is largely devoid of info on Romulans and this work does for the Romulans what was done for the Klingon race through out the 1980's. The book even goes so far as to establish "Romulan-isims" with a word glossary in the back.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Romulans at their best January 4, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A must for any Trekkie that remembers the original series. The Rihannsu need to be written about more and more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Romulans Rock! October 13, 2012
I have just reread the first two titles in The Bloodwing Voyages. I need to find a new hardcover copy that is affordable because the one I own is coming apart. This copy was one I purchased from the Science Fiction Book Club many years ago. I confess that My Enemy, My Ally is my favourite title in the series, but each book gives more and more about the Romulans and their culture. It is understandable why Romulans are so xenophobic given what the they experienced after leaving Vulcan and their experience with the Etoshans. Diane Duane has written a power house of a series that puts many Star Trek authors to shame. I collected Star Trek novels for many years, but came to realize how greedy publishers were becoming. I really dislike the approach to starting one novel during Kirk's time, then continue it through to each of the eras that follow. I have found that these books are fragmented and not really complete stories in themselves and that transitions to one era after another in Federation history are poorly done. I have had to move quite often since a divorce and over last two years I have reduced my Star Trek book collection from over 500 books to less than a hundred. I took time to reread each book and realized that for the majority of them, I had purchased them just to keep my collection going instead of buying only quality stories. I admire the feisty Commander Ael t'Rllaillieu. She is a good match for Kirk, Spock and even McCoy. She is a person to "ride the river with". Ael holds a level of honour that is rare. She betrays her people for their sake even though they do not see it this way. I cannot imagine the fire that burns away inside Ael's heart as she does what is right even though it means permanent exile from her people and worlds. Read more ›
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More About the Author

Diane Duane was born in New York City -- a descendant of New York's first mayor -- and worked there as a psychiatric nurse before leaving the profession for the only one she loved better, the business of writing. Since the publication of her first novel in 1981, she's written fifty more, not to mention numerous short stories, comics, computer games and screenplays for TV and film, and has picked up the occasional award here and there. (She's also worked with Star Trek in more media than anyone else alive.)

Right now DD is probably best known for her "Young Wizards" series of young adult fantasy novels, featuring the New York-based teen wizards Kit Rodriguez and Nita Callahan. The series now enters its third decade with Nita's and Kit's newest adventure: "Games Wizards Play," the tenth Young Wizards novel, is scheduled for publication by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in winter 2015/16. Interested readers can find weekly teaser excerpts from the book at the blog at

DD shares a two hundred-year-old cottage in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland with her husband, the Belfast-born novelist and screenwriter Peter Morwood, and various overworked computers... an odd but congenial environment for the staging of epic battles between good and evil and the leisurely pursuit of total galactic domination. (And a lot of ethnic cooking: her own favorite foods come from the cuisines of central Europe and the Mediterranean.) In her spare time DD gardens (weeding, mostly), studies German and Italian, chats with friends and fans on her Tumblr at, listens to shortwave and satellite radio, and dabbles in astronomy, computer graphics, iaido and amateur cartography... while also trying to figure out how to make more spare time.

Her favorite color is blue, her favorite food is a weird kind of Swiss scrambled-potato dish called maluns, she was born in a Year of the Dragon, and her sign is "Runway 24 Left, Hold For Clearance."

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Rihannsu Books
It collects the first four - "My Enemy, My Ally", "The Romulan Way", "Swordhunt" and "Honor Blade". "The Empty Chair" you'll have to buy still....
Apr 22, 2007 by S. Masood |  See all 2 posts
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