So one of the major issues I've always had with Enterprise is that while rather sloppily trying to integrate itself into the canon the series also has a tendency to recklessly redact much which was previously canon a la Han Solo not shooting first. A perfect example of this is that the NX class, a ship designed over a decade before the founding of the Federation, is more advanced than the Daedalus, the Federation's first explorer. A ship which if memory serves Star Trek: the Magazine (which I believe was canon at the time) says topped out at about warp 4, had lasers and fusion-tipped missiles, and had a penchant for warp core breaches on extreme long-duration missions.
This is one of the few canon integrations (I mean, the Borg? REALLY?!) I like. Pushing the ship back, making it a competitor for the NX contract and then writing a story around it was actually pretty clever. I also like the nod to that one episode of TOS where Scotty waxes impressed about an ion drive.
I watched Enterprise when it was on TV and liked it a lot. Of course, I wish there were more than 4 seasons of the show. But since Enterprise lives on only in books, that is where I have turned.
I read Daedalus, my first Enterprise book, in 2 days. That's a first for me, even for "fun" books. There's no question this book fills one's head with long-missed images from the show. That is what I mainly wanted. On top of that, its a helluva page-turner. Stern's writing is blunt yet thorough -- fitting for the main character, Trip Tucker.
Make no mistake, you will not get a lot of time with Archer & crew in this story -- nor will you get much time aboard the Enterprise. (I still would like an Enterprise book that does those things.) But this book is a good enough story centered around a likable enough character that I don't mind the off-ship setting. There's a ton of action, too. That's key for any good Enterprise story.
Some reviewers go too far in saying this is a character study of Trip. True, it gives some background stories from when he was younger and it also puts him in some difficult decision-making situations. But a character study would link background stories to present decisions. Not so with Daedalus. You get lots of action combined with a couple flashbacks. The deepest insight you got on Tucker is that had made a conscious decision at one point in his life not to settle down with a woman. Big Deal. I actually don't hold this shallowness against the story, though. I mean only to help set expectations.
One star is missing from my rating for two reasons. I would have liked just a little more emphasis of a romantic sub-plot (perhaps I'm a spoiled Peter David fan.) I also have to say that as good as the story is, it ultimately hinges on a Sci-Fi plot mechanism that is getting a little worn, especially for Star Trek. And worse, the mechanism isn't revealed until very late in the book and it comes off as gimmicky.
Still, the book is a lot of fun to read, and as I said, it guides your imagination right back to the show you miss. I recommend it to any Enterprise fan and look forward to reading the sequel.