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Star Trek: Typhon Pact #3: Rough Beasts of Empire (Star Trek- Typhon Pact) by [George III, David R.]
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The Swarm: The Second Formic War (Volume 1) by Orson Scott Card
"The Swarm" by Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston return to their Ender's Game prequel series with this first volume of an all-new trilogy about the Second Formic War in The Swarm. Learn more | See related books
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David R. George III has written more than a dozen Star Trek novels, including Ascendance, 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 Facebook.com/DRGIII.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

The blade tore through his flesh with cruel ease.

Agony erupted in Spock’s midsection, a red-hot ember blazing at the center of an instantly expanding inferno. He grabbed for the knife protruding from his abdomen, for the hand that wielded it, but as he staggered backward a step under the assault, he reflexively threw his arms wide in an attempt to retain his balance. He knew he had to prevent himself from falling, vulnerable, before his unknown, half-seen attacker. Loosed from his grip, Spock’s handheld beacon clattered to the rocky ground, its narrow beam sending long shadows careering about the subterranean remnants of the ancient Romulan settlement. In silhouette, visage concealed by darkness, his assailant loomed above him, broad-shouldered and a head taller.

Spock struggled to concentrate, understanding on the heels of the ambush that he likely would have little time to defend himself. Seeking to rule the pain screaming through his body, he focused on the other details of sensation. He felt the cool metal of the knife against his now-exposed right side, even as his blood rushed warmly from the newly opened wound. He smelled the musty scent of age and abandonment that swathed the underground ruins, commingled with the fetid odor of the modern city’s sewer system, which ran nearby. The electric tang of copper filled his mouth.

Spock had tasted death before, and recognized it. Intense memories surged in a flash through his mind. Piloting the faltering Galileo above Taurus II, the heat in the smoky main cabin climbing as the shuttlecraft and its crew began plummeting back into the atmosphere. On the planet Neural, hearing the report and then feeling the strike of the lead projectile as it penetrated his back, mangling his viscera. In the Mutara Nebula, repairing Enterprise’s warp drive, and suffering the lethal effects of extreme radiation as he did so.

But then the images slipped, melting away in a flat wash of color. The past faded from Spock’s mind as quickly as it had arisen, and thoughts of the future suddenly seemed unreachable. Only the excruciating present remained, and only at a remove. Loss of consciousness beckoned, and beyond it—with no ready receptacle for his katra—so too did nonexistence.

The would-be assassin closed the small distance, the single pace, that Spock had put between them. The attacker seized the handle of the knife and twisted the blade within the ragged wound, doubtless searching for vital organs. With the pain intensifying, Spock reversed course and reached with his mind for his physical distress, embraced it, clung to it as a means of preventing himself from passing out. He summoned his strength to fight back, only to discover that he had already taken hold of the hand clutching the weapon. As a Vulcan, even at his advanced age—a year short of his sesquicentenary—he possessed corporal might exceeding that of the individuals of many humanoid species. He could not fend off his assailant, though, perhaps owing to his compromised condition—or more likely, he thought, because his adversary enjoyed commensurate bodily prowess.

Romulan, Spock thought, though in the inconsistent lighting, he could not be certain. But the conclusion followed, considering the aversion of the Romulan government—of both Romulan governments—to his efforts to reunify their people with their Vulcan cousins. It also made sense given his current location, deep beneath Ki Baratan, the capital city of Romulus, and the very heart of the Romulan Star Empire. Few natives, let alone outworlders, knew of even the existence of the old dug-out structures, much less how to access them. Buried by both history and the foundations of the present-day metropolis, much of the belowground, stone-lined tunnel system had been converted long ago into sewage conduits.

A patina of perspiration coated Spock’s face as he strained to push his attacker’s hand away, to drive out the knife from where it had breached his body. He could do no more than keep his assailant at bay, but he felt his own vigor continuing to wane and knew that he would soon fold. A haze once more drifted across his awareness. He didn’t know how much longer he could remain conscious.

On the threshold of desperation, Spock peered past his attacker and gauged their distance from the far wall, ascertaining their position within the passage. Then with all the force he could bring to bear, he swiftly raised one hand and brought the side of it down against his assailant’s wrist. The blade jumped within Spock, causing a fresh wave of pain to slice through the lower part of his torso. At the same time, his attacker cried out, his yelp echoing through the tunnel, his hold on the haft of the knife slackening. Spock quickly retreated one long stride, then another, and a third and fourth. Stopping where he judged necessary, he steeled himself and yanked the weapon from his body. More blood issued from the wound, the warm, green plasma saturating his clothing.

Spock reseated the knife in his grasp, its point outward, arming himself. His attacker faced him but made no immediate move other than to reach up and wrap his other hand around his injured wrist. For a moment, stillness settled over the tableau. Spock could hear his own tattered breathing, could feel the rapid throb of his heart.

He knew he would have to act. Though the confrontation had reached a standstill now that he held a weapon, he could not in his condition maintain that impasse for long; soon enough, he would falter. For the same reason, retreat seemed as unlikely a solution.

Spock tightened his grip about the knife, preparing to engage the enemy. But then a tendril of irritation reached him, a fragment of emotion carried into his mind by an empathic projection—a strong empathic projection. At once, Spock realized that he had not been assaulted by a Romulan. He also saw how the truth underlying that fact could aid him with the rudimentary plan he had formed.

He lifted his arm and whipped it downward in a single, rapid motion, hurling the knife at his foe. Light glinted along the blade as the weapon passed through slivers of illumination. Spock’s attacker nimbly jumped aside, turning to watch the flight of the knife as it shot past and disappeared into shadows untouched by Spock’s lost beacon. For an instant, the face of Spock’s assailant became visible in a patch of reflected light: a bald skull, mottled flesh, large pointed ears curling outward from his head, raised brow and cheekbones surrounding sunken eyes, a jagged line of teeth.

The Reman did not chase after the knife, but spun back around, his features receding once more into the gloom. He reached for no other weapon that he might be carrying, but he bent his knees and tensed his body, obviously about to spring toward his prey. Spock knew that the Reman would require nothing but his hands to complete the slaying he’d begun.

With virtually no time and no other opportunity left to him, Spock willfully surrendered his mental discipline. His own fears, both intellectual and emotional, soared within him. Though Spock had long ago accepted the reality—indeed, the necessity—of the feelings his mind generated, and though he regularly allowed himself to experience what he imprecisely regarded as his “human half,” he still sustained considerable control over his internal life. As he faced his own mortality directly and without restraint, though, a surfeit of powerful emotions threatened to overwhelm him.

Instead of battling his fear, Spock latched onto it. He searched for and found the anger accompanying it: anger at the violence perpetrated against him, anger that his death would forestall his attempts at reunification, anger that he would be forcibly and permanently removed from the lives of those about whom he cared. Then he deliberately dropped his mental guard, pulling down the defenses he maintained about his mind that protected him from external forces.

He immediately felt the full, robust empathic presence of the Reman. Spock allowed it to sweep over and through him, to buffet and suffuse him with impatience, frustration, and a determination to kill. Rather than battling against it, Spock added to it, layering it with his own anger. As the redoubled emotions grew into a rage, he redirected it to his attacker.

The Reman flinched, cocking his head to one side for a second. Then he launched himself forward, his body uncoiling as though released from great pressure. He came at Spock fast, lifting his hands before him as he closed the gap.

Spock remained motionless, calculating that he would have but one chance to save himself. He judged the speed at which the Reman moved, the man’s long gait devouring the distance between then, and still Spock waited. He watched the long, bony fingers his assailant clearly meant to wrap around his neck.

Finally, with the tips of the Reman’s curved fingernails nearly upon him, Spock moved. He threw himself backward onto the ground, simultaneously pulling his knees in toward his body. The pain emanating from his midsection swelled to almost unimaginable proportions, and his vision began to cloud at the margins. Still, he willed himself not to stop.

Unable to halt his momentum, the Reman overbalanced, but as he fell forward, his fingers found their target and encircled Spock’s throat. Spock felt the touch of his assailant’s cold, clammy hands on his neck, along with the weight of the Reman’s body descending atop him. Their gazes met at close range, their faces mere centimeters apart.

Spock thrust his legs upward. His feet connected with the Reman’s hips, causing a massive jolt of agony to rip like lightning through the center of Spock’s body. But the action continued his attacker’s momentum, and the Reman hurtled over and past him.

Spock felt his assailant’s hands jerk free from around his throat, then heard a meaty cr...


Product Details

  • File Size: 1056 KB
  • Print Length: 405 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books/Star Trek; Reissue edition (December 28, 2010)
  • Publication Date: December 28, 2010
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003UYUOUY
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,108 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Spolier Alert:

After the first two books I was looking forward to this book, but my God this was a huge mess. I agree with a lot of the other comments here. Sisko is my captain and the way his charcter was handled was down right insulting. Sisko not only abandoned his wife but both his children and then becomes a whinning jerk! WTF, there is no way he would have done that. I agree the reference to his daughter kidnapping was driving me crazy, in ST fiction this never happened.

In fact, the character development of all of the main characters were just off. Spock not being able to understand the fine political manuevering of the Romulans, or Donatra being stupid enough to walk into a trapand then "kill herself". Please for the love of Trek make it stop!!!!!

I had to put in a few tapes of DS9 to remove the bad aftertaste
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I was really excited when the Typhon Pact series was announced but having read all four of them I am extremely disappointed. Actually, I'm more than disappointed; I'm actively irritated and maybe even angry about how poor each of these books are. The books are so poor, that I almost wish that they HADN'T decided to maintain story continuity over the course of each book. Old Star Trek books used to be self-contained stories that didn't "really" happen in any official capacity. But now that they "do" count, when a particular book craps all over the universe we are stuck with it.

Such is this book. They turned Sisko into a total self-absorbed jerk who served no purpose to the story whatsoever. His story thread takes place in a total vacuum completely unrelated to the plot of the book, with the exception of one scene in which he is little more than a messenger boy. Also, I don't find Spock's assumptions and actions in the book to be logical at all, or at least not to the degree of absolute certainty Spock has. Of course, Spock HAS to be correct so events proceed in an illogical faction (to the reader) in order to prove the soundness of his logic in the story.

I also found it maddeningly frustrating to see what happens to Donatra in this book. This was another example where I found myself stupefied over the actions of a character. There is no way in a thousand years she would be so stupid as to walk into the trap she did. It was total garbage. What happened made no sense, why it happened made no sense, and how it happened made no sense.
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As has been the case with a majority of the Typhon Pact books, I find myself once again disappointed and wondering, more than anything, "why?"

The two central arcs of this story focus, as one might deduce from the cover, alternatively on Spock and Sisko, two of my favorite Star Trek characters. The plot is slow and plodding, and I found myself frequently uninterested in what happened next, mostly because not much was happening at all. The book resolves the fissioning of the Romulan Empire in a lackluster fashion. What could have easily have been a masterpiece of intrigue, subterfuge, and misdirection, as is the case with the best Romulan stories, was instead an almost straightforward progression, easily unraveled by the reader early on, despite involving the ultra-secretive Tal Shiar. In the end, I felt the entirety of the events could have been introduced into the universe in a two-paragraph brief to President Bacco in another book and had the same impact on the reader.

I could have dealt with the plot issues, however, had the character development and personal storylines been well fleshed out instead, but alas, this was also not the case. The arc involving Spock used him solely as a plot device to drive the reader from one storyboard bullet point to another - a role which could have just as easily been filled with a completely new and nondescript character. The use of Spock here was solely for the purpose of getting his face on the cover, I feel. Sisko's development was even worse - his "story arc" had very little plot and strove to make me connect with him on a personal level, but failed miserably. I found myself hating the character and wanting nothing more to do with him or his storyline after just a few chapters.

Overall, a very disappointing read with a boring (and relatively unimpactful) plot and botched character stories.
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The relaunch series for Star Trek: TNG and DS9 has taken the franchise in a new direction. Gone are stories about pure scientific exploration with the occasional ship or ground battles. In its place is a series of books that is essentially "War Star Trek". The novels have mostly dealt with either the behind the scenes political and intelligence aspects of running a war (either a cold war or a shooting war) or actual battles. While this may sound fun and interesting its not really a classic Star Trek story arc. Even DS9, which has been called the darkest of all the TV series limited the war stories ( late season 5 and all of 6 and 7) and broke up the war arc with non war stories in between. The same can be said of Enterprise and the Xindi arc. After the Borg War story I was hoping that the relaunch would move into classic Star Trek stories again that didn't center on war or politics. No such luck here.

This story is well written and is an interesting read. It shows us what post Shinzon and Typhon Pact Romulus looks like and neatly resolves the political schism between the Romulan Empire and the Imperial Romulan State. It also gives us a chance to read about Spock again in his Unification Role on Romulus (Not magically getting off Romulus to come hang out with Picard and the boys whenever a writer gets a Spock Boner and wants to write some Spock lines). The Sisko story feels thrown in as if to say hey, we need Ben Sisko back in these stories. The Sisko arc does what it needs to in order to put him back in Starfleet and now the character can be used by writers in future stories - but readers beware this Ben Sisko is not the Captain you saw on DS9, he is changed, distant and cold. Which brings me to another Pet Peeve of the Star Trek relaunch, STOP CHANGING THE MAIN CHARACTERS.
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