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Timetrap (Star Trek, No 40) Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1988
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While the pace and overall story of the novel were good, it was the character development of Kirk that was really off putting and though at the end of the novel his behavior is hand-waved as a product of chemical manipulation it's still off putting. The internal conflict of the Klingon undercover spy is well done and completely tricks the reader when the true is revealed.
Overall Timetrap is an quick, average read. If your a Star Trek fan, I halfheartedly recommend it with the warning about Kirk. If you're not a Star Trek fan then watch out because your perception of Kirk could get warped.
This is one of the better of the tie-in series of novels. The 'New Klingons' foreshadow the Klingons that will appear in the Federation of the Next Generation and DS9. It also refers to incidents of some of the classic episodes (which will not be mentioned here to avoid spoilers). There are a few sour notes though, especially the level of hostility between Spock and McCoy which goes far beyond the sparring from the classic shows. Also junior crew members openly question and show hostility towards Spock, hardly the sort of behavior one would expect from the Fleet's best and brightest to a superior officer.
The story itself is a reasonably good one, if not quite as subtle as it seems to think it is. The writing is fine, the characterizations good, the plot interesting if not entirely plausible, and not just because of devious Klingons. Worth a read, but not the best "Trek" story out there by a long shot.
It's probably still in a box in the attic somewhere. However, unlike the works of John M. Ford, the Reeves-Stevenses, Diane Duane or Peter David, my copy of Timetrap is unlikely ever to see daylight again, except maybe for a yard sale.