Purgatory’s Key: Star Trek Legacies, Book 3 by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore

Simon and Schuster’s 50th anniversary Star Trek story arc Legacies reaches its conclusion!

Picking up 12 hours after the events of Book 2, the Enterprise has been battle damaged in disputed territory, now facing off against one Klingon starship who is ordered to be there and a second with a dishonored crew and a vendetta.  On the planet below, the Klingons control an alien citadel that started a chain of events 18 years ago behind Starfleet’s back.  That failed mission resulted in the partial terraforming of the world, the subjugation of its native people by a race of inter-dimensional slug-like beings desperate to save their race, and the entrapment in another dimension of a handful of the Enterprise‘s crew, once under the command of the starship’s first captain, Robert April.  Now more people have been lost to the other dimension, including the Klingon Chancellor Gorkon, Dr. McCoy’s daughter Joanna, and Spock’s father, Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan.  While Kirk and the Klingons tap dance around the particulars of the Organian Peace Treaty, Spock, Uhura, and Chekov must find a way to interface with the alien technology, rescue the inter-dimensional exiles, and put right everything before intergalactic war breaks out.

Across the dimensional rift, Captain Una, whose personal history and actions brought events to bear, must keep her promise to rescue her former shipmates in a realm where the laws of physics are decidedly different from our own.  To complicate matters further, the aliens who built the citadel are still desperate to leave this realm and conquer another in the name of survival, and they stand ready to return to our universe with an invasion force the moment Kirk and his crew open the portal to mount their rescue operation.

This book, and the series as a whole, has very nearly everything I want in a Star Trek story, and on the whole it’s worthy of a 50th anniversary tribute.  Action, characterization, utilization of secondary characters and guest characters, gaps in past history filled in, new aliens, classic threats, references to previous episodes that make sense in story context and serve to promote the adventure at hand… almost perfect.

Almost.  I’m going to nitpick here because by the end of this, Kirk seems absolutely positive about the future of good intentions between the Federation and the Klingon Empire thanks to his meeting with Gorkon.  If you’ve seen Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, you know why this should not be, because this whole adventure takes place in the wake of the season 2 episode “Journey to Babel.”  But if you take this in the spirit of fan service, recognize that it’s not canon, and operate under logical storytelling within the scope of this arc, it’s something that can be overlooked if you’re inclined to do so.  I’m not so inclined.  But you know what?  If that’s the worst I can say about this, I’m calling this a win.

Almost a win.  There’s another enemy that reared its ugly head at the end of Book 1 and was all over Book 2.  It shook things up, dropped a bomb on things, and really got this party going.  This book?  We’ve got a dropped story thread.  An important one.  One that absolutely should not have been overlooked!  We got one scene, and that’s it?  What happened there?  I smell a sequel at some point down the line.  I hope that’s the case.  I want more of this.

All things considered, Legacies is some of the best new Star Trek I’ve had in the last few years.  It’s a fitting tribute to the legacy of the classic series.  It was like coming home to visit old friends.  Queue the end credits music.

4 stars

Legacies Book 3 Purgatory's Key