Star Trek: Prey, Book 2: The Jackal’s Trick by John Jackson Miller

In my review for Book 1 of this series, I outlined the basic setup.  It’s dizzying in its complexity, and so much fun.  John Jackson Miller gave us a grand scale illusionist’s trick, and he managed it with the skill of an expert juggler.  More than once I thought to myself “Where can he possibly go from here?”  This isn’t doubt on my part.  Rather, it’s more a sense of awe as I’ve come to continually renew my admiration for Miller’s ability to write for both Trek and Wars, with respect for — and superior understanding of — what makes those universes tick.  More than that, I admire his abilities as a master storyteller.  There are few writers that can keep me guessing like he does.

That idea continues here as Miller draws upon lore from all across the Trek universe in celebration of the 50th anniversary.  He pulls back the curtain a little more on Korgh’s takeover of House Kruge, the rise of the Unsung, and of the goings-on in the mysterious Object Thirteen.  More than just cameos, we’re offered vital insights into Tuvok’s past service on board Captain Sulu’s Excelsior, Curzon Dax‘s role as a Federation ambassador, and the cast of characters who operate to perpetrate hoaxes so large that they become part of a world’s myth.  All of these things are woven seamlessly into the larger tapestry created by the first book, and all of it is absolutely vital to the plot.  Nothing goes to waste.

As the Unsung threaten to destabilize the balance of power throughout the quadrant, Korgh’s insider knowledge threatens the Illusionists’ setup against the Klingon Empire.  I can’t really say much more without giving away the twists, turns, and surprises, but suffice it to say, Miller’s 2 for 2 on this series.  All signs point to a grand finale.  This fanboy is most definitely ready to see how this comes together.

5 stars