The Jackal’s Trick

The Jackal’s Trick

Star Trek: Prey Book 2

The Star Trek: Prey trilogy got off to a great start with Hell’s Heart and with book two, the story just gets better and better. The Jackal’s Trick continues to follow the hunt for the discommendated radical Klingons known as the Unsung. Worf, Tuvok, Geordi and Riker step up to the task as they deal with Korgh’s political plays, surprise attacks from the Phantom Wing, and the mysterious Object Thirteen. Yet it’s the villains of the story that really steal the limelight as they’re given equal measures of attention. The Jackal’s Trick dives into their motivations and schemes, the twist and turns of their many layered plots, and flashbacks that further flesh out their histories. With no shortage of interesting characters all bound together in a web of shifting intrigue, this book delivers on all fronts.

For those who haven’t read book 1, Hell’s Heart, stop now as you won’t want this series spoiled for you. It’s suffice to say book 2 is just as good as the first and definitely worth your time and investment to check out. There’s great characters, a deeply intricate and rewarding plot, action and surprise. The Klingons get tons of attention as the story is set in Klingon space, visits several Klingon worlds, and stars several prominent Klingon characters. But it’s the details that really make the story interesting, and that’s where the spoilers come into play. Last warning, as now we’re going to dig in deeper.

In Hell’s Heart, we discovered who Korgh was and who he is striving to be. In The Jackal’s Trick, we find out more about Korgh’s past, his plans, and his ultimate end game. Yet at the end of the first book, we were introduced to another character deeply involved in Korgh’s plot. Buxtus Cross, the Betazoid trickster, plays a major role in book two as we learn how he came to be involved in this whole mess. We get to see his interactions with his crew, his plan for Kahless, and the motivations that drive him. This in turn introduces us to Shift, his apprentice, and the crew of Object Thirteen aka Blackstone and the mechanisms that make their magic possible.

Like the previous book, there are some flashbacks in this story, however the focus is very much on The Next Generation. We get a glimpse of Cross’ past, another look back for Korgh, and a little adventure that Tuvok was involved in many years ago that ties into the story. In fact Tuvok pops up a lot in this book as his past run-ins play into the hunt for the Unsung and Object Thirteen’s mysterious technology. There’s even a cameo by Sulo. Aside from them, a lot of the focus remains on the villains, Worf, Riker, Geordi and various members of Titan. Picard and the Enterprise are in the book, but they don’t get a lot of page time. Instead the attention stays on the others and it works out well.

With all the great characters and elements running rampant through this story, the real heart of the book is the balance between all the story threads. On one hand you have Cross being fully developed as a character. On the other, you have Korgh who has already been developed, and who is now running full steam with the scheme he has unleashed. Then there’s Tuvok and Geordi who are trying to find a way to track cloaked ships with advanced technology while also finding a way to counter their enemy’s advantages. Riker is up against the wall trying to salvage a peace treaty while fighting the Unsung threat, and Worf is on a mission to restore honor to a fallen comrade which leads him once again behind enemy lines. Valandris is still struggling with her own desires, and this time around we find out about Zokar who gets his own little subplot. There are others, some of them pleasant surprises, and some of them big twists. They all come together seamlessly, building upon each other, weaving in and out, and forming one cohesive story that continually builds interest without ever losing steam. It’s an impressive feat.

With one more book to go, The Jackal’s Trick sets up the trilogy for a grand finale. What will happen to Korgh’s grand Klingon scheme? How will the other players in the story contribute and complicate the machinations of this grizzled protege of Lord Kruge? What will become of Worf and the Unsung? In fact, how will the entire Klingon Empire come out of this mess? There’s a lot of great questions, and so far the trilogy has made it a blast seeing the plotlines and characters clash against each other. For keeping the pace going full throttle with even more surprises and rewards, I give The Jackal’s Trick a five out of five metal bikinis.

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Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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