Captain’s Peril: A Good Book, but it Has a Few Issues

Captain’s Peril (Star Trek: Totality #1) by William Shatner, Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Judith Reeves-Stevens

Published January 27th 2004 by Pocket Books (first published October 1st 2002)

 

Captain’s Peril is a good book, though, I have some concerns with the way the Bajorans are depicted. The book seems to start out a little slow, which is one of the reasons I had trouble getting into story initially. It took nearly a month for me to finish this title. But that wasn’t only due to the pace of the book. It was also because I was reading it on a new device, and it took me a while to figure out which settings worked best for me (font, font size, screen brightness). After I found the combination of settings that was most comfortable for me, I flew through the second half of the book in a total of about 6 hours.

One of my major qualms with Captain’s Peril, perhaps the biggest one of all, is the way that the Bajorans are portrayed. I find it difficult to believe that Bajorans would be as ignorant of off-worlders as they are portrayed to be here, even for rural Bajorans. In Captain’s Peril, the Bajorans are hostile to Picard and Kirk’s presence on their planet, which I can understand, but their beliefs and the knowledge that these Bajorans lack – I don’t understand it. In more than one instance in the novel, the Bajorans stated that they didn’t know or believe that off-worlders were capable of love or other emotions, or even of forming friendships. In all of the Star Trek canon that I’ve encountered, I’ve never seen any indication that Bajorans believe this. It’s possible, I suppose, but it certainly does seem out of character. If they had specified that they didn’t know that humans, specifically, felt this way, it would have been more believable than just lumping all “off-worlders” into one group, though, it does sound like something Bajorans might say about Cardassians. Also, I could understand how one Bajoran might feel this way, but the undercurrent is that it’s a mainstream sentiment in Bajoran society.

Are these Bajorans really that isolated? Possibly. One explanation could be that the Bajorans we meet in Captain’s Peril are part of a subgroup that has never been presented in canon before. Maybe they belong to a different religious group. It’s an interesting prospect. This book presents the possibility that there is more than one Bajoran religion, excluding the Cult of the Pah-wraiths. The Captain’s Peril Bajorans believe the same basic principles of what I’ve come to think of as the dominant Bajoran religion we see most prominently in DS9, but some of the details differ.

To be fair, Captain’s Peril is the first of the three-book Totality series, so I’m expecting the next installment to have a faster pace earlier in the book. This is the third Shatnerverse series I’ve read. I’ve read the Mirror Universe series and the Odyssey series (except for The Ashes of Eden, possibly), so generally I like the Shatnerverse novels. I don’t remember the plots of the books in those series feeling as if they began as slow as Captain’s Peril did in the beginning. The action in Captain’s Peril picks up nicely towards the middle, though, and the ending is top-notch, and a surprise that I hadn’t anticipated. Good stuff. Next in the series: Captain’s Blood.

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