The second book of the “Vulcan’s Soul” trilogy is once again a book for those of you out there, who might want to get to know the Vulcan people a little bit better. Or especially their history, for that matter. Luckily it’s now also available as paperback, so you can save some money compared to the horrendously expensive hard-cover version :D
As with the first book, the story here is split up between two time periods: (1) the modern post-Dominion-war era and (2) the time when Surak changed the core of the Vulcan people.
SPOILER WARNING for the first book. If you haven’t read the first book, read it first and don’t read this review yet.
In the Surak-era the story continues right where the first book ended. The ships have taken of and are on their way into completely uncharted regions of space, trying to find a new home. But since also some of the groups that cannot be considered followers of the teachings of Surak made it onto the ships, problems can be expected. This story is told from the perspective of Karatek, the leader onboard the starship Shavokh, who preserved his memory in a coronet provided by the priests of Mount Seleya. That’s why I will also refer to this part as the “Karatek-part”.
In the modern time-period, the story is set a couple of weeks after the first books with Spock returning the Earth and Savik’s starship Alliance getting some youngster onboard. But then Ruanek and Spock receive a message from Admiral Uhura informing them, that one of their old friends might be in some trouble and that the Watraii are once again involved. So together with Scotty and Data they once again go on a secret mission to the Watraii homeworld.
As with the first book, also Exiles is well written. Once again, Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwartz did a fine job of introducing the reader to the Vulcan people as they were around the time of Surak … I guess “divided” sums it up. This time the story feels quite focused on that ancient era, while the modern part of this book is quite short.
Also the reader learns a little bit more about the Watraii, although, I would have hoped to learn more. With this limited new information presented in the modern part, it looks more like a placeholder that somehow should connect book 1 and 3 (haven’t read this one yet, so this here is pure speculation), while keeping this book more focused on the Vulcans in exile. In the end, it might have been better, to just get rid of the modern part altogether for Exiles.
In this case, the time-jumps within the Karatek-part could have been avoided. While everything keep understandable thanks to time-frame references right after such jumps, it still gave the feeling of cut-offs, which is something I rarely like.
Disclaimer: And with any Star Trek book, I really try to give a half-way understandable score, but since I like the ST-universe, I mostly see those books as part of the whole universe and the whole story. Also I’m following a scoring system, where 3 is not bad, but just nothing really spcial :-) (instead of what other people believe).