Hell's Heart: Star Trek: Prey #1 by John Jackson Miller

Hell’s Heart is the opening book in the Star Trek: Prey trilogy. The events of the book span the time from shortly after the Star Trek 3 movie, Search for Spock to shortly after the time of The Next Generation. The death of Klingon commander Kruge at the hands of James Kirk at the end of Star Trek 3 kicked off a series of events with repercussions felt more than 100 years in the future.

Kruge’s death left a Klingon house in disorder, with a young Klingon, Korgh, the intended heir of Kruge never formally designated as successor. Without a clear heir, battle breaks out between officers loyal to Kruge and rival family members who want to pick clean the house Kruge had built. A last stand by the officers on a planet where a phantom wing of twelve advanced Birds-of-Prey are intended to turn the tide ends in disaster when the ships go missing. The defeat of the officers by a joint attack of Kruge’s relatives leads to an unprecedented power-sharing agreement among the family members and the discommendation of the defeated officers along with all of their families.

One hundred years later, the Enterprise under the command of Jean Luc Picard is present for a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the battle. The Enterprise is snared in a trap 100 years in the making, leading to a crisis that upends the Klingon empire and puts its alliance with the Federation in jeopardy.

John Jackson Miller has written a thrilling book that rings true to the characters and events familiar to Star Trek fans as well as taking them in exciting new directions. Kirk and Spock kick off events that lead to unpredictable outcomes. Picard and Worf must unravel a conspiracy that threatens everything the Empire and the Federation have built together. Miller carefully unspools information that both illuminates what has already happened and raises the stakes for what is coming next. The action scenes are exciting and there are plenty of nods to characters and events from throughout the Star Trek universe sure to please any fan of the series.

The audiobook is narrated by Robert Petkoff who was a revelation. He breathed life into a huge cast of characters, Klingon, human and Vulcan. The accents were spot on and each character was easily distinguishable from each other. In some cases, the voices bordered on impersonations of the well-known actors who originated the roles. The narration complemented the story, propelling the action along and adding depth to the quieter moments. Petkoff’s performance with this book is worthy of audio award consideration.

Hell’s Heart is an exciting novel that leaves you anxious to continue the adventures in the rest of the trilogy. The audio version is extremely well done and adds to the enjoyment of the story. Highly recommended.

I was fortunate to be provided a copy of this book by the publisher.

Description: When Klingon commander Kruge died in combat against James T. Kirk on the Genesis planet back in 2285, he left behind a powerful house in disarray - and a series of ticking time bombs: the Phantom Wing, a secret squadron of advanced Birds-of-Prey; a cabal of loyal officers intent on securing his heritage; and young Korgh, his thwarted would-be heir, willing to wait a Klingon lifetime to enact his vengeance.
Now, 100 years later, while on a diplomatic mission for the United Federation of Planets, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the USS Enterprise are snared in the aged Korgh's trap - and thrust directly in the middle of an ancient conflict. But as Commander Worf soon learns, Korgh may be after far bigger game than anyone imagines, confronting the Federation-Klingon alliance with a crisis unlike any it has ever seen!

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