Star Trek: Preserver -- A Novel By William Shatner

Written By: Randy Hall

Published: Issue 16


Please Note: The following review has some items concerning the plot of "Preserver" and previous novels within the "Mirror Universe" trilogy, which may lead to you being "spoiled". However the spoilers are is very light, and as such the decision on whether or not you want to read the following review is at your discretion.






STAR TREK: PRESERVER, the sixth Kirk novel by author William Shatner and collaborators Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens came out in June instead of March like the previous two books in the "Mirror Universe" trilogy due to troubled times in Shatner's life, but it was definitely worth the wait!


At the end of last year's novel, DARK VICTORY, Kirk had reluctantly joined forces with his counterpart, Emperor Tiberius, in order to obtain the antidote that would cure his poisoned wife, Teilani, and the child she carried. The cost? The location of the First Federation base, which would give Tiberius the military might needed to reclaim his empire in that parallel universe.


After arriving at that installation, the two Kirks wind up fighting in airless space as each tries to rip off the other's protective suit. Meanwhile, the two Picards battle it out from their respective Enterprise Es as the action just keeps on coming. I have to admit that "our" Picard is very clever in defeating his Mirror Universe double. If only that character would be handled as well in the next Trek movie!


The story takes an unexpected turn when an obelisk left behind by the Preservers is discovered in the base, setting up a confrontation between our heroes and the mysterious aliens who transplanted Miramanee and her people from Earth to a distant planet in the Classic Trek episode, "The Paradise Syndrome".


Sadly, this became the only thing in the novel I didn't like as Shatner and his collaborators got caught up in a desire to explain every last coincidence in all of Star Trek as a machination of the Preservers. Yes, everything from the duplicate Earth in "Miri" to James T. becoming captain of the Enterprise at such a young age is supposed to be a result of behind-the-scenes manipulation by these aliens. I can go along with some of that, but I think it diminishes the free choice and heroism in Trek to accept this as true for that entire universe.


Anyway, Kirk and company decide to try and lure out the Preservers with the only random element that could undo the aliens' plans: the second Kirk from the alternate reality. This strategy works all too well as our heroes discover a plan to destroy the entire Mirror Universe from Halkan (the planet at the center of the episode, "Mirror, Mirror"). Along the way, Kirk winds up in command of the Enterprise E's saucer section as he, Picard and their friends and crews struggle to stop the Preservers by defeating the Starfleet vessel Pathfinder and a Ferengi ship called, interestingly enough, the Leveraged Buyout.


In the end, Kirk pays a terrible price for victory, which isn't hard to figure out from Shatner's comment that PRESERVER has "certain autobiographical elements". The final chapter brings the book to a touching conclusion as the reader is assured that the captain's loss won't be forgotten.


As always, I also greatly enjoyed listening to the audio version of the story. I have to give Shatner credit for doing dead-on Ferengi among the voices he provides in this year's audio. And yes, the continuity is again handled very well.


I can hardly wait to see what trouble Kirk gets into next year!


Rating: Highly Recommended