Top critical review
A slow paced man versus nature adventure.
Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2015
The Red King is the second book in the Star Trek Titan spinoff series. The series follows the adventures of William T. Riker (from Star Trek The Next Generation) as he commands the starship USS Titan, other returning characters include Diana Troi and Tuvok. This story is set shortly after the events of the movie "Star Trek: Nemesis" and picks up immediately where the first Titan book "Taking Wing" left off. The story is written with the assumption that you have read the first book, so you should probably read that first to understand what is going on. The book also ties in with the novel "Star Trek: The Lost Era 2298: The Sundered", but isn't necessary to enjoy this book.
The storyline of this book is pretty straight forward, with the crew of Titan and some Romulan ships stranded in the Small Magellanic Cloud (a dwarf galaxy near our own). Due to the events of Star Trek Nemesis a portal between Romulan space and this other galaxy has formed and is threatening to destroy the entire region. The storyline is primarily a man versus nature premise, with most of the drama spent on the characters reactions to this force of nature as they desperately try to stop the destruction and save as many lives as possible.
The second plotline is from the perspective of the Romulan Commander Donatra, who has to retrieve her lost fleet while dealing with an unruly co-equal Commander who has different ideas on how their fleet should proceed. This storyline felt anticlimactic however, as every time the tension ratcheted up it was quickly diffused in some quick and convenient manner.
There is also a minor racism subplot where some of Titans alien crew members discuss whether Riker has a bias towards humans over aliens. This is largely silly though, due to Star Trek long standing stance about diversity and acceptance.
There isn't a whole lot of direct conflict or action to be had in this story and the pacing is a tad slow for the stakes that are being portrayed. This story is more about the emotional strain and response to the events around the characters. Most of the story tends to telegraph its next move, although they surprisingly leave things a bit open ended, possibly to leave room for future visits to the SMC.
The book is somewhat mediocre, not really standing out in any particular way. It does succeed in leaving me curious about the tie in story from the Lost Era miniseries, so I might get that book later.