Star Trek: The Next Generation: Hearts and Minds by Dayton Ward
2031: United States Air Force fighter jets shoot down an unidentified spacecraft and take its crew into custody. Soon, it’s learned that the ship is one of several dispatched across space by an alien species, the Eizand, to search for a new home before their own world becomes uninhabitable. Fearing extraterrestrial invasion, government and military agencies which for more than eighty years have operated in secret swing into action, charged with protecting humanity no matter the cost…
2386: Continuing their exploration of the Odyssean Pass, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise discover what they at first believe is a previously uncharted world, with a civilization still recovering from the effects of global nuclear war. An astonishing priority message from Starfleet Command warns that there’s more to this planet than meets the eye, and Picard soon realizes that the mysteries of this world may well weave through centuries of undisclosed human history…
As soon as the Enterprise reaches it’s latest area of unexplored space, Picard discovers that crucial information has been withheld from him but disclosed to a member of his crew. This betrayal mars contact with these new beings. But hundreds of years ago, these aliens came to Earth, and humans may have damaged relations beyond repair.
Hearts and Minds is the latest voyage of the Starship Enterprise. Though, I do miss the original Next Gen crew, I thoroughly enjoy this new lineup of a mixture of original and new crew members. They are diverse and engaging. This latest story is told in two eras, side by side. The pacing flows well. And suspense builds to a surprising and satisfying finale. Ward’s Star Trek novels are always a must-read, and this unique story is another fun and exciting read.