Book Review: Star Trek: The Original Series: The Captain’s Oath

Star Trek: The Original Series: The Captain’s Oath by Christopher L. Bennett

The saga of James T. Kirk’s historic command of the U.S.S. Enterprise is known throughout the galaxy. But one part of the legend has barely been touched upon until now: the story of Kirk’s first starship command and the remarkable achievements by which Starfleet’s youngest captain earned the right to succeed Christopher Pike as the commander of the famous Enterprise. From his early battles with the Klingons to the rescue of endangered civilizations, Kirk grapples with difficult questions: Is he a warrior or a peacemaker? Should he obey regulations or trust his instincts? This thrilling novel illustrates the events and choices that would shape James T. Kirk into one of the most renowned captains in Starfleet history.

The Captain’s Oath is told from two timelines: when Kirk is first assigned to the Enterprise and his time as captain of the Sacagawea just prior to the Enterprise. The novel jumps back and forth between the 2 timelines, but it’s easy to follow. Some of the crew of the Enterprise doubt their new, young captain. And their mission to diffuse a conflict will test Kirk. And in the past, Kirk has tough decisions to make about the Prime Directive and the fate of an entire race.

While the two unconnected storylines seem a bit strange, it just tells an overall story about Kirk and the man he is. This complex and engaging read. And there are plenty of mystery, suspense, and moral quandaries. Kirk is the one who doesn’t believe in no-win scenarios, but he is faced with several. He’s a rule follower, so it’s always fun to see him bend the rules and give us opportunities to think about what we would do in his place. I always enjoy these “missing years” novels, and this is no exception. TOS fans will definitely want to pick up this one.

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