Star Trek: Unspoken Truth, by Margaret Wander Bonanno
Introduced in early Star Trek films, Saavik is a half-Vulcan, half-Romulan protégé of Spock. This is her story. As a child, Saavik was rescued from Hellguard along with other children that the Romlulans had abandoned after a failed biological engineering experiment. Spock brought Saavik home to Vulcan to be raised by his parents, Sarek and Amanda. Saavik is now an officer in Starfleet with a bright future. But her world is turned upside down when childhood friend Tolek, tells her that the now-grown survivors of Hellguard are being hunted down and killed. Then, a Romulan confronts Saavik with news that he is her biological father and that she must help him destroy her adoptive father Sarek’s career as an ambassador. If Saavik doesn’t agree, not only will she be killed, but Sarek as well.
This ambitious novel tracks the life of a minor character (though certainly an interesting one) in the Star Trek universe. Despite Saavik having been portrayed by two different actresses (Kirstie Alley, Star Trek II and Robin Curtis Star Trek III & IV), we are only given a glimpse of her relationship with Spock, and nothing about her origins. Author Margaret Wander Bonanno wrote of one of my favorite Trek novels – Strangers from the Sky. And here, she fills in the blanks about where Saavik came from and her connection to Spock and his family. Bonanno fleshes out this complex character and gives her incredible depth and motivation.
It is not a requirement, but definitely helpful to have a good knowledge of Star Trek films II-IV as the novel references all of her scenes and the circumstances with Spock’s death and regeneration. But then, what original series fan doesn’t know the movies well?
Drama, mystery, intrigue, and first contact – this story will appeal to any true Star Trek fan. The plot is as complex as Saavik herself. It’s thought-provoking and moving, yet full of wonder and excitement – this is why I love science fiction and Star Trek novels in particular. I will now be tracking down Bonanno’s novels that I haven’t yet read. First the classic Strangers from the Sky, now this inspiring Unspoken Truth – I am dually impressed.