Star Trek: Picard: The Dark Veil by James Swallow
The Alpha Quadrant is mired in crisis.
Within the United Federation of Planets, a terrorist strike on the shipyards of Mars has led to the shutdown of all relief efforts for millions of Romulans facing certain doom from an impending supernova. But when the USS Titan is drawn into a catastrophic incident on the Romulan-Federation border, Captain William Riker, his family, and his crew find themselves caught between the shocking secrets of an enigmatic alien species and the deadly agenda of a ruthless Tal Shiar operative. Forced into a wary alliance with a Romulan starship commander, Riker and the Titan crew must uncover the truth to stop a devastating attack—but one wrong move could plunge the entire sector into open conflict!
This is a tie-in story set years before the Picard series starts, but after the synthetics attacked the Mars shipyard. And the Federation stopped assisting the Romulans in their evacuation before their star explodes. Tensions are high between the Romulans and Federation again. So, when both parties respond to a plead for help from a mysterious species, neither can trust the other’s motives. Meanwhile, a Tal Shiar agent has her own agenda and is working secretly behind her commander’s back.
Wow, this story was fantastic. I love the Picard series, and this backstory for Riker and Troi helps to show what gets them thinking about retirement and eventually finding a world to raise their family. Their son Thad is a wonderfully precocious mix of the two of them – Riker’s thirst for adventure and Troi’s sensitive nature. And I always love Romulans, so tossing them in is guaranteed suspense. The reptilian, Jazari aliens are wonderfully secretive which leads to a fun mystery. And while the timing makes them a bit predictable, it doesn’t diffuse the action and adventure in the slightest. And I loved every part of it. This is everything you want in a Star Trek novel.