Star Trek Crucible: McCoy Provenance of Shadows review

The lives of Dr Leonard H McCoy.

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Author: David R George III

Publisher: Pocket Books

624 pages · £6.99

ISBN-10: 0-7434-9168-8

Rating: 5/5

The start point of Provenance of
Shadows is one where many Star Trek
books have gone before: the Guardian
of Forever (that big, dry-icy doughnut
from “The City on the Edge Of
Forever”). But don’t let that put you off.
This is a terrifi c Trek novel.

When the cordrazine-crazed McCoy
leapt through the Guardian’s portal into
the past, he saved peace-worker Edith
Keeler’s life – a life that should have
ended. Kirk and Spock jumped through
to set things right. And all three
returned to find “all is as it was”.

But hold on just one of your Earth
minutes! On some far-flung plane of
existence, that alternate reality is still
around, where, through Edith’s influence,
America got into WWII late, with terrible
consequences. McCoy (who has given
up all hope of rescue) must spend the
rest of his life on a now-skewed 20th
century Earth, burdened with the fact
that he’s drastically changed history.

The “restored” timeline is none too
rosy, either. Plagued by nightmares,
McCoy’s encounter with the Guardian
has had greater repercussions than
anyone realised. And as Trek history
progresses we gradually fi nd out more.
And what Bones thinks are dreams
might be… memories.

McCoy is one of Trek’s best-loved
characters and – joy of joys – this book
does him nothing but justice in a doublygripping
story. Bones is embellished with
true aplomb and great fondness. If you
read no other Trek book this year (of all
years) you must read this. Here’s hoping
Crucible: Spock and Crucible: Kirk (due
2007) are as good.

John Donnelly

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