Book Review: “Ship of the Line” (ST:TNG)

My first Star Trek book review for B42. Enjoy!

General Information

Ship of the Line by Diane L. Carey
Ship of the Line

Author: Diane L. Carey
Original Publication Date: May 1999
ISBN: 0-671-00925-7
Length: 320 Pages
Cover Price: $6.50


(From Simon & Schuster) The Starship Enterprise 1701-D has been destroyed, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard finds himself without a command. While waiting for his new ship, Captain Picard has gone with Lieutenant Worf on a delicate diplomatic mission to the Cardassian Empire. As Picard conducts high-level negotiations for the return of Federation prisoners of war, the Starship Enterprise 1701-E is being constructed under the supervision of Captain Morgan Bateson, a veteran of the twenty-third century who spent nearly ninety years in a pocket universe. Commanding this new Enterprise on what was supposed to be a short shakedown cruise, Captain Bateson has an idea of his own. In defiance of Starfleet Command, he will take Starfleet’s newest, strongest starship and strike at the heart of the newly aggressive Klingon Empire. Captain Picard’s negotiations proceed smoothly — until he discovers that a hate-crazed Klingon commander — Captain Bateson’s archenemy from ninety years ago — has taken the Enterprise from Bateson and launched a vicious attack on Cardassia Prime. To save the ship and preserve intergalactic peace, Picard must ally himself with his former Cardassian torturer, rely on the legendary skills of one Montgomery Scott, and draw new strength and inspiration from the memory of James T. Kirk… Ship of the Line reveals an unforgettable lost chapter in the ongoing saga of Star Trek that will thrill readers of every generation.

High Point

The deep naval tradition and reverence for the ships themselves is really an interesting tangent for a Star Trek book.

Low Point

The end of the book is horribly rushed, with several plot points coming to an end with little or no explanation.

The Scores

The bulk of the book is recycled stuff from TNG and TOS episodes as well as brief bits from Generations and First Contact. We’ve seen these before, give us something new! 2 out of 6.

The imagery is nice, especially citing old naval history. 4 out of 6.

The story is weak at best. Our main cast is relegated to the back seat and we’re forced to root for characters we don’t know (or just don’t empathize with). 3 out of 6.

Characterization is also weak. Rehashing old characters instead of breathing life into new, orginal ones. 3 out of 6.

The emotional response is bland. Especially with its weak ending and poor characterization. 2 out of 6.

The editing is alright. Needs more punch. 4 out of 6.

Overall I was very disappointed. I’ve read other works from Carey and they’re all much better. I wished my first Trek book review for Bureau 42 was a sharper work. Maybe next time. 2 out of 6.

Total: 20 out of 42


3 replies on “Book Review: “Ship of the Line” (ST:TNG)”

  1. One of the few I’ve read more than once.
    I actually quite enjoyed the book when it came out (years ago, wow).

    Oddly, though, I think one if its biggest pluses is also its biggest minus. Captain Bateson, as in his cameo on the episode of ST:TNG this story continues (not Trekkie/er enough to remember the name of the episode) and his not-quite-a-cameo in First Contact (voice only during the fleet’s battle with the cube), is played by Kelsey Grammar in the book. That may seem like an odd statement, but Ms. Carey hits a Frazier-like rhythm in his dialog that seems an exact replica of how Mr. Grammar would play the part. It certainly drew me more into the book since I could easily picture him as the main character. On the downside, though, it’s as if she “typecast” him as Morgan Bateson and it felt like she didn’t do enough work to make him unique. She simply took Frazier Crane and made him a klingon-baiting old-timer (in the TNG framework).

    I enjoyed the book in the pulp, easy-to-read sense but it certainly didn’t add anything of substance to Star Trek legend (I would recommend the book “Enterprise” for that, myself). Then again, I’m pretty easy to please. If a Star Trek book feels like it could’ve been a good episode (or, better yet, two-parter) of one of the series, then I’ll enjoy it if only for that.

    I haven’t read a Star Trek book for a few years now, though, and if anyone has any recommendations on good ones to pick up I’d surely ‘preciate it. :)

    • Re: One of the few I’ve read more than once.

      I haven’t read a Star Trek book for a few years now, though, and if anyone has any recommendations on good ones to pick up I’d surely ‘preciate it. :)

      Stay tuned, I’m reading more Trek now so expect to see more reviews from that corner.

    • Re: One of the few I’ve read more than once.

      I haven’t read a Star Trek book for a few years now, though, and if anyone has any recommendations on good ones to pick up I’d surely ‘preciate it. :)

      I haven’t read any of them for years either but the one I do remember as being pretty good at the time is a TNG book called “Between A Rock And A Hard Place”. Riker gets swapped with another First Officer in an exchange program so we have two stories going with a mix of old blood and new faces. The Ent-D replacement Number One is borderline psycho from stress named Stone and there was some good psychological stuff there as I recall. Of course, I was going thru a divorce at the time, maybe I was empathizing a little too much. Also, I’m a sucker for any good Q story / book.

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