Since the first installment of Peter David’s New Frontier series debuted over a decade ago, Captain Mackenzie Calhoun has been the center of the series and stories. Other characters have had their moments and novels to shine, but the New Frontier universe has always and probably will always revolve around Calhoun.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans that the latest installment in the series, "Blind Man’s Bluff," centers firmly on threats to Calhoun in multiple fronts. As Calhoun tries to find a way to neutralize the ever growing threat of the sentient computer system Morgan, little does he know events and characters are transpiring to move him off stage and make him pay for his involvement in the defeat of the Brethern at the end of the last novel.
Of course, Calhoun being Calhoun, he’s more than up to the task, though there are a few times throughout "Bluff" that fans may wonder just how Calhoun will survive the latest threat to his person, his reputation and his career.
And while Calhoun is front and center for this story, a majority of the supporting cast get a moment or two to shine. Long time fans of the series may be disappointed to know that two TV series characters get a lot more page-time than long-time favorites like Shelby. But given how vital they are to the overall arc of the story, the inclusion of Seven of Nine and the Doctor from Voyager are vital to the final chapters of the story. In fact, the inclusion of both characters almost makes David’s entry in the Next Generation Borg mini-series, "Before Dishonor", a bit more palatable since it sets up certain points for this story.
As with other New Frontier novels, the action isn’t just focused to one ship or setting. Events take place on New Thallon, the starship Excaliber, Calhoun’s home world of Xenex and even on Earth at Starfleet Headquarters. But even as sweeping as the landscape (or should I say spacescape) is for the story, David never loses his focus or his readers. You’ll easily be able to keep up with events, developments and the twists and turns of this enjoyable entry in the series.
It all leads to an astounding finish that while it doesn’t end on a life or death cliffhanger, will leave you ready for more. And that may be where the largest tragedy of all comes in. At this time, David isn’t contracted to write any more novels in the New Frontier series with Pocket. Hopefully, that will change based on the sales and clamor for more from fans. David clearly still has stories left to tell in this universe and with these characters and it would be a shame to see what has been the most enjoyable Trek fiction series in recent years be put out to pasture or given to someone else to write the next installments.