The Eugenics War Vol. 2 – The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh

November 6, 2014 Book Reviews 0 ★★★★

The Eugenics War Vol. 2 – The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh four-stars
Author(s): Greg Cox
Series: Star Trek: The Eugenics War #2
Published by Pocket Books on 02/25/2003
Genres: Science Fiction, Media Tie-In
Pages: 464
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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Many unanswered questions remain about the terrible Eugenics Wars that raged on Earth during the 1990s, an apocalyptic conflict that brought civilization to the brink of a new dark age. Centuries later, as Capt. James T. Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise™ are forced to defend a colony of genetically enhanced humans against Klingon aggression and sabotage, Kirk must probe deeper into the past -- and into the glory days of one of the greatest adversaries he has ever faced.

1992. Almost twenty years ago, Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln, undercover operatives for an unknown alien civilization, failed to prevent the Chrysalis Project from creating an entire generation of supermen and women, genetically engineered to be stronger, smarter, and more resourceful than ordinary human beings. Now, at last, the children of Chrysalis have grown to adulthood, and are rapidly demonstrating that superior abilities spawn superior ambition.

Perhaps the most formidable of this new breed of supermen is the charismatic Khan Noonien Singh. Working behind the scenes of history as head of a vast global conspiracy, Khan's power soon stretches across a quarter of the planet, but that is only the beginning of his grand design. Determined to unite humanity beneath the enlightened rule of a genetic elite, Khan dreams of leading his fellow superhumans to complete and total domination of the world.

But several of his gene-engineered brothers and sisters have equally grandiose visions for the future, visions that recognize no one but themselves as supreme ruler. Gary Seven and Roberta watch in horror as the children of Chrysalis wage a covert war against one another, threatening the safety of millions and the future of the entire world!

The Eugenics War 2 follows the events surrounding Khan’s ascent to power and his clashes with Gary Seven and company.  While this book is a pretty good read and gives a lot of backstory for the Star Trek universe it doesn’t quite hold up to the promise laid down in the first part of the series.

The big thing that works for this book is Khan himself and the relationship between Khan and Seven.  Cox does an admirable job in translating the Montobon version of Khan into book form and then working that back into a younger version of the man for the early parts of the book.  The growth of the relationship between Khan and Seven and their estrangement was also really well done.  You can feel the tension between the two men and the pull of their past friendship.  Overall the entire cast of characters, down to some of the secondary and tertiary characters, really works.  They are generally believable, in a sci-fi sort of way, and fit their roles nicely

My one big gripe about this book is that it’s kind of all over the place.  I get that Cox is trying to move through a pretty large chunk of history and touch all the big milestones while getting Khan to the point of getting on board the Botany Bay, and he does manage to do that.  But the execution really lacks focus.  Coupled with the several times there are big jumps in time this lack of focus sometimes pulls the reader out of the story.  That isn’t to say that the book is unreadable, just that the first installment in The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh was good enough and had enough cohesion that it is more notable in its absence in the second book.

The other issue is inevitable.  Because the basic outline of Khan’s history was laid down in the 60s during the original run of the TV show, there are times when this book clashes badly with our actual history.  While it is pretty distraction there is really no good way to get around that without doing some sort of massive retcon.  I don’t hold this against Cox because he was in a no-win type of situation but it still detracted a bit from my enjoyment of it.

Overall this is a good read and continues to give a solid amount of background for the Star Trek universe, and Khan is of course always enjoyable.  While it might not hold up to its predecessor this installment is still completely worth the read.

 

Review by Travis Starnes

four-stars
Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 4

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