Sirella, I have survived countless battles, both in space and on alien worlds. I was held prisoner by the Dominion for two years and forced to fight Jem’Hadar in order that they could learn how to kill Klingons. And now I am facing vicious attacks from my mad son and his mad mother. Despite all these things, nothing in the universe inspires as much dread in me as the words ‘We need to talk, my husband’.
The Klingon Empire is now in the hands of Morjod. But the fate of the Empire is far from settled-still free from his control is the rightful chancellor, Martok, as well as a number of select allies-Worf and his son, Alexander; Martok’s wife Sirella and his gin’tak, Darok; the clone of the ancient emperor, Kahless; the Ferengi Pharh; and a recent recruit, Ezri Dax of Deep Space Nine (one of the more sane members of this assemblage). As one might imagine, though, the fight for the future of the Klingon Empire is coming up. But first, everyone needs a little background-and that kicks off the second part of The Left Hand of Destiny.
The book opens with a general meeting with the protagonists-a shock, really, when one remembers that Klingons aren’t all much for meetings-especially if they are the warriors and starship captains. But it proves to be important, as it outlines just what Gothmara has been up to, and just how Martok came to know her-and also get some explanation as to how she’s managed to bamboozle just about every Klingon she’s come across (and it’s always interesting to see that there are some lines that Klingons won’t cross as a general rule for victory), as well as the rather gruesome origins of the Hur’q. That explanation points to a rather obvious target for a strike against Morjod and Gothmarra; and Worf has a secondary plan to add to it, which falls into his own idea that Martok is-very likely-the leader of destiny to lead the Klingons into a new age. But no plan survives contact, and this plan hasn’t even gotten off the ground before disaster strikes. And as Martok demonstrated in the last book, he’s perfectly willing to do some things on his own.
A minor mystery is also unveiled involving Martok’s father; Kahless has discovered in his travels that Martok’s father was given a mysterious title-a title whose origins become a bit more clear in a vision. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this mystery crops up again later on in the book. And it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that any victory does not come without cost-and in more than one manner. The authors certainly aren’t shying away from upping the ante on Martok at every turn.
Hertzler and Lang continue to do a wonderful job with the characters. Ezri is still dealing with a set of mixed emotions about the Klingons-a part of her (Curzon and Jadzia) feeling obligated to help them in any way possible, and the other part (Ezri herself) feeling that the Empire has been heading in this kind of direction for some time. Worf demonstrates a fine sense of what the Klingons need right now-moreso than almost anyone-and knows that Martok is the best man to lead the Klingons, and that he also needs a potent symbol to aid him. Kahless…well, if I’m comparing this to the Arthurian model, he’d almost have to be Merlin to Martok’s Arthur. Pharh remains one of the rare examples of common sense-well, rare among Klingons, anyway; he’s also another example of an atypical Ferengi. There’s also a set of characters that I have mixed feelings about; it makes sense that this grouping might exist where they are found, but it seems so…un-Klingon like. In some ways, though, that’s the point.
On the whole, I found the book to be a satisfying conclusion to the story begun in the last book; the Klingons may-or-may not be heading towards a new era, but it isn’t because of any lack of quality in The Left Hand of Destiny.