- Sent to the icebound planet of Nordstral to investigate a mysterious outbreak of insanity, the crew of the USS Enterprise find themselves drawn into another, even deadlier mystery upon their arrival. A team of research scientists has disappeared on Nordtral's frozen wasteland, leaving no clue to their whereabouts, and no hint of their fate.
- While Uhura and Chekov tackle the mystery surrounding the scientists' disappearance, Kirk and McCoy search for the truth behind the outbreak of mental illness. But both teams soon find themselves in danger, as the planet undergoes a series of massive earthquakes and electromagnetic disruptions. Unable to contact the USS Enterprise, both teams must fight for their lives as they try to solve the mystery of Nordstral—before the world tears itself apart!
The Enterprise is dispatched to Nordstral, a planet from which Nordstral Pharmaceuticals are harvesting a plankton-like substance, magnetic biota. A shuttle crew have gone missing and there are also outbreaks of insanity among the staff.
Kirk and McCoy accompany a ship's crew into the ice in an attempt to get to the bottom of the mystery. However, their efforts are hampered by icequakes, caused by the planet's magnetic poles becoming unstable and constantly reversing, and also by the ship's doctor, Muhanti, who has been afflicted by the insanity.
Chekov and Uhura take a security team to try and rescue the missing scientists but the head of Nordstral, Steno, heads out with his own team and native guides, only for a group of the native Kitka led by self-proclaimed shaman Alion to slaughter them as they did the first shuttle crew. The Kitka throw themselves into the water when they are dying to feed krakens and Alion has been doing the same to humans, despite them not containing the nutrients the krakens need, as part of a plan to use their technology to gain power for himself. However, he is eaten by a kraken while trying to kill Chekov.
Spock works out the root cause of the problems: The magnetic biota is a valuable part of the ecosystem and too much of it has been removed, with the resulting magnetic disturbance causing the insanity and the icequakes. The Enterprise is able to clone enough magnetic biota to re-introduce it into the ecosystem and stabilize it.
- Alion • Bracken • Pavel Chekov • Ghyl • Michael Howard • Emilio Jimenez • Maxine Kane • James T. Kirk • Clara Mandeville • Leonard McCoy • Muhanti • Nhym • Nuie • Mark Publicker • Risa (person) • Montgomery Scott • Spock • Vernon Stehle • Nicholai Steno • Hikaru Sulu • Tenzing • Nyota Uhura
- Referenced only
- John Bosco • Dympna • Lemieux • David McCoy • Rory Dall Morison • Raymund Nonnatus • Mark Twain
Starships and vehicles
- Referenced only
- Cousteau • John Lilly • Soroya
Races and cultures
States and organizations
- Chinit Clan • Nordstral Pharmaceuticals • Starfleet
Science and technology
- earthquake • ecosystem • electromagnetism • hair • headache • ice • light • medikit • nutrient • orbital station • transporter • Valazine
Ranks and titles
- captain • chief surgeon • doctor • first officer • scientist • shaman • station physician • technician
- coverall • handshake • kraken • magnetic biota • planet • plankton • ocean • rafting • rank insignia • smock • technology • transporter room • trousers • water • year
- Ice Trap is the first work by the "L.A. Graf" writing team of Julia Ecklar, Karen Rose Cercone and Melissa Crandall, with Ecklar having previously authored TOS novel: The Kobayashi Maru. Melissa Crandall would go on to be the sole author of TOS novel: Shell Game, with Ecklar and Cercone continuing to use the "L.A. Graf" pseudonym for numerous other works.
- Although the cover artwork shows Kirk and McCoy in their uniforms worn during TOS, in the 2260s decade, the novel is decidedly set in the 2270s, with Chekov being a lieutenant in charge of ship's security, the position he assumed in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Other cues to the novel's era are Uhura's narration about being a 12-year Starfleet veteran, and her rank as a lieutenant commander. Although her service years seem to place the book in the mid-2270s, which the Pocket Books Star Trek Fiction Timeline figures as 2274, McCoy's description of wearing a pale green undershirt and the uniforms having jackets would seem to advance the book's placement to the era of the the maroon Starfleet uniforms, which other novels date at 2278. However, such a date would call Uhura's years of service comment (and the Pocket Books Timeline placement) into question.
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