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Threatened by a deadly famine, the Klingon Empire is on the verge of igniting a mad interplanetary war of conquest.
When an earthquake destroys a remote Federation research station, Jean Czerny, agricultural scientist, succumbs to amnesia. Stranded on enemy borders, she is imprisoned by Kang, the commander of a Klingon battleship.
Now Kirk must play a dangerous game of mind strategy to prevent a savage attack on the Federation!


The Federation outpost on Sherman's planet is devastated by an earthquake. A Klingon ship commanded by Kang picks up a survivor, Jean Czerny. However, when Kang discovers she has developed a new strain of quadrotriticale, Kang invokes an obscure Klingon tradition whereby, having saved her life, she and her property belong to him and refuses to hand her over to the Enterprise.

Czerny refuses to co-operate until Kang threatens the life of Aernath, a Klingon she has befriended. On learning that Klingons are beset by famine, Czerny willingly helps to counter it. In order to give her a measure of protection, Kang makes her his consort: Mara left him on returning from the Enterprise with pro-Federation sympathies.

The Klingons establish an outpost on Sherman's planet on the grounds the Federation mission failed and unsuccessfully attempt to provoke a Federation attack. The Enterprise also rescues Reena Tertullian, a Romulan, crash survivor, who in a panic fires a missile at the ship. Knowing that if she co-operates with him she will be executed, the crew make it look as though she was tortured into defusing it. Reena forms a relationship with Chekov but has to return to her own people.

Aernath tricks Kang's crew and takes Czerny to Mara, who is attempting to arrange a peace between the Federation and the Klingons. She has secretly born Kang's son, Aethelnor, and intends for Czerny and Aernath to take him into Federation space so Kang will have to follow and negotiate with Kirk. Spock gets Aernath and Aethelnor off the planet with help from Cyrano Jones but Czerny is captured and left behind.

Kang eventually meets Kirk with Mara and Czerny at his side and a number of settlements are reached to prevent a war. It is agreed that the Federation and the Klingons will both establish presences on Sherman's planet, with Czerny, Aernath and Aethelnor remaining there to work on the quadrotriticale strain.

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AernathAethelnorAhmadAldenBanerjeePavel ChekovJean CzernyDeCastroEknaarEkthornBarry GiottoBill HadleyRusty JohnsonCyrano JonesJonesKangJames T. KirkMaevlyninLeonard McCoyKevin RileySandersMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru SuluKeiko TamuraReena TertullianTiraxNyota UhuraWillinck
Referenced only
DurgathKang's fatherKolothMara

Starships and vehicles

IKS DevisorUSS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • IKS KahlessIKS Klolode II (battleship)
Referenced only
USS Hood (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • USS Lexington (Constitution-class heavy cruiser)


Stations and outposts

Sherman's Planet Federation agricultural stationStarbase 10

Shipboard areas

USS Enterprise
bridgeconference roomcorridorturbolift
IKS Klolode II
bridgelaboratoryquarters (Kang's, Czerny's) • sick bay

Planets and planetoids

PeneliSherman's PlanetTahrn
Referenced only
Aldebaran ColonyTarsus IV

Stellar regions

the galaxy

Races and cultures


States and organizations

Federation (Starfleet) • Klingon Empire (Klingon Defense Force)

Technology and weapons

agonizerdrivaulthypospraysodium lampstarshipturboliftwarp drive

Substances and energies





grain (quadrotriticale)



Ranks and titles

captaincommandercommanding officercommunications officerdoctorensignfirst officerlieutenantlieutenant commandersecurity chiefsecurityyeoman

Food and drink

ration barglory fruit



Other references

agricultureamnesiaanatomychessdiseasedrinkdrugs and treatmentsearthquakeempireenergyfoodgamegalaxygovernmentlaboratorylanguagelifeformmatternation-stateorbitoutpostplanetraces and culturesrankred alertreligionsciencespacestarstar systemstardatestim shottechnologytitleuniverseyellow alertwarweapon



Published Order
Previous novel:
Dwellers in the Crucible
TOS numbered novels Next novel:
Previous story:
earliest work
Stories by:
Majliss Larson
Next story:
most recent work
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
The Tears of the Singers
Pocket Books Timeline Next adventure:
"The Girl Who Controlled Gene Kelly's Feet"
Strange New Worlds I
Previous adventure:
From the Depths
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
"The Girl Who Controlled Gene Kelly's Feet"
Strange New Worlds I

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