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Spock's mother, Amanda Grayson, is dying, and Spock returns to the planet Vulcan, where he and Sarek enjoy a rare moment of rapprochement. But just as his wife's illness grows worse, duty calls Sarek away - once again sowing the seeds of conflict between father and son. Yet soon Sarek and Spock must put aside their differences and work together to foil a far reaching plot to destroy the Federation - a plot that Sarek has seen in the making for nearly his entire career.
The epic story will take the crew of the USS Enterprise to the heart of the Klingon Empire, where Captain Kirk's last surviving relative has become a pawn in a battle to divide the Federation...and conquer it. With Sarek's help, the crew of the Enterprise learns that all is not as it seems. Before they can prevent the Federation's destruction, the crew must see the face of their hidden enemy - an enemy more insidious and more dangerous than any they have faced before...


Anti-alien prejudices, especially towards Vulcans, have been increasing on Earth, flamed by the Keep Earth Human League. Sarek suspects the cause of this is the Freelans, a species who inhabit a planet in the Neutral Zone and have never let anyone see their appearance, being swathed in protective clothing. Sarek suspects they are actually Romulans. He gets confirmation from their records but has to destroy the evidence in order to evade discovery.

Amanda is diagnosed with a terminal illness and Sarek returns home. The Enterprise also arrives bringing Spock, and Sarek takes the opportunity to apprise the crew of his beliefs. He thinks the Romulans have been using Vulcans, born on Romulus to Vulcan captives, to telepathically exacerbate existing hatreds and prejudices, pushing the other species towards war.

Peter Kirk, a Starfleet cadet, becomes caught up in the aftermath of a KEHL riot. He attempts to infiltrate them but is quickly discovered and handed over to Kamarag. The Freelans have also exacerbated his hatred towards Kirk for the death of Kruge and he has been gathering Klingon commanders together to oppose Azetbur's policies.

One of Kamarag's commanders, Keraz, takes control of the Orion colony Kadura, a Federation protectorate. Sarek is requested to negotiate for the Klingons' withdrawal and leaves Amanda's deathbed to comply, angering Spock. He quickly discovers that the moderate Keraz is coming to his senses without the Freelans' continued influence and the negotiation are concluded swiftly...but not before Amanda dies.

The Enterprise sets course for Freelan but Kamarag issues a message asking Kirk to come to him for Peter's release. Kamarag's niece Valdyr has been left in charge of Peter and they fall in love. She opposes Kamarag's treachery so decides to help Peter escape. Kirk, Spock and McCoy also travel to Qo'nos in secret and the five of them escape together, although not before Valydr is injured.

Kamarag prepares to invade Federation space with a small Klingon fleet, hoping it will bring other Klingons to him. The Romulans intend to invade once both powers have damaged each other, but the presence of the Enterprise may limit this. Romulan wing commander Taryn, who previously posed as a Freelan, tries to lure them away. Sarek sees through the ruse and he and Spock beam aboard Taryn's ship. Sarek and Taryn end up fighting a duel and Sarek finally triumphs. Knowing the Freelan project is over, Taryn agrees to help repatriate the Vulcan captives there. Sarek also discovers Taryn is himself a Vulcan, captured as a child when his parents' ship was raided.

The Enterprise prepares to face Kamarag's fleet alone but ends up being aided by both Taryn's ship and Karez's before the arrival of Klingon ships loyal to Azetbur. Having failed, Kamarag commits suicide, while the KEHL leaders are arrested. Taryn helps the Enterprise retrieve the Vulcans who choose to leave but elect to return to Romulus for punishment and execution. Spock and Sarek reach a rapprochement.



Kyle AndersonAzetburMark BeckwithPavel ChekovDarjDarovAmanda GraysonIndunaJayKamaragKargKerazJames T. KirkPeter KirkKorrdMalakLeonard McCoyPardekPoldarRa-ghoratreiiSarekSavels'ByshMontgomery ScottWilliam SmillieSoranSpockSurevTarynLisa TennantT'MalGordon TwelvetreesNyota UhuraValdyrWurrl
Referenced only
BurtonLance CartwrightErika CaymorChangZefram CochraneDevilGorkonMata HariI-ChayaIdotaJolanaKerlaAurelan KirkGeorge Samuel Kirk, Jr.Winona KirkKrugeDavid MarcusNanclusEdgar Allan PoeRosaSakornSeklaSelekSenkars'KaraSolkarStavelStavinHikaru SuluSurakSybokT'LarT'LyraT'PauT'PringT'ReaTreegorValerisWatkinsPatrick WestOtto Whitten

Starships and vehicles

aircarUSS Enterprise-A (Constitution-class) • IKS BaHwil'BobinoIKS HoHwi'Kepler (shuttlecraft) • ChR Shardarr (Romulan bird-of-prey) • IKS TajZephyr (freighter)
Referenced only
the Probe


40 Eridani A/NevasaDeneb IVEarth (San Francisco) • FreelanKaduraKlingon Neutral ZonePatelvaQo'noS (Du'HurghHatlhHurghTengchaH Jav) • Romulan Neutral ZoneT'Rukh/CharisT'RukhemaiVulcan (the ForgePlains of GolShiKahr)
Referenced only
Alpha Centauri ACamp KhitomerDenevaGenesis PlanetKenyaLlangon MountainsLoop NebulaParisPeoriaPraxisRomulusRura Penthe

Races and cultures

DeltanEfrosianFreelanHuman (AfricanLakota) • KlingonOrionRomulanVulcan
Referenced only

States and organizations

Federation Security CouncilFederation Security OfficeFederation Security ServiceKeep Earth Human LeagueKlingon EmpireMasters of GolRomulan EmpireStarfleetStarfleet AcademyStarfleet SecurityUnited Federation of PlanetsVulcan Science Academy

Science and technology

bloodcommunicatordisrupterholosignintercommessage padphaserphoton torpedoReyerson's diseasesensorshieldstricordertri-oxturboliftvolcano

Ranks and titles

admiralambassadorcadetcaptainChancellorCommandant of Starfleet AcademycommandergeneralHigh Master of GollieutenantPraetor

Other references

blood oathBondingbookbootbridgechesscoffeeThe Complete Works of William ShakespeareThe Count of Monte CristodaggerDarlavian crystalThe Diary of Anne FrankespionagegardenHave Spacesuit, Will Travelhonorjournalkahs-wankatraKhitomer ConferenceKobayashi Maru scenariolanka-garlirpalogicThe Merchant of Venicemeteorneck pinchpon farrrocksehlatselonitesolariumstylusTaka mothTasmeentekla woodtelepathytoriatalT'Relan Award for Excellence in TeachingThe True History of VulcanVadiVadia-lyavalitvrekashtweddingWuthering Heightsxenophobia



  • Up to this time, canon character deaths had been off-limits in novels, but editor Kevin Ryan told author A.C. Crispin that this book would be a good place to dramatize the death of Amanda Grayson. Crispin said, "I thought that if anything would get under Spock's logical armor and create another rift (between him and Sarek, as seen in TNG), it would be the circumstances of Amanda's death. So that's how I set it up." (The Official Fan Club Magazine Issue 96: "Profile: A.C. Crispin")
  • Even though the novel is clearly dated as 2293 and the date of Spock's death is given as 2285 as per the Pocket Books timeline, it is stated on several occasions that Kruge died three years ago.



Published Order
Previous novel:
TOS hardcovers Next novel:
The Ashes of Eden
Previous novel:
Shadows on the Sun
TOS unnumbers novels Next novel:
Previous story:
The Eyes of the Beholders
Stories by:
A.C. Crispin
Next story:
"Just Another Little Training Cruise"
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
Best Destiny
(framing story)
Pocket Books Timeline Next adventure:
Mind Meld
Previous adventure:
Best Destiny
Prologue, Chapters 1, 6, 9, 16, 27, 32-36 & Epilogue
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
Mind Meld
Chapters 1-15
The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2293.
The Pocket Books Timeline and Memory Beta Chronology place events from this story in 6 other timeframe(s):
Previous adventure:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2

Chapter 5, 1st and 2nd entries

Next adventure:
Burning Dreams
Previous Pocket adventure:
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Chapter 14, flashback

Previous MB adventure:
Star Trek
Chapter 1 (section 1)
Chapter 5, 3rd entry
Next adventure:
Burning Dreams
Previous adventure:
(Time Travel)
Chapter 6
Next adventure:
Last Full Measure
(Framing Story)
Previous adventure:
Crisis on Vulcan
Chapter 7, 5th entry
Next Pocket adventure:
Best Destiny
(back story)

Next MB adventure:
Star Trek
Chapter 3 (section 4-5)
Previous adventure:
Best Destiny
(back story)
Chapter 12, 1st entry
Next adventure:
The Entropy Effect
(Chapter 1)
Previous adventure:
"Prodigal Father"
Chapter 12, 2nd entry
Next adventure:
"The Azphari Enigma"

External link