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Is the Enterprise doomed at last?


From the book jacket
When Captain Kirk and his crew are ordered to Alnath II to challenge the deadliest Klingon starship Terror, they're ready for anything - or so they think.
But the defenseless Vulcan crew of a Federation science ship has been wiped out. The remaining member of the Alnath II mission have discovered a fabulous ancient city, but their report doesn't make sense. The Klingon battlecruiser has the Enterprise in its sights, and ready to destroy it.
But Captain Kirk can't seem to make decisions. Spock has started to throw temper tantrums. And Chekov has disobeyed vital orders.
The crew of the Enterprise are losing their minds... one by one... all victims of...
The Klingon Gambit.


James T. Kirk.

The Enterprise is sent to Alnath II, where they find the entire crew of the Vulcan starship T'Pau dead with no apparent cause. An Andorian archaeology team led by Doctor Threllvon-da is still on the surface unharmed. The Klingon warship Terror is in the area but no evidence can be found they were responsible for the Vulcans' deaths.

Threllvon-da is convinced Alnath II once held an advanced civilization but the only artificial structure on the surface is a single pyramid, leaving him to believe there is an underground city there. The Klingons turn out to be after Alnath II for its topaline reserves but their attempt to mine it inadvertently breaks through into the city, even though their scans didn't detect it.

Meanwhile, the Enterprise crew start acting strangely, with some having character traits exaggerated, such as McCoy's mistrust of machines and Scotty's obsession with improving his engines, while others act on previously buried desires and Spock begins alternating between an emotional state and one obsessed with logic. Chekov nearly fires on the Terror when a message indicates the Klingons are planning to attack but the message comes from Kislath, the ship's first officer, who is trying to take command. The ship's captain, Kalan, has already executed several crewmembers for mutiny.

Kislath strands Kalan on the surface and has the Terror attack the Enterprise. Kirk refuses to return fire, instead challenging Kislath to personal combat on the surface. Seeing Kislath about to ambush him, he tricks him and Kalan into fighting each other before stunning Kislath just as he shoots Kalan. Kalan's injuries are treated and Kirk exchanges the captive Kislath for a crystal taken from the pyramid. Kalan agrees to allow the archeological team to continue unmolested in exchange for the mining rights.

The crystal turns out to be the keystone of the ancient civilization: There is no other trace of them because the crystal could make their every desire come true. Since the newcomers lacked the discipline to wish for material things, it has been trying to make their deepest desires come true, such as the Klingons' desire to command their ship and Spock's conflicted desire to be either fully human or fully Vulcan. The T'Pau crew "died" because the crystal granted their wish to evolve to a non-corporeal state. Kirk seemed unaffected because what he desired most was a peaceful solution to the Klingon problem. The city turns out to be just another of the crystal's creations, responding to Threllvon-da's desire to find one.

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  • According to Voyages of Imagination by Jeff Ayers, in his interview with Robert Vardeman, this was the first Star Trek novel purchased by Simon & Schuster, but because of contractual obligations between Paramount and Bantam Books (which only allowed for S&S to print novelizations and not all-new stories), and due to Vonda McIntyre having success with other books, The Klingon Gambit was published 3rd by Simon & Schuster.



Candra AvittsChristine ChapelPavel ChekovGordonKalanJames T. KirkKislathKollodenJohn KyleJabilo M'BengaHeather McConelLeonard McCoyPattenMontgomery ScottSpockSullienHikaru SuluThoronThrellvon-daNyota Uhura
Referenced only

Starships and vehicles

USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • IKS Terror (Klingon D7-class dreadnought) • T'Pau (Vulcan science vessel)
Federation-class dreadnought
USS DominionUSS Konkordium


Planetary and shipboard locales

bridgeGeorgiaHall of Honor

Outposts and stations

Starbase 16

Planets and planetoids

Alnath IIArgelius IIDelta Canaris IVEarthJupiterQo'noSRhylSpica IXTalir

Stars and star systems

AlnathArgeliusDelta CanarisSol systemSpicaVega

Races and cultures

AndorianHuman (Bantu) • KlingonVulcan

States and organizations

Interstellar Studies CommissionKlingon Defense ForceKlingon EmpireStarfleetUnited Federation of Planets

Other references

aliphatic compoundAlnathian jewelAlnathian pyramidAmygdalaanabolic protoplaserautochefautosurgeonbenjisidrineBoard of InquiryCanfield-type piezoelectric materialCaptain's TourChief of DistillingClass Qcommand chaircordrazinecryogenic vaultDenebian liqueurendorphin stimulatorflame lillieshaggishologramholopixjasminelorksphoton torpedoPlanetary Researchplastiskinrodiniumroulette wheelStanding Order Onestrelaminetopalineultrasonic brush




published order
Previous novel:
The Entropy Effect
TOS numbered novels Next novel:
The Covenant of the Crown
Previous novel:
The Entropy Effect
TOS novels Next novel:
The Covenant of the Crown
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
By Any Other Name
Pocket Next Adventure:
Mutiny on the Enterprise
Previous Adventure:
By Any Other Name
Voyages of the
USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)
(2264 to 2270)
Next Adventure:
Mutiny on the Enterprise

German : Das Klingon-Gambit, translated by Hans Maeter

External links