Star Trek: Vanguard: Storming Heaven - David Mack Storming Heaven is a reasonably satisfactory conclusion to the “Star Trek: Vanguard” series, and – as usual – it’s largely due to Mack’s skill as a writer and his ability to weave a skein of disparate threads into a solid piece of cloth. Not another Bayeux tapestry, perhaps, but definitely a well stitched T-shirt that won’t fall apart after a few rounds in the washing machine.

I do have two problems with how the series worked out. One is the relegation of Diego Reyes to a passive observer of events. He was the most interesting and dynamic of the characters, and his absence sucked a lot of energy out of the story. I hope Mack revisits Reyes’ career at some point in the future. The second problem was the anticlimactic resolution of the Shedai – They were reduced to impotence and destroyed by the literal flick of a switch, and then only because the Federation lucked onto a piece of alien technology. Deus ex machina-ism at its worst. In Harbinger, a handful of Shedai are enough of a threat to make Reyes invoke General Order 24 and sterilize an entire planet (and every living thing on it, including his ex-wife) in order to stop them; but in Storming Heaven, Ming Xiong traps the entire species in crystalline matrices and blows them up.

Any tension and excitement comes from the Tholian attack on Starbase 47 as they try to stop the Federation from awakening the Shedai and unleashing them on an unsuspecting galaxy. Though they’re undeveloped as yet, the Tholians are an example of a truly alien race – not simply one with bumpy foreheads or funky noses. In the context of their history, their xenophobia and murderous actions throughout the series are perfectly understandable, and could have been played up a bit more to emphasize the tragedy of the situation.

While Mack hasn’t surpassed his achievement in the “Star Trek: Destiny” series, I’d still recommend this one for the dedicated Star Trek fan, and for any SF fan who wants to relax with a well written adventure that doesn’t demand too much from the gray matter.