Lost! The U.S.S. Galen – part of the Full Circle fleet that also includes Voyager, Vesta, and Demeter – has vanished in the vast expanse of the Delta Quadrant, with all hands on board, including Lieutenant Harry Kim, missing in action. But even as the crew of the Full Circle fleet works to determine the fate of the Galen, a struggle for survival begins at the far edge of the galaxy. New revelations about Species 001 – the race that built the biodomes that first drew the fleet to investigate planet DK-1116 – force Admiral Kathryn Janeway to risk everything to learn the truth…
It’s been two-and-a-half years since a Voyager novel last hit the shelves (March 2018), and Kirsten Beyer has returned for her tenth and possibly final Voyager novel in the show’s 25th Anniversary year. To Lose the Earth picks up right where Architects of Infinity left off, in late 2382. (If you’ve been following the other “shared continuity” Trek novels*, you’ll know that another leg of the story has reached 2387.) So the first question that comes to mind might be: “Sue, if I haven’t kept up with these novels – or if I’ve forgotten some of what happened – will I be totally lost?” Well, if there’s one thing Star Trek has always been good at, it’s exposition. Though you might have some additional knowledge or fine details if you have a fresh memory of all of the exploits of the Full Circle Fleet, Beyer does a great job filling you in on what you need to know to follow this story. There might be some new crew to meet and some new ships to explore, but plenty of our old favorites are still around. And if you really want to brush up on anything, there’s always Memory Beta.
For the last year, Admiral Kathryn Janeway has been commanding the Full Circle Fleet, tasked with further exploring the Delta Quadrant, re-establishing contact with several of the species Voyager had previously encountered, and investigating what – if any – Borg presence remains after the events of the “Destiny” trilogy. In that time, the Fleet has had many an adventure, encountering threats old and new, and has suffered a great many losses, but also made a great many discoveries. In Architects of Infinity, the Fleet investigates a planet creatively named DK-1116, on which it appears over 190 species performed scientific experiments some time long ago. Though there are many questions, chief among them is which species was the first to arrive and set all this up, referred to as Species 001. While investigating, the away teams encounter a strange substance, one that seems to consume one of their shuttles… and shortly thereafter, a strange ship approaches, which changes shape on approach before it “attacks” and the Galen disappears…
And that’s where we pick up To Lose the Earth – with four main mysteries right off the bat: The identity of Species 001, the strange substance on the planet, the identity of the aliens with the morphing ships, and the location of the Galen (which happens to have Harry Kim, Reg Barclay, and The Doctor on board). Plus, there are a couple of things on the back-burner… like the Krenim. And again, in true Star Trek fashion, as our crews learn more about these mysteries, any solutions only become more complicated. The crew of the Galen finds themselves in dire straights, and struggles to find a way to repair the ship, make contact with the rest of the Fleet, and even just stay alive; Janeway and Voyager are torn between a search and rescue operation for Galen and the continued exploration and investigation of DK-1116; and Vesta’s captain, Commander Regina Farkas, has to weigh her duty to her commanding officer against a “request” from the director of the Department of Temporal Investigations.
Throughout To Lose The Earth, Beyer continues to explore themes of sacrifice, duty, loyalty, and consent (particularly in regards to Kriosian culture, first seen in TNG‘s “The Perfect Mate) that have been present in the earlier novels featuring these crews; but the latest installment has an added focus on parenthood, mostly from the perspective of Harry Kim, as he records logs address to his weeks-old daughter throughout this ordeal. Similar to when the show was airing, the relative isolation of our characters in the Delta Quadrant, away from the intertwined stories in the TNG/DS9/Titan/etc novels, provides the opportunity to spend a little more time with these characters, their actions and reactions, their hopes and fears – and how we as an audience can relate.
By the end of these 368 pages (no spoilers), our faves will see quite a few changes – in themselves, in each other, in their relationships, and even in their mission. And with no further Voyager novels currently on the docket, I have to say that if this is where the story ends for Janeway and friends in the novel-verse, it’s an ending that I’d be happy with.
*Author’s note: Following the post-Nemesis “shared continuity” Star Trek novels can be… daunting. Here’s my absolute favorite reading order guide, complete with color-coding, in case you want to find an entry point, or follow the stories of just a few of your favorite crews.
To Lose the Earth will be published on October 12, 2020 with an MSRP of $16.00 US. It is available in large format paperback online, or at your local retailer. Ebook and audiobook formats are also available.