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Publisher's Summary

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 crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise journeys to the heart of the Klingon Empire where Captain Kirk's last surviving relative has become a pawn in a battle to divide and conquer the Federation. With Sarek's help, the crew of the Starship Enterprise learns that all is not as it seems. But before they can prevent the Federation's destruction, they must see the face of their hidden enemy, an enemy more insidious and more dangerous than any they have faced before.

©1999 A. C. Crispin (P)2012 Simon & Schuster

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Masterful Characterization

As I write this, I realize it's been nearly 4 months since we lost Leonard Nimoy. This is the first Star Trek novel I've read since then, and having been a fan for decades, it's a hard one to wrestle with. I rarely bother with Trek audiobooks for two reasons. First, most of them are abridged, which bothers me to no end. Second, most of them feel like second-rate fan fiction, rarely expanding upon the mythos in a way that seems credible or even in a way that matters. I used to devour the novels like mad in my teens and 20s, and when they were good, they were really good. But then the novel series as a whole hit a rut, and I stopped cold. I think I've read maybe 3 Trek novels since in the past 20 years. I'm discovering that I may have a need to reinvest in some of those missed novels, and as such Pocket Books and Audible need to deliver some more unabridged content because I can't read paper books as quickly as I used to back then.

A.C. Crispin is one of the few Trek authors that I've always respected. She understood the core characters, she had a grasp for what made Trek tick in a way that felt right (a rarity since the mid-90s), and above all she understood the Vulcans. Her work in this regard always seemed an extension of the foundations laid out by D.C. Fontana (and that legacy continues here). And yet... this novel is one that was published years after I bailed out of that rut. So now, decades later, I find it on Audible, unabridged, and so very timely. The result is a bittersweet reunion of sorts.

In the wake of the Abrams reboot unceremoniously killing Spock's mother Amanda in the equally unceremonious scrapping of Vulcan, this book carries this old fan back to the versions of characters I knew so well... to be confronted with Amanda's death. The effect of how well this is delivered is that you grieve right along with Spock and Sarek. At the same time, you get to know all three of them again in the years before the original series via Amanda's journal entries. That's layer one of the nostalgia factor this plays upon.

Layer two of that nostalgia is that this novel is focused in the wake of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, aka the final voyage of the Enterprise under Kirk's command, or so we were told. This book not only ignores the sentimental conclusion to that film, but it outright defies the illogical conclusion that Enterprise even needed decommissioning so quickly as Kirk and Sarek are pulled into a conspiracy that goes far deeper than the film suggested. What else is nostalgia for, if not to help revisit old friends right where you last left them decades before? While it's a bit distracting at times, it should be noted that the accepted timeline of the films (which you can now find easily with a quick online search) goes right out the window here, suggesting frequently that the events of Trek III take place a mere three years before this book. And that is literally the worst thing I can say about this book.

Layer three of the nostalgia involves reiterating how much time has passed by showing us how much Kirk's nephew has grown, a character not mentioned since his single appearance in the original series. As he's become the target of the conspiracy, designed to bait Kirk, this aspiring Starfleet cadet is the sole survivor of the family line who must ultimately prove his worthiness to the name. So we get the past, the present, and the future in one cohesive story that picks up right where the original generation left off, helping to fill in some of the gaps on the road to The Next Generation. The conspiracy deals not only with the Klingons, but also with the Romulans in a plot that stretches back over 70 years. And because we've been given Trek content since this novel's publication, we can see now how some of this potentially points back to the fallout of events decades before that on the timeline that we watched on Star Trek: Enterprise. That's four major Trek races, three generations of beloved characters, and a plot that fills in some of the unanswered questions in two otherwise fuzzy eras (pre-TOS and post film series), all delivered by a writer who knows how to juggle all of this and make it count.

Aside from the compressed timeline, everything else here feels right. The politics of Star Trek are prominently on display. The racial characterizations and stereotypes are both played upon and swept aside as this uncertain era unfolds. The individual characters are written to spec, with all of their mannerisms and foibles in place. As a bonus, the narrator gives a cadence to his performance of them that stops short of mimicry or an outright spoof, so the effect comes across honestly. The overall result is a book that comes across as both welcome fan service and solid Star Trek in the grand tradition that the powers-that-be seem to have forgotten. For this fan, it's like coming home.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Laurie
  • orlando, FL, United States
  • 05-27-12

UNABRIDGED is always the best versions

Would you listen to Sarek again? Why?

lol, well no because I don't need to re-listen to anything. But definitely loved listening to it!

Which scene was your favorite?

the scenes telling of serek's past and relationship with Amanda.I also liked how they introduced the part of Spock's decision to try and see if bringing volcans and romulans together again. TNG didn't really explain much, and since they reset the series with the new movie, don't think we'll get much explanation of the after math.

Any additional comments?

I don't see the point of having ABRIDGED versions of books. the 14 hrs didn't feel like 14 it felt more like 5 and I was wanting more at the end. This was a good book, almost like comfort and I like the additional characters. I wish they talked more about how the other volcans adapted and the young couple.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel
  • Portland, OR, United States
  • 01-22-13

More Unabridged TOS Please

No mind blowing sci fi apart from that already established in the source material but a well crafted story. I don't know why there aren't more unabridged Trek Titles. Unless this is attributable to Pocket's perceived need to hire Trek actors to read the books. This narrator was wonderful, he subtly impersonates the characters as portrayed by the performers associated with them but more importantly he lends just the right amount of tone and texture to the prose. If more full size Trek books appear I'll certainly spend my credits on them. Well, if they're TOS. The TNG and after stuff is probably better but I just don't get a geek on for it.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Mario
  • United States
  • 07-12-12

Great story

This story takes place after the final movie with the original cast (Star Trek VI : The Undiscovered Country). Well written, and well narrated; made me start looking for other pocket books with no luck. Hope Audible produces more....

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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And they say Vulcans are emotionless? Fools...

Would you listen to Sarek again? Why?

Oh yes. The story...the different look at the dynamic of a father and a son...delightful!

What did you like best about this story?

You get to learn so much about Sarek, that you hither to have no real knowledge of other than he is a prominent Vulcan.

What about Nick Sullivan’s performance did you like?

He gives a depth to the characters that is very real.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Most defenitely!

Any additional comments?

If you're ready to learn more about Vulcans, then listen to or read this book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Awesome UNABRIDGED Production

Does what a good Star Trek novel should do: Sarek takes the reader further than the series would dare to go. It rides the success of "Spock's World" and the reader gets more info about the lives of Spock's father Sarek and mother Amanda. The adventures of Kirk's nephew, Peter were also quite entertaining. Nick Sullivan does a dutiful job as narrator (I'd listen to him again). I hope to see more unabridged Star Trek novels in the future.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Star Trek at it best!

Absolutely love this story! The best of Star Trek adventure pacing with some real human emotions, feelings, and relationships! I hope there are more from AC Crispin and Nick Sullivan (who does a stellar job of both male and female!).

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Timothy
  • Sanford, FL, United States
  • 01-23-13

A lot of fun for Star Trek fans

Definitely worth it if you're a Star Trek fan. It takes place just after Star Trek V (Kirk and Bones escape the Klingon prison planet, the crew show up just to foil the assassination of the Chancellor, etc). It ties much of the political upheaval that must have occurred afterwards into an interesting story. The narrator does a great job of taking you back to the original characters with inflections and pace. Strongly recommend!!! I am stingy with a "5," and this one's a strong B.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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great trek book

listened all the way through and loved it. a look into spock and his pappy. got all the characters you love (kirk scotty mccoy etc).

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Perfect Star Trek Story

This is a great Trek story. It satisfies our curiosity about the Rich legend of our favorite Vulcan/Human first officer, Nicely shows the continuity between the Captain and the nephew we barely met but always wanted to know more about and includes all a favorite Aliens. Best of all though, it's a freaking great story! All the characters are well drawn out and you care about all of them even the bad guys. Loved every minute of it! More please!

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  • Ann
  • 06-03-15

AnnieM

Best Star Trek audio book I've listened to. Reader excellent and the story held my interest and attention till the very end. Would like to have access to more unabridged books.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • MR C.
  • 12-17-14

At last a unabridged Star Trek audio book!!!!

I really enjoyed this audiobook. The narrator did a very good job on this audiobook. He gave each character a distinct and recognisable voice.
I found the story really interesting and it is very well written.
I just hope there will be more unabridged Star Trek audio books on Audible. Hopefully by this narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • andy
  • 03-11-17

new insights into sarek

Where does Sarek rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

as a Star Trek fan listening to familiar charterers and reference to known star trek series and film situations was a real treat . I would rank the book quite high , well read and enjoyable

What did you like best about this story?

the way known star trek scenes and relationships were woven into the story

Any additional comments?

any Trekkie would find the story " fascinating "

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  • F. Varga
  • 08-18-16

One of the best Star Trek novels

The first Star Trek novel I read in the early nineties as a teenager was A. C. Crispin's Time for Yesterday, and it was number one on my list of Star Trek books until I encountered Sarek.

Don't let the title mislead you into thinking this is some spin-off. This book is as much a great Kirk-Spock-McCoy adventure as any other Star Trek story, even though the conflict centers around Spock's father, and we get to learn a lot of interesting details about his relationship with his son Spock and wife Amanda.

The Narrator does an excellent job with the voices, you can see every character with your mind's eye.

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  • dave
  • 08-24-17

Sarek

Read the paperback years ago and enjoyed it.
This is an excellently narrated story. Nick Sullivan does an impressive job voicing the actors of the main characters whom we've known and loved for years. If the Scottish accent wasn't 100% then neither was Jimmy Doohan's but 9.5/10 for the attempt. Sarek & Spock plus McCoy were very well done.
I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed AC Crispin's stories. She was a fine author particularly of Star Trek stories. Never did not like one of hers.
Highly recommended