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Publisher's Summary

An all-original novel based upon the explosive new series on CBS All Access!

Aboard the Starship Shenzhou, Lieutenant Michael Burnham, a human woman raised and educated among Vulcans, is promoted to acting first officer. But if she wants to keep the job, she must prove to Captain Philippa Georgiou that she deserves to have it.

She gets her chance when the Shenzhou must protect a Federation colony that is under attack by an ancient alien vessel that has surfaced from the deepest fathoms of the planet's dark, uncharted sea.

As the menace from this mysterious vessel grows stronger, Starfleet declares the colony expendable in the name of halting the threat. To save thousands of innocent lives, Burnham must infiltrate the alien ship. But to do so, she needs to face the truth of her troubled past, and seek the aid of a man she has tried to avoid her entire life - until now.

©2017 David Mack (P)2017 Simon and Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A new chapter for Trek books

I like that there is a bit more variety in modern Trek audiobooks now. Overall, the novel does a good job at exploring more of the backstory of the characters leading up to the new series. There's no real spoilers here, but some of the material are covered in the episodes that have been released so far. David Mack has done a good job as always and this novel gives us insight into the characters and how the show fits into the overall Canon.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Could Have Been Great

This book gives some great back-story for the characters in Star Trek: Discovery, but could have benefitted from some prodigious editing. The beginning and end are fast paced and interesting, but the book really bogs down in the middle. The author also seems to forget that we know that the characters in mortal danger cannot die, since this is a prequel, and spends too much time focused on their peril. There is also a sub-plot involving the planetary governor that could have been totally excised without harming the story at all. The performance by Susan Eisenberg is adequate, but she brings no life to the characters, unlike most other readers I've heard. She simply reads the book. If this were either not a Star Trek story, or at the least not a prequel, it would have held up better, but as it is if you are a fan of Discovery, and want to know more about Burnham, I recommend this. If not, skip it.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good book

Good book. Well written. Explains a decent amount of the apparent retcons and contradictions. Also gives a reasonable amount of character background for the show.

It lacks the new Star Wars production quality as an audio book. The book is clearly read in a pleasant tone and easy to understand. But it’s just a person reading the book. Very little goes into interpreting the emotion and quality of each character.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome Character Background Info!

After watching the first two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery I really wanted to have more information on the lead character Michael Burnham. This book exceeded all expectations on offering just that.

Now I am looking forward to the third episode of Star Trek: Discovery with a much better understanding of who Michael Burnham is. Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that you get a lot more character understanding the rest of the Walker Class starship crew commanded by Captain Philippa Georgiou as well. In addition, another Federation starship joins in on this mission, which adds a nice depth of additional characters, some you may be already pretty intimate with if you have watched The Original Series or read/listened to any of the TOS novels.

I thought the book had lots of character depth, great pacing and a wonderful action packed sci fi story.

As for the audio version: I enjoyed listening to Susan Eiseberg perform this novel. The first chapter I had to adjust to her voice (the more recent Trek books have been done by a different male pretty consistently) and after that, I was sold. She did a lovely job with her performance of this lovely Trek story.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Writing solid, but details could be better

As a long time trek fan I have a high standard for details. There are a few times in the story where procedural items left me feeling a bit let down. Overall the dialog is exceptional and the story is strong. These two positives compensated for any loose ends.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great way to understand Discovery

Released at the same time as the new series "Star Trek: Discovery", this novel takes place a year before the events in the pilot episode and after Captain Pike of the USS Enterprise has visited Talos IV. If you're an Original Series fan you'll better understand where "Discovery" falls in the Star Trek timeline with this reference to Talos IV. We have the Enterprise and Pike in this novel which means, of course, we have Science Office Mr. Spock. The relationship between Michael Burnham (the female heroine In Discover--don't assume names are gender specific) and Spock will make every minute you spend reading this book utterly satisfying. When reading a book based on an existing series I usually assume the known ships we encounter look as they do on the series. With the amazing set and special effects now available on ST:D in 2017 that were not available on ST:TOS in 1966 I suggest picturing the JJ Abrams version of the Enterprise.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Feels like it was read by a Vulcan

I couldn't believe the lack of emotion in the narration. Intense interactions felt blown over and it seemed like the narrator didn't even care to put anything into it.

The story itself was OK, but not great. It definitely didn't feel Star Trek. More a generic sci-fi with a Trek skin.

I haven't seen Discovery nor do I have an opinion on the show, but the book is definitely a miss.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Far far better plot wise than I expected. <br />

Definitely concentrated on plot development and intrique instead of the usual mindless homage to all things Trek. Great development of secondary characters plotlines. I was VERY pleasantly surprised. Ohhhh...and great narration to.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

passable<br />

if you are itching for more Discovery Era Star Trek then this book will give it to you.
it wasn't particularly good, but it definitely wasn't bad.
I do think the story could have been better outside the Trek universe and restrictions.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Had to force my way through it

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The story was not nearly as engaging as I had hoped. Could be an age factor. I grew up on sci fi and fantasy, but this just couldn't hold my interest. I listened to half of it on a trip, and it was a while before I forced myself to finish it during commutes to/from work.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The narrator really had a tough time it seemed with the male voices. This is the first audio book I've listened to where I am familiar with the characters and actors' voices outside of the book itself. I found her reading of Spock and other male voices to be a distraction. Had to imaging the voices of the actors whenever she did them. I probably would not have cared so much if I had no predisposition to how the voices should sound.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel
  • 10-08-17

essential prequel to the new series

Desperate Hours main story arc is a traditional Trek story that would fit in to any of the series that have come before. It's an enjoyable alien story which also fills out some interesting background in to Starfleet and the Federation at the time of Discovery.

However the main reason to read this book is for the backstory it unlocks for Burnham and Saru. This helps us to understand the motivations of the characters on screen in a way that the main show will never have time to explore.

Essential reading/listening for anyone who is enjoying Star Trek Discovery. Well done David Mack.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-11-17

3 minute story told in forever...

I like star trek but this was tedious.
it went on and on and on, oh and on and on well I'm sure you get the general idea.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Ck Trezise
  • 09-18-18

Dissatisfied and disappointed

This was a difficult book for me to listen too. In part to the very stoic reading of the narrator but mostly down to the story. This is the first David Mack story I've listened to and it will likely be my last. I feel that he did not capture the true essence of the characters as depicted by the television series. There was too much questioning and second guessing of authority on both ships. Pike and Georgiou came across as petulant children rather than the strong characters shown in TV. The rest of the cast seemed to whinge and moan. I did not feel the truth of characters like Burnham, Spock or Saru. I also felt like I was having a lot of things explained in a condescending manner, usually through the questioning of authority alluded to earlier. If this had been the first mission and everyone was green I could perhaps forgive it but that wasn't the case. Characters should have been allowed to do their jobs without having to show the two captains their working out, it made it feel as if neither captain trusted their crew. Then the seemingly endless puzzles and hoops and the cheat on the end puzzle, I felt that it should have been done without the psychic element. Their relationship, Spock and Burnham, also did not seem genuine and I really struggled to believe it. The timed trap also seemed like the writer was trying too hard. The really good plot element of a colony breaking away from the Federation and the politics and conflict there would have been excellent and probably would stand up on its own merit but sadly it just seemed like the author forgot about them and again I felt cheated with their ending.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • David Gould
  • 11-01-17

Not a bad first book for the serise

This book is set one year ahead of the first episode. it trys to link TOS to DISCOVERY. however the books seems to of been written without episode 6 in mind. it's bit jaring on that one point as a couple of issues are mentioned that arnt addressed in the same way. This aside the story is good and would appear to place DISCOVERY in the original timeline rather than the ABRAMAVERSRE.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Project blue
  • 09-29-17

Great first novel of the series.

This ties Discovery to Star Trek Tos well leaving little doubt that this is Trek in its prime timeline.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael Clark
  • 09-26-18

Discovery comes to life in print.

A really enjoyable story by David Mack. The balance between character development and action is well written.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • dot_stockport
  • 04-15-18

predictable response to an impossible problem

How to connect discovery to the original series? You can't adequately. The fast and loose approach to tech and other features like how mind melds work mean that the twain should never meet. But David Mack has been tasked to do it and he sorta did. The story is rather uninteresting... and the following could be considered a spoiler if there were much to spoil....can Spock and Burnham solve puzzles to save the day... can you guess? can you? What's that? You can guess? Yeah me too.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • R. Maines
  • 02-16-18

A good start

Enjoyed it, it felt like an extended episode of the series. Nothing fantastic but the plot rattles along.


Audio narration was good

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Wakeman
  • 01-27-18

Might have been a better pilot episode!

Would you listen to Star Trek: Discovery: Desperate Hours again? Why?

Probably, just to refresh a few points.

What about Susan Eisenberg’s performance did you like?

It was right in tone and execution for the story.

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

No.

Any additional comments?

This book provides some much needed background for the series. In particular, the relationship between Sarek, Spock & Michael Burnham. It is at least as good as the pilot episode and could have served as such.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ho-Man Yau
  • 12-28-17

nice story.

I always enjoyed star trek no matter which version it is.
this is no exception.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-02-17

Good story but

This was a good story in its own right. But the attempt to link discovery to cannon was pretty weak.

The narrator conveyed little emotion and was a bit bland.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • 11-04-17

A neat episode with basic narration

This is a mostly satisfying episode from early in the unseen seven-year mission of the Shenzhou, that ties in effectively with the Enterprise crew from the era of 'The Cage.' The plot is obviously an excuse for Spock and Burnham to interact, in a way that they obviously couldn't on a live-action TV show, but their interactions are entertaining and insightful enough, and gave an early hint as to the directions the Discovery series would eventually go.
Burnham's interactions with the Shenzhou crew display perhaps a surprising amount of tension even at this early stage of her story (which I suspect has more to do with reproducing the tone of the series than actually attempting to paint a longer arc for her character). Specifically, her relationship with Saru borders uncomfortably on bullying, and her propensity for insubordination to Captain Georgiou is clearly signposted.
The weaker parts of the story IMO are the depictions of Vulcan reasoning. Too often I feel that Vulcans are written sort of lazily, as just guys who say buzzwords like "logical" and "rational" a lot, but whose reasoning is not actually all that sophisticated, valid, or sound (I think it would help if writers actually had a background in philosophy, but maybe this is asking too much). This is pretty much the case here, as a reader who stops to think for a second about the arguments Spock and Burnham make to each other would find it pretty easy to poke holes in them, particularly if the reader knows anything about deductive fallacies.
As regards narration, Eisenberg doesn't do any different voices for the characters (the closest she gets is one accent for one of the walk-on Starfleet officers), so one can't really say that she captures the essence of any of the colourful Trek characters in the story, though her narration is clear enough. One unforgivable error that yanked me right out of the story was when she said "casual relationship" instead of "causal relationship," the difference being only two swapped letters, but a VERY different meaning! I'm not sure if that error was original to the text, or if it arose from her misreading, but it was glaring nonetheless.
In summation, if you are interested in seeing more of the seven years that Discovery gave us only a glimpse of, and furthermore seeing some of the rougher edges between the canon of The Original Series and Discovery smoothed over somewhat, then this will probably satisfy. I'd recommend getting it in print over audio if you can, so that you can hear the voices of Leonard Nimoy, Majel Barrett, Michelle Yeoh, and Doug Jones, etc. in your head, instead of merely one narrator doing one voice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 03-23-18

A Good Story, But....

A good story with a good plot, unfortunately spoiled by inconsistencies, flaws and ridiculous attempts to ‘explain away’ the differences between Discovery’s starships and the long established canon.

I also disliked the portrayal of Saru in this book, I find his on screen character to be vastly better and am disappointed I didnt get to experience it here.

If your a hard core Trekkie like me its worth the listen, but don’t say you weren’t warned.