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Ael t' Rlailiiu is a noble and dangerous Romulan Commander But when the Romulans kidnap Vulcans to genetically harness their mind power Ael decides on treason Captain Kirk her old enemy joins her in a secret pact to destroy the research laboratory and free the captive Vulcans When the Romulans discover their plan the Neutral Zone seethes with schemes and counter schemes sabotage and war


10 thoughts on “My Enemy My Ally

  1. says:

    This was mildly entertaining mehok but not great I do enjoy Star Trek especially the original TV show but this just seemed to drag It took about getting halfway through it before it became interesting to me The basic plot is that a rogue Romulan commander Ael discovers that the Romulan Star Empire is kidknapping Vulcans in an effort to harness and weaponize their mind melding mind reading capabilities Disillusioned and disgusted by such a dishonorable act she and her crew defect to the Federation and persuade Kirk and his task force to cross the Neutral Zone and destroy the Romulans' lab and rescue the captive VulcansYou would think something like that would be a real page turner and you'd be wrong There's a couple things that I think could have made this book For one thing there's no central bad guy villain the Romulans seems to be a faceless entity and this takes the edge off the plot For another I think it misses the opportunity to really introduce us to the mysterious society of the Romulans and contrast it with that of the Vulcans Both originally were once one people yet millenia before the Vulcans yet split apart in what was known as the Sundering The Vulcan's chose to follow the peaceful logical teachings of Surak and one of Surak's students S'Task became heretical and led a faction arguing that ways of passion conuest and duty with honor were the best way of survival for the species Expelled from Vulcan these mavericks would become the founders of what would become the Romulan Star Empire Given the common ancestry language and biology between the two peoples yet their radically different philosophies histories and culture it would have been fascinating seeing the two peoples poles apart on logic and emotion interact and judge how each one sees the other; but this book misses the opportunity to do thatAnother annoying thing about this book is that apparently in Romulan society at least in this book girls rule boys drool Romulan females seem to be the dominant clever innovative ones while the males seem to be slow on the uptake passive or easily fooled I don't know why this was done this way maybe it was part of an effort back when this book was written in hopes of broadening the Star Trek fan base beyond its likely overwhelmingly male demographic At any rate it just seemed contrived I think this book may appeal to hardcore Trekkies but it's not great in my opinion


  2. says:

    This book is one of my favorite rereads I can't believe I've never reviewed it Duane's Trek novels come from a parallel universe where Trek and its classic characters are better than they actually were in a way truer to canon than canon pure Roddenberry There's a profound joy to her work aliens are wonderful exploration is amazing everyone has the potential to become their best self My Enemy My Ally came from an era of Trek novels when really good writers could be tasked with expanding the universe established in the original series it's of a piece with John M Ford's The Final Reflection a road not taken in fleshing out the Klingons Duane here gives us a rich Romulan culture which fits much better with what we saw in TOS than the canon of TNG and later ever did a people reserved but intensely passionate a culture in decay slipping from military honor to bureaucratic expediency It's also an exploration of a slightly whimsical slightly intellectual Kirk by contrasting him with a Romulan woman who's perfect foil his eual and with no sexual tension between them One of the strengths of the book is how the reader well me could fall madly in love with the Romulan Commander while still believing that she irritated and disturbed the living hell out of Kirk There's humor horror space combat ground combat psychology culture superb characterization and a turning the cardboard and blinking lights TOS into a real fleshed universe I love this book


  3. says:

    Dad was right it was really fun Diane Duane just gets it she gets everything about what made Star Trek great It was exciting touching and laugh out loud funny at all of the right times The old characters were spot on without feeling retread and the new characters were very interesting I went into this reading I'm pretty sure I read it at least 20 years ago but I can't remember I may be remembering Ensign Rock from other books as a favor to Dad but he was right and I was wrong and now it will be recorded for posterity And now thanks to Goodreads and the new series feature we've both discovered that Duane wrote additional books in the Rihannsu saga so we're both looking forward to that


  4. says:

    A reread I'd been meaning to pick it up for a while for one and reading a history of science fiction essay for Patreon that was really negative about tie in novels was the impetus I needed If you like Star Trek this is a good Star Trek novel and if you like Diane Duane's work this is also a good Diane Duane novel featuring many of the themes in her work including her central one of all different sorts of people the Federation here is far far less human centric than on television with a variety of non humanoid aliens that would make a special effects budget weep finding their common humanity and fighting evil in this case a Romulan Commander compelled by her conscience to seek out her enemies in the Federation to stop a terrible plot by the worst of her own people to gain Vulcan like psychic powers and weaponize them for warfare conuering worlds by overwhelming force rather than honorable combatDuane fleshes out the Romulans from cardboard faux Romans into a fully realized and internally consistent alien culture that we see from the inside with Romulan Commander Ael's POV one that does draw on Roman history but isn't strictly bound to it and gives them their own conlang though a less fully fleshed out one than Klingon and naming conventions as well Ael is positioned not as a love interest for Kirk but as a peer foil eual and eventually something of a friend to him and there are numerous other Romulan human and alien female characters in major and minor roles as wellThere are numerous touches that make this feel like a modern space opera than its date of publication would indicate or perhaps some things that were set aside by the genre and only recently picked back up the Enterprise crew gets time off and hobbies one of Duane's original minor characters is restoring episodes of Tom Baker era Doctor Who to modern video formats for the crew's enjoyment there is a plot relevant board game Kirk is concerned about the crew's mental health and anxiety levels food replicators are programmed with awareness of dietary restrictions we see this for aliens but there's nothing to indicate it's not true for humans as well Duane explicitly notes that not all aliens would fall into a neat human gender binary and mixed human and alien crews are repeatedly addressed as Ladies Gentlemen and Others though there's no explicit inclusion of nonbinary humans Do note that there are a couple of passing fatphobic comments and a couple of baddated descriptions of Asian minor characters one is introduced as an Oriental woman and another described as having slanted eyes both near the beginning of the book however it's a shame these don't seem to have been revised in the newer edition eitherRecommended if you like space opera only a very vague knowledge of Star Trek is reuired if you have a vague idea of who the main crew are you should be fine there are references to some episodes but enough context is given that you don't need to have watched themI keep thinking I should read the rest of this series and intended to pick them up after finishing this reread but having done so I'm not sure I will because the ending of this one seems so perfect


  5. says:

    Some of the other Star Trek books have been mediocre at best but Diane Duane usually does an excellent job in her writingsand this book is no exception The story really drew me in and I almost felt like I was watching the show instead of reading a book


  6. says:

    My Enemy My Ally is a Star Trek novel with characters from the Original Series When a Romulan Commander discovers that leaders of the Romulan Empire have approved a plan to kidnap Vulcans and harness their mental abilities she is horrified at her government and decides to perform an act of treason When she contacts Captain Kirk her old enemy he is suspicious of her motivations but recognizes the major threat that the plot implies As they work together the Neutral Zone becomes a provocative and dangerous place as schemes are hatched and counter schemes exacerbate the threat Diane Duane does an excellent job at making the Romulans not just interesting but profound This is a really good Star Trek novel


  7. says:

    Diane Duane has crafted a good basic story about a Romulan commander joining forces with the Enterprise crew to foil a despicable new weapon that she feels will be a permanent blight on the honor of the Romulan people It has some nice suspenseful moments and builds to a satisfying climaxHowever it is also terribly padded There are pages and pages of exposition that do little to advance the story and belabor the character points that are being made Characters converse for pages about matters that turn out to have little to do with later events Worst of all Duane goes to great lengths to show us how the Enterprise crew is one big happy family They are always giving each other amused looks gazing at each other with appreciation and trading gentle affectionate comments about each other Such a constant barrage of warm fuzzies grows tiresome rather uickly Fortunately this aspect of the book grew less egregious toward the end of the novel


  8. says:

    The professional fan fiction of Star Trek novels are useful for finding new authors and the biggest find I've ever had from them is Diane Duane who had written many very good books outside that universe This is where I first discovered her and it is also one of the best Star Trek novels I've read Thirty years after I last read it several scenes still stand out in my memoryThere are perhaps a few too many MacGuffins floating around There's artificial ion storms 4D chess with a mini transporter to 'time' pieces in and out and the big problem of the book a Romulan project to enhance psionic potential But all of them relate to the plot fairly stronglyPart of the main point of the book is to take a closer look at the Romulans About half the book is from the viewpoint of Ael t'Rlailiiu a Romulan starship commander who feels that the Empire's latest project will only lead to ruin and so makes common cause with one of her gravest enemies An interesting touch is that Romulan dialog is given untranslated with only a character's reactions and internal thoughts providing a sense of what is being said Thankfully it isn't done much as it would get wearying but it is an interesting device for what we do getThere's plenty of action and it's all well done but there's plenty of build up and planning before that Duane introduces a number of new characters here including Ensign Nahraht the only Horta in Star Fleet which have been fan favorites since The characters are smart and generally act like it there's an amount of 'but of course I planned for this' that borders on the excessive and of course there's the wonder of early Star Trek unburdened by special effects budgets Recommended for all TOS fans and action adventure fans


  9. says:

    I picked MY ENEMY MY ALLY up for fun and while it was a pleasant enough read I wasn't enthralledThere were good points Duane lets her imagination run wild with aliens Many diverse species cultures sexual orientations abilities colors and body types roam the pages freely and happily Duane's deft handling of science and the mechanics of the Star Trek universe made for a solid high stakes adventure Ael was a fascinating fresh character and her and Kirk's relationship was well wrought especially the endingWhat majorly dropped my review star count was the plot's pacing The first 200 pages seem to exist only to set up for the last 100 pages and while Duane's plethora of details build up the characters and world nicely they can't hold my attention Put simply and horribly I was bored and that's partially why it took me so long to finish the bookOnce I got to page 201 though the plot speeds up to break neck speed I was so on board for the ride that I nearly cheered Everything came together in a tight little bow and I finished uickTo sum up read MY ENEMY MY ALLY if you have the patience for a very VERY slow beginning and like exploring coolio author creations Otherwise it's a bit of a slog


  10. says:

    everything I want in a Star Trek book interesting character dynamics expanded world building and lore engaging plot that plays with the existing universecanon