Star Trek: Picard picked up later Star Trek continuity with a fairly tough job. It had been nearly twenty years since the last TNG-era movie came out. Since then we did find out that the Romulan star had gone nova (as the backstory to the reboot movie). So, if you want Patrick Stewart back in his iconic role, anything you do will have to happen later to account for his ageing, and you’re going to have to account for this bit of backstory.

The first season of Picard did well with this, and gave us sometimes confusing tidbits of those missing two decades. New characters that he had gotten to know, Picard in a quiet semi-disgraced retirement. And much more.

This prequel novel fleshes out much, but not all of that background. (There are two other prequels….) The Federation becomes aware that the star for Romulus and Remus is on a path to a supernova detonation, and that is going to require evacuating far more people than anyone is equipped for. The novel then follows, in a very summary fashion, the years of Picard’s efforts at the head of the Federation’s effort to help relocate people out of the way of the blast.

The good news is that this is well-written with a good feel of the characters. You can often hear Patrick Stewart saying Jean-Luc Picard’s lines, because the characterization is spot on. I’m sure that McCormack had access to the writer’s bible for the series, and this looks to mesh perfectly with what has been said on-screen.

Of course, that tells us that this is not going to come to a happy conclusion for much of anyone, and the novel more ends than concludes. As a pure prequel, that’s not bad, but it is the weakest point. The journey is the main thing, and it is well told, and this makes a good guide to some of the confusing backstory of ST:Picard.