Part two of the Romulan War series is a lot more fragmented than the first half.

Surprisingly, given the original ‘fifth season’ nature of the idea, only a small part of the book continues with 2156, where part one left off. Then, a fair chunk of the book skims over three years, and then comes in for a big climax in 2160.

That last is a good, well done, action-packed gigantic space battle, that definitely ties things up decisive battle style, with… some of the subplots coming together to help out. Others seem to have been largely forgotten. There was some resolution to them all, but not always very good ones.

The ‘summary era’ has Enterprise away from the action, effectively doing a “charm offensive”. I suppose, if you want to envision what this would have been like from a TV series standpoint, you’d have a season of more-or-less regular Star Trek exploratory adventures, with the Romulans off  in the background.

In general, the idea of a protracted (five year, long in ‘on screen’ history) war works out. The idea of Earth being on the back foot, with the Coalition slowly dropping out around her as losses mount is good. But, Martin hasn’t studied war as much as some. It is often the case that both sides are having trouble in any war, and the problems are piling up faster for the side that seems to have all the momentum. If it was me, I’d go for a structure where things go from grim to grimmer for Earth, but meanwhile the Romulans are having mounting problems of logistics and things less flashy than a ‘warp seven’ project (why are we skipping a warp six engine in the first place?), and they come apart because they just can’t feed their own fleets with personnel and parts, and suddenly they have little left and have to sue for peace.

But that’s me.

What we have is good enough, and well enough done on the character side. Well, in the first book. This also feels a bit rushed in that it feels like there’s not as much time spent on the characters here.