In The Gathering, Owen Wilson appears for the first time as a main character. Although he is an original member of the crew in Star Wars, this is the first novel that he has written. In this novel he takes on the task of leading the crew of the Enterprise while still serving with the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. This action-filled story includes plenty of action, adventure, and romance as well as a touch of political intrigue.
The premise of this novel is that the Empire is going to attack the peaceful planet Bremen in the next month. Two hundred transports, including a shuttle headed by Senator Yarra of Aviso, are part of a large fleet that is to take millions of fleece bunnies to the safety of Bremen. The plan is for these animals to be bred on the surface of Bremen and then used for food. When the transports depart they are attacked by three TIE fighters and a Y-wing star cruiser. The escape pod containing the bunnies is crashed on the planet.
While running through the wrecked ships in the crashed transport, Murphy meets his old friend from childhood named Wesley Crusher. Crusher, who had been a cadet in the army, tells Murphy about the role of the Federation in helping the Bremens. The story involves the crew of the Enterprise rescue the frightened bunnies and then Murphy must deal with Crusher’s treacherous past. Eventually, however, everyone escapes from the wrecked transports. This leads to Murphy and Beverly Crusher’s long-awaited reunion.
A new voice joins the adventure and it is none other than the formidable Johnsson as Senator Yarra. He comes into the novel near the end, just as the action starts to heat up. It is a great way to conclude the first novel and this final scene helps the tale to wrap up neatly. There are several other interesting characters introduced and in fact, The Gathering is not just a story about war and rescue, it also has some very poignant moments of family and friendship. It makes for an exciting conclusion to a series that started with such promise.
Murphy also provides some very memorable character names. One of the crew members, Commander Taggert, is named “Commander Smith” and his first name is a clear giveaway as to what is going on. Beverly Crusher is named “Beverly Murphy” and her husband is “Commander Spock”. These and many more names make The Gathering of the Flag a fun book to read. It is not just a story of rescue, it also is a story about friendship and loss.
The characters in The Gathering of the Flag are like a small community on a small planet. They have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. They work together and sometimes they will clash. This is a book I highly recommend to Star Trek fans and those who enjoy a good story about a good man fighting a good fight.