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From the back cover:
200 YEARS AGO: The expanding Klingon Empire found a frozen world rich in deposits of the mineral topaline. They named the planet taD - Klingon for "frozen" - and they called the people jeghpu'wI'; conquered.
FOUR YEARS AGO: The Klingon Empire invaded Cardassia, breaching the Khitomer Accords and causing a break with The Federation. On taD, depleted Klingon forces were overthrown in a small coup d'état, and the victorious rebels took advantage of the disruption to appeal for recognition from the Federation.
NOW: The Klingons have returned to taD and re-established their control. But the stubborn rebels insist on Federation recognition. A solution to the diplomatic impasse must be found, a task that falls to the Federation's new ambassador to the Klingon Empire: Worf. Worf thinks of himself as a fighter, not a negotiator, but the Federation disagrees. Now, for the sake of the Federation and the Empire, a Klingon warrior must weave a fragile peace out of a situation ripe for war.
This novel contains examples of:
- The Cameo: Mark McHenry and Soleta from Star Trek: New Frontier show up briefly, leaving messages of congratulations to their old friend Worf.
- Continuity Nod: Many.
- The Emperor: Planet taD is traditionally ruled by an emperor, who was typically female, at least prior to the Klingon occupation. Under the Klingons, the emperor became a figurehead, and was more frequently male. In the end, the conflict between the native rebels and the empire is resolved by installing a Klingon as emperor. This keeps the Klingons technically in charge while placing much of the genuine decision-making power with native al'Hmatti. The new emperor is Vall, of all people.
- Hired Guns: The Kreel who attack the Gorkon; they've been hired by rebels on taD to harrass any ship approaching the planet.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs: "Nobody gives a targ's hoof..."
- Honor Before Reason: Inevitable with Klingons. A particularly powerful example is former governor Kalax, who committed ritual suicide to restore his honor after losing taD to the rebels.
- Kicked Upstairs: Captain Klag gets rid of First Officer Drex this way.
"I can say with absolute certainty that you did not receive this commission due to your skills. Like our friend the ambassador, you have the chancellor to thank for your position. But unlike the ambassador, I have no reason to believe that you might rise above the nepotism. I cannot justify removing you from this post. I can, however, give you a promotion".
- King Bob the Nth: Emperor me'Grmat.
- Klingon Promotion: Obviously. Specifically, it’s how eager young Toq ends up as Second Officer.
- Lady Land: Pre-conquest taD was female-dominated. Under the Klingons, its puppet government is male-dominated. Hence me'Grmat's necklace problem (see below).
- Legacy Character: Emperor me'Grmat.
- Meaningful Name: taD. It's Klingon for "frozen".
- The Mole: ge'Tvrona, a mine-worker who is apparently friends with the Klingon overseers and businessmen. In fact, he's a rebel.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Vall, who is most certainly not the tough, aggressive warrior so typical of Klingons. He's a rather weedy and sensitive engineer; in the words of Toq, "a Grishnar cat that survives among the targs".
- Requisite Royal Regalia: Emperor me'Grmat's necklace. Amusingly, it has a tendency to fall off, having been designed for females (who have thin necks). As a maned male with a neck thicker than his head, he can't bend over without it sliding off.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Played with; not really played straight at all. While the al'Hmatti are indeed victimized by Klingon oppression, at least one Klingon overseer is genuinely distressed to discover an al'Hmatti he thought was a friend was a terrorist/freedom fighter. His despair when his "friend" turns on him is presented sympathetically. Both Klingon and al'Hmatti are treated with respect by the author throughout, though the reality of al'Hmatti oppression is not denied.
- Single Biome Planet: taD is an ice world, hence its name in Klingon.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Kurak's favourite complaint.