Captain Kirk recieves a secret mission for the enterprise; to investigate the origin of a federation distress call issued from a planetary system outside federation space. This system far out has 3 habitable planets, which where actually populated by people whose beliefs and way of life fell outside of federation norms and wanted to live outside federation jurisdiction.
When they arrive at the system, they investigate each planet in turn to find the source of the transmission. On the first they find a tribal society of nomads that shun technology, but give some reports of raiders from the sky. On the second they find a deeply religious society, whose priests live in relative luxury and their 'churls' (who are clearly on some kind of medication) are also being raided by other ships. The third planet is technologically developed, and like the others reject any interference from fedaration officers, but it's quite obvious that theres only once place left to look, so down goes the away party. And soon they're finding themselves in a nazi-like society that breeds clones for slaves.
The storyline was somewhat predictable, before they'd even got to the 3rd planet it was fairly obvious what was going on. But then this was the very first novelisation, so I wasn't expecting a masterpiece.
The varied reasons for which people would live outside the federation is certainly thought provoking. The federation may be hyped as the perfect communist society, but it doesn't always know best, and it certainly doesn't cater for everyone.See my other reviews of Star Trek novels:
[Star Trek episode novelisations] | Star Trek 1