Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens have written quite a few Star Trek novels, including partnering with William Shatner on all nine of his Kirk novels, though two stand out as personal favorites among the hundreds I’ve read over the lasr 25 years: Memory Prime and Prime Directive. I had no hesitation when I saw their 1994 effort STAR TREK: Federation on the shelves at MV Public Library. An aside to any of you readers: the local public library is a great place to get free reading material, you don’t (always) have to pay $7.99 for a paperback or $24.99 for a hardcover!
Federation, written before the movie First Contact and published soon after, focuses on a different Zephram Cochrane than we see in the film so don’t be thrown by that; Paramount has always maintained that while the books must treat the TV episodes and movies as canonical, “the real history,” the reverse is explicitly not true. So when we meet the warp drive inventor, just prior to his first interstellar test drive, he isn’t a 60 year old rock and roll misogynist living in the wilds of Montana but an early 30s respected scientist funded by one of the Solar System’s richest men.
The conflict driving this story is between Cochrane and Col. Adrik Thorsen across three eras: 2061, as Thorsen and his leader, the notorious Col. Green, are attempting to make the Earth over based on their Optimum movement; 2267, in the aftermath of the Enterprise’s transport of Sarek and other ambassadors to the Babel Conference (TOS episodes: Journey to Babel plus Metamorphosis and Requiem for Methuselah); and, 2366, just days after Picard and the Enterprise-D crew completed the Legara IV mission, in which Picard had to provide Sarek with mental support to hold off the effects of Bendii Syndrome and from which Picard’s mind is still a bit overwhelmed by Sarek’s mentality (TNG episode: Sarek). The conflict is simple: Thorsen is convinced that Zephram Cochrane’s superimpellor, the forerunner of the warp engine, can be used as the most devestating, yet controlled, weapon ever deployed but beyond the incredible distaste the scientist has for the concept he knows that such a bomb is physically impossible.
As with most Star Trek novels, the authors must fit their science fiction concepts and character conflict ideas onto the starship platform and novels like Federation, where more than one crew is used, more than double the difficulty IMO. Throwing in the third era, in this instance the earliest chronologically, actually simplifies things since we have very little ‘knowledge’ of them. The Reeves-Stevens do a very good job, even managing to use the The Guardian of Forever as a framing device and insinuating that one of the 2061 era characters, Cochrane’s benefactor Micah Brach, is in fact the same man Kirk and Spock meet as Flint in Requiem for Methuselah.