The book doesn't really jibe with later interpretations of the Klingon culture, but given how little there was at the time John M. Ford wrote the thing (five significant TV appearances -- "Errand of Mercy," "Day of the Dove," "Friday's Child," "The Trouble with Tribbles," and "A Private Little War," only the first two of which gave any hint of the culture -- and one movie cameo in Star Trek: The Motion Picture), it was a very reasonable extrapolation.
Interestingly enough, what he came up with is a lot closer to what the Cardassians would become later on: a military dictatorship, with a shadowy covert organization dogging their every step to maintain order. These Klingons were soldiers, not the warriors of the Star Trek: The Next Generation era. Probably the best Earth analogue to the Ford Klingons are the Spartans mixed with the Athenians, as opposed to the "Ronald D. Moore" Klingons, which are the Vikings mixed with samurai.
Of course, the whole thing is supposed to be a work of fiction even within the Trek universe, so any discrepancies with canon are easy enough to work around. *grin* And it's still a very good political thriller about the clash between cultures, using the classic SF trope of the humans from an alien perspective (cf. most of C.J. Cherryh's SF work).
Forgotten in most of the Klingon hullaballoo is the superlative character work Ford did in the prologue and epilogue with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. In a very limited number of pages he nails all three of them perfectly (so much so that I'm willing to forgive him misplacing "City on the Edge of Forever" in Chicago rather than New York *grin*).
Of course, Kirk's statement at the end that he'd try not to think of Klingons in such generalized terms falls by the wayside in the third feature film (which postdates the novel), and pretty much jumps off the wayside without a bungee cord in the sixth, but Dayton covered that ground fairly well in his book.... *chuckle*
In any case, Worf-Boy says, Read this book! *smile*
[First posted on the Psi Phi Star Trek Books BBS on 28 February 2002.]
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