This is a dual-plot novel. Spock, as a captain, receives a distress call from an old friend named Rabin. Rabin is now a starfleet liaison with the natives of a desert planet. The novel shifts back and forth between this plot and another; a previous instance when Spock met Rabin, when Spock was undergoing his [[InitiationCeremony Vulcan rite-of-passage]] and Rabin was a SpaceCadet visiting Vulcan. The two rescued Rabin's mother and a number of hostages from a religious fanatic secretly supported by the Romulans. The relationship between the two stories is revealed at the end.
!!This novel contains examples of:

* ANiceJewishBoy: Rabin.
* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: [[invoked]]Not an extreme example, but as with all the ''Vulcan's [noun]'' books, the ProudWarriorRace aspect of the Romulans is made prominent, whereas in many other novels (and the 24th century TV shows), their subtle, secretive and political side was the focus.
* BadassIsraeli: Rabin.
* BewareTheNiceOnes
* CrossingTheDesert
* DoubleMeaningTitle: Vulcan's Forge is a place (a desert on planet Vulcan), but the novel also demonstrates some of the events that made Spock who he is as an adult- those which essentially "forged" him into the Vulcan he is now.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin : Vulcan's Forge is named in part because much of the story takes place in a desert on Vulcan; a desert called ''Vulcan's Forge''. The desert is also visited in ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' season four.
* IWillFindYou
* {{The McCoy}}: Rabin is even more of a [=McCoy=] then [=McCoy=].
* OddFriendship
* [[FireForgedFriends Vulcans Forged Friends]]
* ShoutOut: Rabin loves movie references, so there's quite a few of these.
* TheseHandsHaveKilled: Spock kills a guard while rescuing Rabin's mother and the prisoners and has a bit of {{Angst}} about it.
* WorthyOpponent: Ruanek, one of the Romulan soldiers.