A series of books in the Star Trek Novel Verse. Although each is a stand-alone (even the Terok Nor books, billed as a trilogy, are largely accessible on a one-to-one basis), they tie into an overarching account of a particular period in the Star Trek timeline; between Kirk's apparent death in 2293 and the launch of Picard's Enterprise in 2364. The novels also link in with other books set in this period but not considered a part of the Lost Era, such as Star Trek: Vulcan's Heart and The Captain's Daughter. There are eleven novels in the series:
The Sundered: Captain Sulu aboard the Excelsior, on a diplomatic mission to the Tholian Assembly.
Serpents Among the Ruins: Captain John Harriman aboard the Enterprise-B, and the infamous Tomed Incident, as political tensions between Federation, Klingon and Romulan reach a head.
The Art of the Impossible: An eighteen year political epic detailing a cold war between the Klingons and the Cardassians.
Well of Souls: Captain Rachel Garrett aboard the Enterprise-C, and the criminal underbelly of the Star Trek universe.
Deny thy Father: The exploits of Kyle Riker (Will Riker's father), and Will Riker's early Starfleet career.
Catalyst of Sorrows: Aging Admiral Uhura recruits a collection of familiar characters for an undercover operation to investigate a suspected Romulan bioweapon.
The Buried Age: Captain Picard pursues an archaeological mystery.
The Terok Nor trilogy of Day of the Vipers, Night of the Wolves, and Dawn of the Eagles, detailing the history of the Cardassian occupation of Bajor.
One Constant Star: Demora Sulu as captain of the Enterprise-B eight years after Serpents Among the Ruins.
Abusive Parents: The mother of Zetha, from Catalyst of Sorrows. Zetha's only memories of her birth mother involve yelling and violence; apparently, the woman blamed her daughter for "ruining her life".
Actual Pacifist: The Halkans, who insist that there is no violence of any kind in their hearts. As a result of this, anyone capable of violence cannot be truly Halkan. Halkan character Lojur is even exiled from the planet for using violence in defense of his village. It was under attack by murderous raiders, but even then the majority of his people found fighting inconceivable.
Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Enabran Tain, a Cardassian, is fond of human stained-glass windows. Another Cardassian, Danig Kell, likes Lissepian paintings. And Curzon Dax, a Trill, is more Klingon than some Klingons.
In One Constant Star, a Tholian movie is mentioned, having somehow made its way out of the Tholian Assembly to the Federation. John Harriman and his wife wonder what a Tholian film even looks like.
Alien Non-Interference Clause: The Manraloth find this sort of thing immoral and cowardly, in contrast to the Federation. This is one of several fundamental issues on which the Federation and Manraloth disagree, although both groups work to bring peace and prosperity to the galaxy.
Alternate Universe: One Constant Star sees a visit or two to an alternate universe, courtesy of both alien technology and a very unusual star.
Amplifier Artifact: The mask in Well of Souls. Useless to those who are not psi-sensitive, it enhances and focuses the talents of empaths and latent telepaths. It's designed to allow members of its planet's ruling family to enhance their psi talents to the degree that their mind can serve as a vessel for the spirit lifeform Uramtali. Without the mask, these talents would no longer be adequate, as the rulers' genes were diluted by centuries of inbreeding.
Arc Welding: The Art of the Impossible skilfully links the Romulan politics of the novel Star Trek: Vulcan's Heart with established canonical events in both Klingon and Cardassian history, as well as plots and characters seen in other "Lost Era" books.
Aristocrats Are Evil: In Catalyst of Sorrows, as with many Trek novels focusing on Romulans, the aristocracy comes across considerably worse than the common people, who are usually sympathetic.
Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Everyone in the galaxy did this simultaneously a quarter of a billion years ago, the result of a Manraloth experiment gone wrong. Trying to unite the multiverse as they had the galaxy, the Manraloth and their allies attempted to tap into the higher dimensional planes with their minds. The resulting surge of energy proved too powerful, overloading the telepathic centres of every Manraloth and transmitting it to any other brain capable of receiving it. The entire galactic population was forced into a state of pure energy, long before most races were ready. Ariel, who was revived from a quantum status field erected to save her during the above catastrophe, eventually chooses to ascend too, and join the rest of her people.
Ascended Extra: The Brunyg and Gororm species, both from The Buried Age, are Ascended Extra races. They are based on background aliens who never got a name or a line onscreen.
Ass in Ambassador: Vreenak in Serpents Among the Ruins, although technically he's simply an aide to the actual ambassador, who is truly diplomatic.
Ditagh from the same novel, though in part that's simply his Klingon warrior caste roots.
In The Sundered, Ambassador Burgess of the Federation and Ambassador Kasrene of the Tholians actually cause problems due to their NOT being this. They are genuinely interested in opening a dialogue, sometimes working against the interests of their respective militaries, for better or worse.
Batman Can Breathe in Space: A Neyel in The Sundered, beamed aboard after being blown out into space, isn't quite dead after all; it turns out Neyel have engineered themselves to survive vacuum for a time. As is pointed out, they're not the only race who can survive space; mention is made of the Nasat, a nod to Starfleet Corps of Engineers.
Bi the Way: The prologue to One Constant Star mentions in passing that Demora is in a relationship with another woman, and the two of them have started dating a man.
Binary Suns: The Naxeran homeworld, which never experiences true night. The suns are named for mythological brothers who also inspire the Naxeran caste system; the stronger brother, G'Dok, is the brighter sun and gives his name to the ruling caste, while the second sun is named for the weaker brother Leahru.
Bizarre Alien Biology: The Frunalian "shift", essentially a second puberty. Their exoskeleton falls off, their biochemistry (and personality) change and a fleshy mane-like sensory organ erupts down their backs.
Blessed with Suck: Miras Vara in the Terok Nor trilogy, after she becomes Astraea and serves as a vessel to Oralius, reviving the Oralian Way. Her spiritual awakening may be for the good of Cardassia, but her new life is hardly a happy one. Another example is Pahl in Well of Souls. A Naxeran child, he's also a telepath. His untrained telepathy doesnít have much of a benefit - it mostly just leads to delusions, hallucinations, accidental Mind Rape of his closest friend, and being targeted for Demonic Possession.
Blue and Orange Morality: The Manraloth, whose hat is skilled communication and manipulation, and who use these skills to aid in bringing peace to the galaxy. Their methods of doing so conflict with those of the Federation, and they are very, very sneaky and manipulative. Always, though, their intentions are good and noble.
The Regnancy of the Carnelian Throne, whose citizens are metaphorically slaves to the Carnelian Throne itself. They ritualistically "play along" with subjugation as part of their "enslavement" to the values it represents.
Given how passionate Federation people were about democracy, Guinan thought, they wouldn't have been too open-minded about the Carnelians' symbolic conquest and enslavement. And the Carnelians would've taken their resistance as a rejection of the justice and righteousness that the Throne represented, and concluded that the colonists were enemies of justice.
In The Sundered, Sulu acknowledges this trope when agreeing to honour the Tholian warrior caste's legal determinations of truth, which are arrived at through combat.
Book Ends: The Art of the Impossible begins with a scene where a Klingon child is on a hunting expedition, and is told a story by his parents, who are educating him in his people's history. This scene also sets up the political context for the novel. The novel ends with a very similar scene where a Cardassian child is on a fishing trip. She too is told a story, and educated in her people's history. The closing scene also serves to evaluate the political events of the novel...from a certain point of view.
Call Forward: In the Distant Prologue of One Constant Star, set eight years before Serpent Among the Ruins. Harriman is considering the possibility of "manoeuvring" the Romulans into peace.
Les Collaborateurs: Kubus Oak, who sold out his entire world to Cardassian invaders, becoming the chief collaborator in the Bajoran government. He first appeared in an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and is fleshed out in the Terok Nor books.
Compelling Voice: The Manraloth. This is only one technique of many with which they subtly influence and guide the thinking of others.
The Neyel, as an entire race, and explored in some detail in The Sundered. Readers of Star Trek: Titan will know they also have a dark and troubled future.
Pretty much every character in Well of Souls.
Death Is Dramatic: Klingons live for dramatic death (it's the hoped for highlight of a warrior caste Klingon's existence). In keeping with this trope, major Klingon characters tend to have very dramatic deaths, including Azetbur and Kravokh, who are both assassinated in rather climatic scenes. It's averted with General Worf, though, whose underwhelming and pointless death isn't even shown. He deserved better.
Death Seeker: Pahl, in Well of Souls, sort of. Though not a warrior (he's a 12-year old child), he certainly has a death wish and seems to understand on some level that Sealed Evil in a Can Uramtali has unpleasant things in mind for him.
Double Meaning Title: Catalyst of Sorrows. The bioweapon is the catalyst of the character's sorrows, but it is also codenamed "Catalyst".
Downer Ending: The ending of Well of Souls isn't really a downer ending for most characters - it's actually reasonably upbeat considering the Dysfunction Junction setting - but that's only true of the adults. The two children have quite the downer ending, really. Well, they're alive; that has to count for something, I suppose.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: Sadly, despite having essentially saved the Klingon Empire from self-destruction, the remaining disciples of Gorkon, such as his daughter Chancellor Azetbur and Ambassador Kage, are mocked and condemned by the new generation of restless warriors, e.g. Ditagh. They insist Azetbur's government prepare for war to satisfy their own desire for glory, caring nothing for the sacrifices Gorkon's people made or why they made them.
Evil Albino: Played with in Well of Souls. Pahl is essentially albino, or his race's equivalent, and while he's certainly not evil himself, he serves as a vessel for a possessing evil.
Evil Counterpart: Uramtali to Oralius, seemingly. Perhaps more accurately, Uramtali represents fear and isolation where Oralius represents love and connection with others.
Fantastic Caste System: The Naxerans have three castes, named for mythological figures that also correspond to the stars and moons of their home system. The G'Dok are the clan of the stronger brother (and the first star), and rule the planet; the Leahru, clan of the weaker brother (and second sun), are subserviant and tread carefully around the G'Dok. Then there's the Efram, apparently wretched slaves who are seemingly identified with eclipse.
Fantastic Honorifics: In The Buried Age, a very minor character named Deb'ni has the academic title "Questor". Qr. Deb'ni is Algolian, and Questor seems to be the Algolian equivalent of "research scientist".
Fantastic Rank System: The Ferengi rank DaiMon was canonically established, and similar to "Captain". The Buried Age introduces the next rank up: GuiMon.
The Neyel, a human Lost Colony, have "Drech'tor" for captain and "Subdrech'tor" for commander, which have obviously evolved from the titles "director" and "sub-director". They also have "subaltern", an archaic British term for any commissioned rank below captain.
Foreshadowing: In The Buried Age, Picard's musings on cybernetics are an example of ironic foreshadowing; it's still several years before he meets the Borg.
Gambit Pileup: Seeing as Starfleet Intelligence, the Cardassian Obsidian Order, the Romulan Tal Shiar and the Orion Syndicate show up in multiple novels across the series, this is the inevitable result.
Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter: In The Buried Age, there's a scene where Picard and Ariel discuss Shakespeare, and he realises afterwards that she was casually speaking in iambic pentameter, including finishing with a rhyming couplet.
Happiness in Slavery: Other cultures don't immediately understand that the citizens of the Regnancy of the Carnelian Throne are metaphorically slaves, who play along with subjugation as a ritualistic expression of their "enslavement" to justice.
Harmful to Minors: 12-year old Jason Garrett and his friend Pahl don't have a very nice time at all, what with all the evil possessing spirits and violent gunmen and loved ones being essentially murdered in front of them.
Has Two Mommies: There are several same-sex couples with children in this series. They include a pair of female scientists in The Buried Age and two male parents on one branch of the Paris family in Serpents Among the Ruins. As well as these human examples, there's a female Romulan who is briefly mentioned to have an adult son, and a wife.
Hive Mind: The Tholian "lattice" is probably halfway there. Tholians are certainly not a true hive mind, being fully individual, and just as capable of dissent as any other race. However, a network of telepathy known as the lattice connects the minds of all Tholians, distributing basic race-knowledge and allowing individuals to commune with one another. The lattice is regulated carefully, with different castes having different degrees of access.
Hold Your Hippogriffs: "The Bloodwing's Share" (the lion's share), "like h'vart in an alley". Both of these are Romulan expressions.
Humans Are Ugly: In one of the novels, a Romulan reflects on how humans look horribly unfinished to Romulan eyes; as if their ears and brows were only half-formed. Another book in the series suggests that to those humanoid races with ridged foreheads or brows, humans actually look infantile, reflecting a "typical" humanoid baby (the young having less pronounced ridges). Among the human-like races, humans are thus bland and disturbingly undistinguished.
Ignorance Is Bliss: The Renagans, in Catalyst of Sorrows. They know aliens can't possibly exist, so they simply ignore those aliens who do show up until they go away again. Arguably this trope also applies to the Halkans, who can't handle the harsh realities of the outside galaxy, due to their Actual Pacifist culture.
Ignore the Fanservice: Picard in The Buried Age, with the Mabrae official Coray, who insists on trying to be seductive as a manipulative diplomatic tactic. Picard knows what she's doing and brushes her off. A young Argelian doesn't, however, and finds out that responding with genuine interest is not a good idea, thanks to Bizarre Alien Biology.
Immortal Procreation Clause: The immortal Manraloth rarely need to reproduce; when they do they can alter their own physiology to bring their body back into breeding mode, although it takes some time to completely undergo the changes.
Incredibly Lame Pun: Janeway makes one in The Buried Age. Getting a good look at a Mabrae security officer (whose uniform is literally made of tree bark), she responds to an assertion he makes with "yes, I imagine you...would"
In-Joke: Vreenak is the only Romulan character of note who refuses to believe the official story behind the Tomed Incident. He believes (correctly, actually, though his reasons are simply the result of his paranoia not genuine knowledge) that the Federation wasn't attacked by Admiral Vokar as everyone thinks. The Federation must have planned a false attack to frame Romulus. In other words, Vreenak thinks it's a fake. Fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine will get the subtle joke.
Insane Admiral: Not a Federation admiral, amazingly, but a Romulan one. The main plot of Serpents Among The Ruins involves portraying Admiral Vokar as one of these while setting up the now-infamous Tomed Incident, in which Vokar's flagship Tomed performed a suicide run at a Federation sector and deliberately destabilized its quantum singularity while at high warp.
Interservice Rivalry: Captain Qaolin of the Klingon Defence Force and his Imperial Intelligence liasion, in The Art of the Impossible.
Karma Houdini: The Neyel are a race of xenophobes who never once given any indication that they think murdering and enslaving other species is wrong. Yet Sulu embraces them like long lost relatives as soon as he finds out they're descended from humans, because Humans Are Good and therefore they must be nice really. The whole thing is full to the brim with Unfortunate Implications and ends up making Sulu look like a human supremacist.
Karmic Death: Aventeer Vokar in Serpents Among the Ruins. He dies in disgrace aboard Tomed, furthering the cause of peace by serving to shock Romulus into withdrawing its forces; the exact opposite of what he'd want. He was so deeply unpleasant most would say he deserved it.
Su Chen-Mai, who pretty much had to die after trying to murder captain Garrett's family.
Leave No Witnesses: The crime cartels in Well of Souls have a policy of this, as shown during the search for technological artifacts on the Dithparu planet. Not only are the criminals on the site preparing to murder the civilians they've hired, but the masterminds of the operation are also planning on killing them in turn.
The Buried Age gets its title from Shakespeare's Sonnet 64. The first section of the book (about Picard's court martial) is titled "The Quality of Mercy", from the courtroom speech in The Merchant of Venice, and the following three parts (featuring the character Ariel) all take their titles from The Tempest.
Lost Colony: Holy Vangar' is a lost colony of Earth, and the Neyel are human.
Manipulative Bastard: Ariel may be benevolent, but she's also this. Definitely. The Fates tend to be this too; certainly Uramtali is, and Oralius has Her moments.
From the Romulan viewpoint, John Harriman may well be this.
Pasir, who is about as manipulative and bastardly as you can get.
Married to the Job: Darrah Mace and Rachel Garrett are both accused of this by their respective partners. Both these partners leave them.
Mayfly-December Romance: Ariel and Picard. Ariel is effectively immortal, and has been alive longer than humans have existed as a species. Her relationship with Picard was genuine while she had amnesia; since her memory returned, she's been stringing the "innocent child" along as part of her master plan. Being as old as she is, she's an complete expert at manipulation, plus her people are naturally designed for it anyway.
Mind Over Manners: The reason Ven Kaldarren doesn't telepathically scan the shady characters he's travelling with, despite their highly unpleasant personalities. He later acknowledges he was foolish not to. Indeed, they're planning to kill him, and his son.
Mind Rape: Uramtali does this, quite brutally, to several people, including a child.
Monumental Damage: The Sundered has a mention that Mecca was hit hard by World War III, including somebody detonating a nuke there in the 2050s.
Parental Abandonment: John Harriman has issues with his father, as does Will Riker. Rachel Garrett and Kyle Riker are essentially heroes who are on the guilty side of this.
Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: In The Buried Age, the Permian extinction event is chosen instead - it's described as a consequence of an artificially-induced galaxy-wide disaster. The Sufficiently Advanced Aliens known as Manraloth accidentally caused the entire galactic population to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, releasing terrible amounts of energy as a by-product. This irradiated planets, and furthemore in the aftermath the artificially-maintained habitats and star systems built by the Manraloth destabilized, making things even worse. The galaxy was an irradiated hellhole until sapient life evolved again millions of years later.
The Plague: The plot of Catalyst of Sorrows, as Admiral Uhura (now heading Starfleet Intelligence) responds to the outbreak of a long-dead Romulan pathogen that's spreading on both sides of the Neutral Zone.
Plant Aliens: The Mabrae are animals, but live symbiotically with plants that grow on their bodies, and are tailored to each individual. Security guards have tough bark as natural body armour, diplomats and politicians grow exotic colourful flowers. These plants are essentially the Mabrae's clothes. They consider segregation between leaf and flesh barbaric.
Precursors: The Buried Age fleshes out the distant prehistory of the Star Trek universe, including discussion of just how many precursor civilizations have risen, branched out, and fallen over the last half billion years. The way in which these civilizations created the condition in which the modern Trek galaxy finds itself is also explored.
Prevent The War: Harriman's goal in Serpents Among the Ruins, as tensions between the Federation and the Romulans slowly but surely place them on the countdown to a probable war. Harriman's method of preventing it is rather unconventional, however.
Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: In Well of Souls. Captain Garrett does so, but to be fair, she's quite flustered by the fact that the hostage is her young son - and that she didn't even know he was there until this point. Her companion hesitates (no doubt knowing you don't comply with this sort of demand), but then follows the captain's lead.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Kage for the Klingons, along with Chancellor Azetbur. Senator Cretak for the Romulans. Admiral Los Tirasol Mentir for the Federation starfleet. Admiral Yilskene for the Tholians.
Kravokh seems this at first, but isn't really. Besides, a problem he shared with Azetbur and Kage is that Klingons don't in fact respond too well to "reasonable" a lot of the time.
Revision: The Sundered introduces interphase tunnels that lead from the Milky Way to the Small Magellanic Cloud. The Star Trek: Titan novels later built on this by establishing a whole subspace topography that placed the Cloud "downstream" of the Milky Way. This served to allow two different ships in two different times and places to both reach the same region of space and interact with the Neyel race. In The Buried Age, a subtle offhand reference to ancient Manraloth transportation networks offers an explanation for how this improbable situation came about.
Rousing Speech: Gul Monor tries. He really does. He is hopeless at it.
"...before a tragedy even more tragic than the tragedy that befell the victims today happens again"
Sealed Evil in a Can: The Dithparu in Well of Souls. Evil spirits, basically, who are trapped in the magnetic containment fields in an old tomb beneath the mountains.
Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Much of The Buried Age, including the title. A lot of the character names are also anagrams for Shakespeare characters, or otherwise based on them. Also, the Mabrae take their name from that of Queen Mab, in Romeo And Juliet.
Space Is an Ocean: Lampshaded in Catalyst of Sorrows, which gives a wink to the audience in decrying science fiction of the past's obsession with this trope.
Space Station: Legate Kell wants to build one in orbit of Bajor, and finally blackmails his peers into providing funds for it in The Art of the Impossible. His former underling Dukat takes control of the swiftly constructed station and, well, cue the backstory for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Night of the Wolves and Dawn of the Eagles detail much of the station's early operational history.
Corbin Entek, a Cardassian Obsidian Order villain from a highly popular episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, is a lowly junior probationist in The Art of the Impossible, albeit a promising one. The novel features a sub-plot in which he settles into the Order and earns the admiration of Enabran Tain.
Vreenak's disdain for the Federation heroes is explored in Serpents Among the Ruins, setting him up for his role in "In the Pale Moonlight".
Take Me Instead: Ven Kaldarren, who sacrifices himself to Uramtali in exchange for his son and another child. In fact, Uramtali wanted Kaldarren all along (desiring to force her consciousness into his mind), but couldn't get to him as he'd instinctively raised his telepathic shields. The children were therefore bait and "incentive"; Uramtali figured he'd pull this trope when she telepathically attacked them instead.
Talking in Your Dreams: The Cardassian Fates communicate like this. Non-corporeal creatures inhabiting a mysterious dimensional plane that intersects with our own, they can telepathically influence mortals. In particular, with individuals of the right genetic makeup (or whose minds have been altered by particular artifacts), they can appear in dreams and hold "conversations" - or alternatively just plant images and desires. Their apparent leader, Oralius, uses it to find the next Astraea so as to keep the Oralian Way religion and the compassionate, noble aspect of Cardassian society alive. Her Evil Counterpart Uramtali uses it to telepathically rape young boys.
Teenage Wasteland: The Manraloth see the modern galaxy as this. The races of today have grown up without the oversight of the Manraloth and their galaxy-spanning alliance, and are frequently at war. These unruly, rather brutal child races require Manraloth guidance to mature healthily. Or so Ariel believes.
Tyke Bomb: While not quite a child, Zetha in Catalyst of Sorrows is essentially this.
Unwitting Pawn: Thamnos, the disgraced scientist working on creating the bioweapon in Catalyst of Sorrows. He's so much a case of Too Dumb to Live, though, that he almost becomes a liability to the true mastermind: Koval.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: In The Buried Age, Data raises the issue with Ariel, an immortal. He points out that literature in many cultures explores the possibly unbearable tediousness of immortality. Ariel responds that to her people, life is too full of variety and opportunities to connect with others, and they have no issue with their non-aging status.
Willing Channeler: Anyone channeling a Cardassian Fate, most notably Astraea. The dithparu in Well of Souls cheat a bit; people are usually willing to let you possess them if you apply the right pressures - like taking their children hostage.
"I am holding you personally responsible for allowing us access to the Ch'gran remains, Commander. The next time I see you will be either your informing me that you have succeeded or my informing you of your imminent death".