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 Vulcan rite-of-passage and Rabin was a Space Cadet 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:
- A Nice Jewish Boy: Rabin.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: Not an extreme example, but as with all the Vulcan's [noun] books, the Proud Warrior Race 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.
- Badass Israeli: Rabin.
- Beware the Nice Ones
- Crossing the Desert
- Double-Meaning Title: 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.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin : 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 Star Trek: Enterprise season four.
- I Will Find You
- The McCoy: Rabin is even more of a McCoy then McCoy.
- Odd Friendship
- Vulcans Forged Friends
- Shout-Out: Rabin loves movie references, so there's quite a few of these.
- These Hands Have Killed: Spock kills a guard while rescuing Rabin's mother and the prisoners and has a bit of Angst about it.
- Worthy Opponent: Ruanek, one of the Romulan soldiers.