This book could have been titled “The Adventures of Noonien Soong”.
For the greater part of his adventure, Noonien was on the run from Federation space. That’s because he doesn’t seem to have a favourable opinion of Starfleet:
“I’m not saying Starfleet doesn’t serve a purpose or do its share of good in the galaxy, but I’m no fan of the military, especially not its more regressive elements. And don’t delude yourself, as ‘enlightened’ as Starfleet pretends to be, it still harbors a reactionary core.”
However, the large chunk of Noonien’s backstory interrupted the flow of the storyline, so much so that I almost forgot about the plot at the beginning.
It is also interesting to note Noonien’s misgivings about becoming postorganic:
“What if this isn’t a transfer of consciousness but just a duplication? What if the true me dies on this table and the me that gets up inside that android body is just a clever copy? Will I really have cheated death – or merely created a new being that thinks it’s me?”
Like some of Mack’s other novels, the ending seems a bit rushed. One moment the Enterprise and its away team were in dire straits. Then things took a sharp turn and everyone (well, almost) is reunited and back in business. The resulting “resolution” leaves a lot to be desired.
In the end, Noonien did what most fathers would.