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SummariesSummary from the publisher:
From Media Monitor:To what lengths will Kirk and Spock go to capture the most wanted man in the galaxy? How about posing as a "bonded pair' of servants, owned by McCoy! There's gambling for ownership, a mysterious man named Christophe who has designs on our Captain, and even a cameo by a certain Vulcan "ex-wife" who wants to consummate what had been interrupted during Amok Time. Of course, we all know that posing as a bonded pair won't be enough for our boys -- sooner or later, they're going to make it a reality -- and getting there is half the fun.
The galacticly infamous criminal 'Alexi' has been spotted and to run him to ground and bring him in. Kirk and McCoy begin preparing for their mission by teaching Spock to play poker!
Reactions and Reviews
This novel has raised many different opinions. Many readers dislike itt others adore it. I think. I am somewhere between. I don't really dislike the storyT but I certainly not adore it. Because of the many different opinions I decided to try to write a review, Alexi is a wanted criminal, one of the 5 most wanted in the past 10 years. Starfleet has located him and Admiral Komack asks Kirk, due to his reputation, and his men to espionage upon Alexi, because some agents are missing and presumably dead. Kirk and Spock infiltrate in Alexi's gang with some ingenious plan, in which Kirk and Spock are bonded, Spock is a gambler who always wins, and McCoy is their owner. What follows could have been an interesting story, and although it has some interesting elements, it isn't. Kirk behaves and is treated as some sweet romantic girl, like in the old movies, where they always fall when running for something and the hero has to rescue her. He, too is quickly overruled by everybody. The story is full of his beautiful body etc. etc., and everybody seems to want to make love with him, but Alexi claims him for him alone. To imagine a Vulcan as a gambler, a poker player and a very good one too, sounds ridiculous. Besides, I can't imagine Kirk sitting on Spock's lap in McCoy's presence, either. When Alexi is finally captured he breaks free, and he let them capture him again. This happens twice and is rather unbelievable. There is no good reason why Alexi is acting as he is. In the end, Alexi is dead, but is he really? The story begins again 10 months after this events, with the bonding party of Kirk and Spock, all as sweet as the whole story is. There, totally disguised, is Alexi again. He still loves Kirk and still wants himt but because of Kirk's bond with Spock he will let him go. He himself is very lonely. Kirk just let him go away, with almost guilt and understanding. If you read Alexi as some romantic nothing at all, it is a nice story. It is certainly not a story about the Spock and Kirk and Star Trek I love. There is some nice art in it, especially the one under the waterfall is nice. 
This was a very entertaining novel. It was fast-moving with several well-developed characters. I really envy authors who can combine a good, exciting plot along with an evolving K/S story and carry that out through a whole novel. My favorite part was the bonding ceremony of K & S. I won't give away the plot, but Kirk's actions are funny, to say the least. And then there's the part about the le matya pelt.... A good, interesting story. 
This novel was so engrossing that I read its entire 170 pages of reduced type in one day. The writing is crisp and contained a lot of dialogue, which kept things moving quickly. It was only in the last 15 pages that everything slowed — almost to the point of a crawl. I thought that, after the seven months had passed, the story was being over-written, with the reader told more than she needed to know about the events on Vulcan. That could have been detailed more quickly in a few narrative sentences. Also, those last pages seemed especially tedious while I was waiting for Alexi to reappear, since it seemed likely that he would. I thought the novel's main weakness concerned Alexi's characterization. We are given a lot of information about him, but it all ends up being a mass of contradictions — not the facts, but the man's behavior. I came away feeling that I really didn't know Alexi at all. I also felt that Kirk and Spock didn't know him, and thought this may be because the author doesn't know him, either. I found myself wishing they had concluded that he was insane, since that would have explained his irrationality. It can be intriguing to read about a mysterious character, but unsatisfying when that character remains a mystery after all is said and done. Of the minor characters, Roget was the one that I felt I knew best. He was someone I could relate to. Kirk and Spock's characters were handled well; I just found it frustrating that there were relatively few scenes of them together — until the very end when, again, it seemed everything suddenly slowed down. There were a couple of points that struck me as unbelievable: First, that Kirk and Spock would be sent on such a mission in the first place. Komack's explanation was too weak. Secondly, T'Pring's appearance and the reasoning behind it. The desire for revenge is one thing, but her explanation about how it all came about seemed too contrived. Overall, however, I found this to be an intriguing read. It had a strong sense of atmosphere — wherever the characters were — and the plotting and quality of writing is superior. Also, I enjoyed the humor at both the beginning and end. I just wish some of the warmth in the last section could have been transferred to the middle somewhere so that Kirk and Spock's lack of ability to be together wouldn't have been so frustrating. 
The problei with this novel is in the title. This is a story about Alexi; Spock and Kirk are incidental to it. Indeed, Alexi's obsession could have been with anyone and the story would still be essentially the same. There were a couple of things that I didn't like, one of which was Alexi himself. I think the author intended us to think of him as a "Kirk gone wrong." I don't think Kirk could be that uncaring. For that matter, I don't think a sculptor, whose talent, after all, is creating things from physical material, could ever believe that he had no control over his life. The author obviously likes Alexi, but she hasn't convinced this reader. T'Pring's appearance allowed the use of S/M, sonething that occurs usually in the Mirror universe. Used as a metaphor for intensity, force can sometimes be erotic, but violence for the sake of violence is not. As a feminist, I have a hard time accepting violence as an expression of love, even warped love. 
I liked Alexi's complexity, and I thought there were some wonderful lines in the novei. I was especially tickled by Kirk telling T'Pau she wasn't mucn fun. Nevertheless. I did have some problems. I wonder why Kirk and Spock chose the scenario of being bondmates in an undercover situation. Human/Vulcan bondings aren't common. Spock said it was believable that he should have a human bondmate because his father had one. That is a totally illogical reason. Surely Spock wouldn't want anything in his fake background that could connect him to his true identity. This wasn't what destroyed their cover, but the incident in which their identities were revealed shows exactly how untenable the entire scenario was. Kirk was recognized by Klingons. Now why would Starfieet send people as recognizable as Kirk and Spock on a mission like this? I also didn't like the fact that such short shrift was given to the actual bonding between Kirk and Spock. There is no real description of the bonding process. Then there is my usual problem with McCoy as a rape recovery therapist. He criticizes what he believes to be Kirk's hatred of his rapist saying he has to forgive. Actually, hatred is a relatively healthy first response to rape. It means that the survivor has overcome self-blame. Anger and hatred should be encouraged by a therapist in the initial stage of recovery from rape. This has begun to be discussed in current therapeutic literature. Surely McCoy would nave recognized this. His emphasis on forgiveness was especially unfortunate because it turned out that Kirk was blaming himself for his own rape, and McCoy succeeded in increasing his guilt. McCoy should have known better. I suppose the author nad to make McCoy an incompetent to prove to us that only Spock could help Kirk. This bothers me.