Reviewed by Bex (1991)
Prime Directive should have been the first Star Trek movie.
Set at the end of the first five-year mission, it certainly presents a devastating enough challenge for the enterprise crew: Talin IV, a planet on the verge of first-contact status, has been virtually destroyed by a thermonucleear war, seemingly due to an apparent breach of the Federation's sacred Prime Directive, courtesy of the Enterprise.
As the story opens, we find Kirk and all his bridge officers in demoted disgrace, most having resigned as it became apparent that Startfleet did not intend to investigate the tragedy beyond its obvious causes. The damaged Enterprise is a ghost of her former self, with only Montgomery Scott to mourn and repair, knowing as he does that when she is travel-ready again, command will go to the ridiculous Lt. Styles (remember him?). The rest of the crew is scattered and reassigned. Jim Kirk, incommunicado, is the man the public loves to hate.
Now, isn't that a pitfall worthy of a Star Trek movie? Not just some boring old all-powerful probe-alien. We'd seen that before. This is real pathos!
What next? You guessed it - the scattered principles don't stay scattered for very long. They're all independantly headed back to Talin IV for a rendez-vous with the truth - or, what really caused Talin IV's destruction (you'll never guess it!). And it's getting there that's half the fun!
SEE: Spock hold a baby!
Go out and pick yourself up a copy; it's finallly out in paperback. You know everything will be put together by the end, but oh, what a journey it is!