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The truth behind the legend of the Klingon Empire's greatest warrior!

Kahless is a Pocket TNG novel written by Michael Jan Friedman. Published by Pocket Books, it was first released in hardback in July 1996.


From the book jacket
For the last fifteen thousand years, the Klingons have revered him as the first Klingon emperor, the legendary warrior who united their people and taught them the meaning of honor. Myths and fables have grown around the memory of Kahless, but the truth of his incredible life has remained a mystery… until now.
A clone of the original Kahless now holds the title of emperor. He thinks he knows all there is to know about his mighty ancestor, until the discovery of an ancient scroll throws the ancient stories into doubt and threatens to tear the Klingon Empire apart. Surrounded by rumors of treachery and revolt, he can trust no one – except Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Lieutenant Worf of the USS Enterprise.
The ancient scroll reveals an unimagined past where a young Klingon warrior named Kahless risked everything to defy the tyrant Molor. At first, Kahless wishes only to preserve his honor and the safety of his loved ones, but time and circumstances push the reluctant rebel leader toward a destiny greater than any he could have imagined…
The past collides with the present, as the true story of the historical Kahless sparks a battle for control of the Klingon Empire. Yet even if Worf and Picard can prevent a civil war, the revelations contained in the scroll ensure that the Klingon Empire – and the rest of the galaxy – will never be the same.

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.

The book's premise is that the heretofore accepted legends of Kahless are a vast historical distortion, and that Kahless' testament is found, sparking a dispute over its authenticity. The novel further explains that it was Kahless's brother Morath who was actually cloned from blood on the Knife of Kirom, given that Morath had taken a knife blow meant for Kahless and sacrificed his life in doing so.

There is a framing story regarding this revelation featuring the clone of Kahless, Picard, Worf, and Gowron in the Klingon Empire, within which is set the "true" version of the Kahless legends.

Background information

  • On creating the historical storyline, Friedman remarked "I like thwarting expectation and here's a Kahless who is different from the one we saw in the various episodes and references. He's not conscious of his role in history. He's just a guy trying to get along. He's just doing what he thinks is right from time to time and suffering tragedies and failures and doing the best he can." (Voyages of Imagination, p. 213)
  • The Historian's Note establishes that this takes place between "All Good Things..." and Star Trek Generations.
  • The audio adaptation omits the even-numbered chapters of the novel that reveal the true events of Kahless' life as depicted in the scroll. This means that the audiobook is only an adaptation of the framing story about the discovery of the scroll and the conspiracy surrounding it.
  • The Science Fiction Book Club released a special edition of the hardback in November 1996.
  • This novel was collected, along with The Final Reflection, in the Signature Edition omnibus The Hand of Kahless.
  • An extract from this novel appeared in Star Trek Monthly issue 24.

Cover gallery


Kahless (clone)
Jean-Luc Picard



External links

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Crossover Pocket TNG
Unnumbered novels
Day of Honor #1: Ancient Blood
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