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Serpents Among the Ruins is a Star Trek: The Lost Era novel – the second novel in the series – written by David R. George III. Published by Pocket Books, it was first released in September 2003. The novel features Captain Harriman and the crew of the Enterprise-B.


From the book jacket
The year is 2311. It is a year of infamy, a year that later generations will remember as one that altered the course of history at the cost of thousands of lives. It is the year of the Tomed Incident, and its tale can at last be told. In the midst of escalating political tensions among the Klingons, the Romulans, and the Federation, Starfleet goes forward with the inaugural flight of Universe, a prototype starship that promises to revolutionize space exploration. But the Universe experiment results in disaster, ravaging a region of space dangerously close to the Romulan Star Empire, apparently confirming suspicions that the Federation has begun testing a weapon of mass destruction. As the military buildup accelerates on both sides of the Romulan Neutral Zone, Captain John Harriman of the Federation flagship USS Enterprise-B is fated for a final confrontation with his oldest enemy at a flashpoint in history – with the Beta Quadrant one wrong move from the outbreak of total war.

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

Memorable quotes

"This is neutral territory, Admiral. We are visitors here, and we make no claims on this world or its people."
"In the beginning, you are always visitors. And in the end, you always stay. But it is of no matter with respect to this planet. You are not visitors, and you are not invited to stay. You are trespassers in Romulan territory, and you will leave at once."
"This is neutral territory. The people here don't even know that sentient life exists beyond their world."
"They know it now."

- Captain Harriman and Admiral Vokar, on the Koltaari homeworld, 2311

"There is an old Romulan saying that tells that if all around you lies in ruins, either fault yourself, or seek the serpent. Are you the serpent?"

- Admiral Vokar's first meeting with then-Lieutenant Harriman, some thirty years earlier

Background information

  • Author David R. George III was tapped to write this novel during the writing of his Deep Space Nine relaunch series novel, Twilight. As a result, he was able to incorporate a scene into that novel which fed into Serpents, although he would later note that he "ended up including some details that would later make my life difficult". (Voyages of Imagination, p. 457)
  • The idea of setting out what the Tomed Incident was came from Pocket editor Marco Palmieri; but, beyond that single task, George was free to create his own scenario for what the incident was and how it came about. One of his goals was to further rehabilitate the character of John Harriman, using some of the character elements established by Peter David in The Captain's Daughter. (Voyages of Imagination, pp. 457-458)
  • Algeron, where the Treaty of Algeron is signed in the novel, is listed on the title page as the location of one of Pocket Books' offices.
  • This is one of the few novels not to feature any starring characters from any Star Trek series.
  • Cover design by John Vairo, Jr..


John Harriman (β)
Captain of the USS Enterprise-B
Demora Sulu (β)
First officer of the Enterprise-B
Elias Vaughn (β)
Starfleet lieutenant
Azetbur (β)
Chancellor of the Klingon Empire from 2293 to 2311
Aventeer Vokar (β)
Commanding Admiral of the Romulan Imperial Navy
Vreenak (β)


Transport vessel.
An experimental warp drive that was supposed to be a much faster way of traveling. Ultimately, the experiment was abandoned.
Sakuro's Disease
Flagship of the Romulan Imperial Navy, used an artificial singularity as a power source. The namesake vessel of the Tomed Incident.
USS Universe (β)
A prototype starship that was built from an unusual design, specifically to test the experimental hyperwarp drive.

External link

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