On "The Planet of Galactic Peace" - real name, Nimbus III - a renegade Vulcan converts drought-starved farmers, bandits, and the three diplomats unlucky enough to be assigned (or should that be exiled?) there by the three powers holding combined oversight of that world. The Klingon and Romulan Empires, and the United Federation of Planets, all use Nimbus III as a dumping ground for their undesirable citizens and minor criminals. What could have become a planet-sized success like Earth's Australia has, instead, become a place of despair thanks to an unfavorable and drastic climate shift. The smiling Vulcan, Sybok, takes the three diplomats as curiously willing hostages to draw a Federation starship to Nimbus III. That starship is a brand new Enterprise, under the command of former Admiral James T. Kirk. Reduced to the rank of captain for his role in Captain Spock's unauthorized rescue from the Genesis planet, fighting guilt and depression after losing his son during that mission, and frustrated by the new ship's lack of readiness for this assignment, Kirk contends with an endless string of systems that malfunction or just plain refuse duty, and with the presence on board of only the barest skeleton crew.
Spock, still adjusting after his return from death, finds himself dealing with something even more traumatic. Sybok is Spock's half brother, banished from Vulcan so completely that his name no longer appears in any official record. As the Enterprise officers learn about Sybok's quest to reach the galaxy's center, and the supreme being (common to the ancient beliefs of all sapient races) that resides there, Spock is torn between his love and boyhood hero worship for his elder brother, and his duty to both the Federation and his friends.
Quite frankly, I hated the film on which this novel is based. I only picked the book up to read because I've always enjoyed J.M. Dillard's novelizations, and - to my pleasant surprise - I enjoyed this one just as much as the others. The story that didn't work at all on the big screen worked just fine as prose, probably because a novelist can put me inside the characters' heads. Sybok, and Spock's relationship with him, are as credible in the book as they were (to me, at least) incredible in the movie. Nicely done, Ms. Dillard!