by Ben "LOAF" Lesnick
On August 13, 1998--three days after this site first opened--HarperCollins announced that Peter Telep had been hired to write four Wing Commander novels. That included two novelizations of the movie and two 'continuity' novels which would continue the movie's story. I remember being tremendously excited about the news, already being familiar with Peter Telep's excellent Space: Above and Beyond books.
Peter Telep quickly proved that he was a different kind of Wing Commander writer, doing copious amounts of research and filling his first book with references to the Wing Commander games. If you have written off the book because it is based a movie you didn't like, go back and read it--it was written by a man who envisioned the same Tiger's Claw we found ourselves aboard in 1990.
Unfortunately for all parties involved, the Wing Commander movie was not a success at the box office. What's more, the two continuity novels both expanded on the Pilgrim treason plot which was almost entirely cut from the finished film. HarperCollins released only the first, Pilgrim Stars, and left the series on a cliffhanger with the final manuscript frustratingly completed but unpublished.
These books have a special meaning to me, which I have rarely spoken of. In mid-2000, just before the release of Pilgrim Stars, I was faced with a series of emergency eye surgeries with long odds. I was not expected to recover my vision. For months and months I was bedridden, not allowed to move at all for fear of dislodging my retina... and the one thing I remember was absolutely knowing I was going to recover because it was unthinkable that I wouldn't be able to read Peter Telep's new Wing Commander novel.
So I did recover, and I proudly read Pilgrim Stars myself. Now here I am, more than a decade later and finally able to finish the story.
And what a story it is! Pilgrim Truth is an excellent read. It may be the most epic Wing Commander novel ever written, taking you across the galaxy from Kilrah to Earth to the Pilgrim homeworld of McDaniel's World and points between. You'll meet familiar characters, walk the halls of the Tiger Claw again and finally solve a decade-old cliffhanger. Longtime fans of the Wing Commander games, though, will be most excited to find a single paragraph near the end of the book which resolves one of the series' greatest mysteries.
Special thanks are due to the team at Electronic Arts who was willing to clear this book for release through WCNews.com, especially Paul Barnett at Bioware Mythic for getting the ball rolling. The wonderful illustrations, a first for a Wing Commander novel, come to us courtesy of Alex "NinjaLA" Von Tolmacsy.
Most of all, credit must go to Peter Telep himself, not only for writing the book but also for his willingness to release it today. Twelve years ago, Mr. Telep dedicated his first Wing Commander novel to the fans, noting that he 'had our wing'. The fact that you're reading this book today is proof that he meant it.