Fire on High continues with the changes started in Martyr, keeping the crew semi-serious and toning down the humor so it's still hilarious but possessed of more character development and drama.
The premise of Fire on High is the discovery of TNG character, Robin Lefler, that her mother is still alive. This is not much of a cause for celebration as Morgan Primus faked her death in order to escape her family. Amusingly, Peter David makes Morgan Primus yet another of the characters "played" by Majel Barrett.
Specifically, she is the character Number One from the original Star Trek pilot. How is she still alive after almost a century between the New Frontier era and the Original Series? Well, Peter David has an interesting explanation about that which I'd be remiss in spoiling.
The character of Morgan Primus is an interesting one as she nicely contrasts with the rest of the crew. For the most part, aside from some "aggressive courting" and disagreements, everyone gets along. Morgan Primus is a character who is distinctly unfriendly to everyone and causes no end of problems for the U.S.S Excalibur's crew.
Peter David does an excellent job in getting Majel Barrett's "voice" down so I was able to easily imagine her acting the role of Morgan Primus. It's a harsher character than Christine Chapel or Lwaxana Troi but still has much of the subtle humor which makes her characters distinctive.
The Burgoyne and Selar relationship continues in this volume, losing much of its creepiness since its now clearly consensual and desired by both parties. The addition of the character McHenry into their back and forth 'romance' is an interesting swerve in the storyline. I also like the fact Burgoyne has hir own issues to get over before s/he is ready to commit to either.
The character of Soleta also gets some development as she discovers virtually everyone on the ship considers her a close personal friend. Which isn't a good thing because Soleta considers herself both naturally surly and a loner. It leads to my, hands down, favorite moment in the series where she's trapped in a never-ending turbolift ride with a succession of people who want romance advice.
Romance advice...from a Vulcan.
Captain Calhoun and Si Cwan go through the most development this volume. The former gets a reality check on his actions, discovering that intervening according to one's moral compass isn't always the best solution for every problem. The latter manages to display how deeply loyal he's become to the crew in an impressive manner.
The plot, itself, is somewhat weak and mostly an excuse while the real focus is on the characterization. I have no problem with this and enjoy the change of pace from the usual New Frontier zaniness is welcome. I also am intrigued by the Prometheans and think they're an excellent addition to the Trek universe.
In conclusion, I heartily recommend Fire on High and consider it an excellent continuation of the New Frontier series.