The Enterprise picks up a distress call and moves to investigate. Onboard they find one survivor who tells them she has a debt to pay to a local crime boss. Later, the Enterprise arrives at Celius Prime in an effort to help their passenger. Pike and some of the bridge crew are beamed off. They face the crime boss who tells them the only way out of the dangerous Scorpion sector is by way of the most dangerous race in the galaxy. Pike agrees to the race but members of this crew are placed among various other ships in the race.
The idea of a race in space is nothing new. It's not even new in the realms of Star Trek. You have 'The Great Starship Race' from the old Pocket Book line. And thus far, I feel the novel is superior. Though the Pike of Strange New Worlds is laid back I hardly think he would so easily agree to all the terms and obviously laid traps he faces here.
six out of ten.