For those who don’t regularly keep up with the Star Trek alien list, there are three off shoots of the Vulcan race- Vulcans, Romulans, and Remans. The Vulcan’s Soul trilogy explores how these off shoots came to be.
A year after the Dominion War has ended, the Romulans are under attack by a race of people calling themselves the Watraii. Spock, Uhura, Saavik, and Chekov take matters in their own hands and decide to try to meet with the Watraii. It seems as though the Watraii have carried their grudge for millenia- right back to the days of Surak on Vulcan.
Meanwhile, the Vulcan Science Academy has finally broken the security algorithms on an ancient coronet. This coronet was not jewelry; rather it recorded memories. This is how we learn (through Spock who tried on the device) what actually happened all those years ago. The story is told by Karatek. Karatek was a member of the Vulcan Space Initiative. Vulcan during this period had experienced so much civil war that the radiation had drastically altered the planet. Everyone daily wore radiation badges in order to asses how much danger they were in. While performing his routine duties, Karatek meets a man coming out of the desert- none other than Surak himself. Karatek takes the man home as his guest.
So the book is told both in the present tense as well as through flashback to Karatek. In the present, the story culminates when Saavik and company attack the Watraii and Chekov is taken hostage. In the flashback, we see a group of Surak’s followers actually embarking on space ships to leave Vulcan. Before they take off, one particularly warlike faction attacks the take off point. Inadvertently many onlookers end up swept onto the ship to avoid being killed. So the ships launch with a mixture of Vulcan’s factions aboard.