I am completely amazed at how this
author managed to create a new "pilot" for this series. It is fulfilling
on both an emotional and an action level, and manages to insert a plot,
This author obviously know these characters. I have not read too many
Star Trek books before, but I don't think they come better than this.
What is really amazing is that the heart of the series is gone -there is
no Benjamin Sisko, no Odo, and no Chief O'brien. Worf, whom I never
really missed when he was absent, is also gone, and I don't expect any
them to return (except maybe Worf, since we will undoubtedly have
Klingon stories in the future).
There are so many good things about this book, but foremost is the
superb writing. This author writes well, is able to convey her message,
and gives the characters so much depth that I was interested in each one
of them from the very beginning. I only wish the series had given some
of these characters this kind of depth, and consistently.
The core of this book is the settling back to "normal" life in the
aftermath of war. Each of the characters carries baggage from the war,
whether it's stress, anxiety, a loss of meaning, and so on. The author
gets into the characters' heads, giving them thoughts that seem very
natural and normal. There are so many day-in-the-life sequences, but
none of them seem forced, and all of them have more than one intention.
The character that gets the most growth in this book is the one I
came to loathe in the seventh season of the series: Ezri Dax. The new
Dax was so poorly used on the series that I wished they had killed the
symbiont when Jadzia died. I quickly changed my mind partway through
this book. When the station is attacked, she is forced to take command
of the Defiant, and suddenly becomes more than she ever was before. She
draws on Jadzia's memories of commanding the ship, and the experiences
of the others, without actually becoming them. This is expanded during
the sex scene between her and Bashir. The sex was written so tastefully
that once again I was amazed. She doesn't know what she is experiencing,
except that it is growth, and it starts to tear their relationship
apart. This is how Ezri should have been written, and instead of hating
this beautiful and sexy woman, I could have loved the character.
The other character who normally was given one-dimensional treatment
was Quark, but he shone here. Obsessing over Ro, the new head of
security, he was terrific. But I loved the character when he was giving
the party for Jake, he was a true Ferengi, perfectly written, obsessing
over details, and over-charging Kira and Jake. I wondered about Jake,
though, thinking that he would have hated the attention, since nobody
seemed to ask him if he even wanted a party!
Kira was also well written, but she was almost always given the best
material to work with, so there was little room for improvement here.
She has been commanding Deep Space Nine for three months now, and is
still settling into her position, not sure that all of her officers are
up to the task, especially Ro, who has a history of making her own
I am not sure Ro is the best choice for this book, but will reserve
judgment for later, as she, too, was interesting to read, as she carried
out the investigation of the murder of the Vedek who had been friends
with Kira. She discovers that this woman had smuggled an ancient book of
prophecies from the B'Hala ruins, of which every single one of them had
come true. In order to prevent the "heresy" to continue, the other
vedeks had had her murdered, but didn't find the book. Ro doesn't know
this, yet, and I wonder what the consequences will be.
The woman had given a page of the book to Jake, as it mentioned
him, saying he will go into the Temple and it implies that he will bring
his father back. As the prophecies are never so straightforward, I can't
believe this will happen, and I wonder what the author has in mind for
Part II. The prophecy is now self-fulfilling, as Jake would never have
made the attempt if he didn't receive that page...
The other major event that occurs at the station is an attack by
three Jem'hadar fighters, which destroy a Federation ship, disable the
Defiant, and nearly destroy the station. Thanks to some innovative
fighting by Dax and another Jem'hadar ship which attacks the attackers,
they manage to survive. I must agree with Kira in the aftermath, though
it seems like a plot contrivance to me: it would have made sense to do
only one set of repairs at a time, so that if the station was
defenseless, the Defiant would be able to protect it, and vice-versa.
But this is typical Trek, and it looks like the Dominion ships are back
to being as deadly as they were when we first encountered them.
The battle is really the only place where I had a major complaint
about the book. There was way too much technobabble! I don't understand
the need for so much technical detail, especially from a fake universe
-it could be written without, I am certain.
There are other new characters, an Andorian named Shar, who was
extremely well-developed, a Bolian Starfleet first officer, who is
killed, making a replacement necessary, and a few other technicians, as
well. Bashir didn't really feel much more developed from the series, and
I loathed the appearance of Vic Fontaine! Too bad the character survived
the attack on the station. Nog is carrying on his engineering duties,
and blames himself for not having the Defiant ready for combat when it
was needed. His character is also well fleshed out.
Even Kasidy is given time in this book, carrying the Emissary's
unborn child. I don't know why her relationship with Kira didn't feel
right to me. I suppose Kira hasn't been able to talk with anybody like she did
with Jadzia, and Kasidy never had any female friends that we knew
about, so it makes sense. Which means I cannot explain my lack of
enthusiasm for their connection.
I enjoyed the way the Jem'hadar supposedly sent by Odo was introduced
to the station. After the attack, and with the letter from Odo
destroyed, he stayed cloaked, watching the people on the station,
because he rightly supposed he would be shot on sight! Shar gets to
uncover him, throwing some kind of beverage on the sensation he felt
with his antennae. I liked the way he slinked around the station, and I
figured out the sensation only a couple of incidents before the crew
did. I was certain, however, that he was responsible for the random
power failures, which is still a possibility, if his story doesn't check
The other plot in this book comes from the point of view of the
Enterprise, notably from Captain Picard and high-level officer Vaughn. I
guess Voyager is no longer the only Starfleet ship that can navigate the
Badlands, a plot necessary to Voyager's pilot episode. The experience
with the Cardassian ghost ship reminded me of the encounter with the
pirates in Tunnel Through the Stars, but written much, much better.
The memories on the ghost ship, caused by a Bajoran orb, were really
fun. The author made them very personal, and very interesting to outside
observers. All of the characters that we saw were also given depth
normally unseen, and I was suitably impressed. With communications down,
they don't know about the attack on DS9, though it is possible that
Vaughn does, and they are heading that way.
There was a lot of continuity in this book, but somehow most of it
didn't fell like it was there simply to show off, like a Star Wars
author did in Jedi Eclipse and
Hero's Trial. There were references to so
many Next Generation and DS9 episodes, but more interesting were the
reminders of O'Brien's electrical problems on DS9 (as related to Laforge),
and Garak's novel-length letter from A Stitch in Time. There were
references to the movie Insurrection and Ro's anti-Dominion group from
Tunnel Through the Stars, but no mention of the artificial wormhole.
I was also impressed by the number of female officers on the station.
Most authors, even other female authors, put males into the majority of
Trek positions. Alright, so some of them died, but still...
Normally it would be difficult to review the first part in a two-part
story, but this one was so full of good stuff that it was easy.
Thankfully, the book is more of an emotional journey, and does not
revolve around many specific events. The emotions are more fulfilling
than a standard action plot, and the uncertainty about whether the
Dominion sanctioned the attack on the station, combined with everybody's
fatigue about the possibility of another war, gives the book a tense
That uncertainty, along with adjustment to the new circumstances
after the long war, is really what this book is all about. And it does
it really, really well.