Monday, September 3, 2012

Plagues of Night


Star Trek Typhon Pact: Plagues of Night
© 2012 David R. George III
388 pages


The dust had scarcely settled after the last great Borg War when the battered Federation found itself facing yet another threat when numerous hostile species on its borders created the Typhon Pact, a confederacy that soon entered into a Cold War with the gravely wounded Klingon and Federation powers. The first four Typhon Pact novels (and a fifth work, a novella) each explored one of the constituent members of the Pact while at the same time establishing the new polity as a potent force to be reckoned with. Those tales of espionage and politics set the stage, and now David R. George has delivered the first Typhon Pact 'epic', one which spans the quadrants and involves the Enterprise-E and the far-flung crew of Deep Space Nine.

After the events of Star Trek: Destiny, billions were dead and the Federation utterly exhausted, and yet no relief was to be found. In the wake of such calamity, six powers hostile to the Federation and ringing its borders sought strength in unity. They created the Typhon Pact, a confederacy of scum and villainy, and  changed the map forever. The Federation and its greatest ally, the Klingon Empire, were soon engaged in a "cold war" with the Typhon Pact. The first four novels of the series each focused one of the constituent members of the Pact (the Breen, the Romulans,) while following the opening power plays between the two polities. Tales of espionage and political wrangling followed, and the stage was set. David R. George has delivered the first Typhon Pact "epic", one which spans the quadrants and involves both the Enterprise-E and the far-flung crew of Deep Space Nine. Plagues of Night is the opening act, ending on a cliffhanger that saw me stand to my feet in astonishment.

The Federation and the Typhon Pact are not, technically, at war, but both strive to maintain the balance of power that will keep the peace -- through means that threaten it, like covertly attacking one another's shipyards to steal data.  Although the Typhon Pact novels established the Pact as a potent force to be reckoned with, they aren't simple villains. Each power has its own ambitions, and the leaders of the Romulan Star Empire dearly want peace.  Plagues of Night uses the events of the first four novels (especially Zero Sum Game and Paths of Disharmony) to establish rising tension between the Federation and the Pact,  and both the RSE and Federation leaders want to prevent said tension from erupting into open war.  But the achievements of diplomacy -- trade agreements and a joint scientific mission into the Gamma Quadrant -- are threatened to perversely turned into the spark of war when things go terribly wrong.

In addition to creating a thriller of a scope we've not seen since the Destiny books, George provides the long-awaited return to the Deep Space Nine cast of characters.  The DS9 relaunch was seemingly abandoned when Destiny came onto the scene: there's a five-year gap between the last DS9 book and the events of that magnificent trilogy.  Readers were teased with what might have happened in the meantime in Rough Beasts of Empire, and here the station takes center stage under its new commanding officer, Ro Laren. Character growth in Plagues of Night centers on Sisko, who is still grappling with the aftermath of decisions he made after Unity. Abandoned by the prophets,  and fearful for his family's safety, Sisko is a man without a friend -- tremendously lonely. And bless his heart, it's going to get worse.



I purchased this book online, and I figured after I read it I'd buy the second book. I couldn't wait. Yesterday, I drove an hour or so to the nearest bookseller and hunted down a copy of the conclusion. I...cannot wait.  

Related:
Star Trek Typhon Pact on TvTropes

4 comments:

  1. You drove for an hour? Wow, that's a real dedication :D

    So I'm pretty new to the whole Star Trek world. Are series and movies based on books or is it the other way around? I'd love to get into this one day but I'd like to do it right.

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  2. The original Star Trek was a television series in the 1960s, and it was followed by four other television series, beginning in the 1980s and continuing until the mid-2000s. There were movies, as well. The series inspired hundreds of books set in the Star Trek universe, but it wasn't until after the last show went off the air that things got exciting.

    After the last show went off the air, the authors were allowed to let stuff actually HAPPEN. Before, everything that happened in the books was forgotten by the next book: no one of consequence died, and no plot ever influenced another. But in the mid-2000s, they started a series called the "Deep Space Nine Relaunch", which started at the end of one of the tv shows (Deep Space Nine) and then started moving forward. And ever since then, the novels have been building on one another. This is the golden age of Star Trek literature, I think. :)

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  3. I should point out that although they share the same name, by this point the universe of the books is so different from that of the television shows that someone new to both but interested in the books might be better off starting WITH the relaunch books. If you do decide to start getting into it, let me know and I can send some links your way. The Trek Literature section of the Trek BBS (Trekbbs.com) might be of interest, though.

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  4. Interesting. Thanks, I might look into this some time in the future.
    I've seen we have some Star Wars books in our library but I never got to read them.
    I'm not one to get into things that are not cannon (so I don't read fan fiction of books that have definite endings - like Ron & Hermione. I can't read any other thing because it would 'mess' with the things in my head and also because I don't want to. Romione is perfect. :D). But if books are better than the series then maybe I'll try them :)

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