© 2008 S.D. Perry and Britta Dennison
Eighteen years ago, the Cardassian Union abandoned pretense and formally annexed the planet it had already manipulated and tricked its way into dominating. Bajor has suffered greatly at the hands of the military dictatorship since, its economy cast into ruins as the Cardassians impose a kind of mercantilism that destroys the environment and shifts most resources to the Union. Not content to complain and malinger in refugee camps, however, many Bajorans have taken to active rebellion. Hiding in the wilderness, they wage war against the oppressor -- and if collaborators get in the way, so be it. Night of the Wolves, from the pen of an already-accomplished DS9 author, chronicles the Resistance's emergence as a serious threat to Cardassia's triumph. It is told principally through the lives of screen-established characters -- Gul Dukat, Kira, Ro Laren, Dr. Mora -- while incorporating a few new faces. The heavy use of canon characters, with subtle links to Deep Space Nine's episodes, makes Night an ideal Trek series book, easily read on its own regardless of its place in a trilogy.
While Night doesn't have the same climatic structure as Day of the Vipers, simply chronicling twelve years of the occupation in which both the resistance and players within it come of age, the depth it adds to established characters makes it a commendable read. The plot threads within don't intersect too much, but here we see both Kira and Ro's introduction to the resistance --and for Ro, her motive for seeking a life beyond Bajor, haunted by the fear of falling prey to the idea that the ends justify the means. Here, too, is Odo's birth as a sentiment being, his coming of age within a Bajoran-Cardassian science lab. The pages flew by for me, featuring as they did some of my favorite characters -- Dukat, Kira, and Ro Laren -- but even some of the new characters with stories independent of the DS9 shows took my interest. One of note is a Cardassian grad student who, after having an Orb experience while attempting to translate the writing on an artifact, travels back to Cardassia and discovers her people's life prior to the military takeover. Dukat is here in all his pre-Waltz ambiguous glory, One matter of concern is the early introduction of some characters, namely Damar and Ziyal, and the fact that one character says "The middle of the occupation is no time to be having a child!". Unless he's had an experience with the Orb of Time, which is lost, he probably shouldn't know he's in the middle of the Occupation. (To make matters worse, he's not even in the middle of the occupation; it's barely a third of the way through.) This seems to make Ziyal far older than she appears onscreen, and Damar's career somewhat pathetic. Thirty years before we first see him onscreen, he was still a low-grade glinn worshiping the ground Dukat walks on? That's Harry Kim-style career doldrums.
Though not as tight a story as Day, I liked it better -- such is the draw of its characters.