Saturday, September 22, 2012

Raise the Dawn

Star Trek Typhon Pact: Raise the Dawn
© 2012 David R. George III
400 pages

The ending of Plagues of Night saw me stand to my feet in shock. Not since the Destiny trilogy has there been such a cliffhanger in Trek literature. Raise the Dawn sees David R. George finish what he began, with brilliant success.

Tensions were high between the Federation and the Typhon Pact before this duology, but however much the leaders of the Federation and Romulan Empire might wish to maintain the peace, other members of the Typhon Pact -- and certain blonde, notoriously villainous elements within the Empireitself --  are more bellicose, and their actions have already led to catastrophe. As the president of the Federation resigns herself to the fact that her heavily fatigued people are in for yet another conflict, the Romulan praetor makes a stunning move, one that confirms that the days of two-dimensional bad guys are over.

Trek literature has steadily been pushing the envelope since the publication of the first Avatar books. George doesn't just overturn the apple cart of the status quo;  since Rough Beasts of Empire, he's set it on fire. A few of Trek's characters have been going through the meatgrinder, and while that's been rough going for readers who feel for these characters, Raise the Dawn offers resolution.  All of the stresses introduced in the first four Typhon Pact novels have coalesced here, putting our characters through the fire, even as they battle private battles of their own, like Prynn Tenmei's struggle to let her father go, and Sisko's alienation from his family. Raise the Dawn continues to be expansive; like Plagues of Night, its characters are drawn from across the Trek verse, excluding only the Titan and Voyager crews. But George goes even further by playing with prophetic visions of the kind we saw in "Far Beyond the Stars" and "Image in the Sand"; characters seem to be inhabiting multiple planes of existence at the same time, interacting with one another when they can't possibly be doing so, and it's too brilliantly done to be confusing, except in a delighted way.

George's duology is a must read for fans of Trek literature. I have not been this mesmerized or moved since the Destiny series; only Full Circle has even come close.

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