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This week the Library Computer reviews the second Deep Space Nine novel in a row from Pocket Books, Una McCormack’s “The Never Ending Sacrifice”. This isn’t the first Star Trek novel to find a genesis in an episode of one of the series, but it certainly isn’t like any Star Trek novel that has ever come before.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The Never Ending Sacrifice
Pocket Books Mass-market Paperback
Written by Una McCormack
I can think of many Star Trek novels that have found a kernel to grow from in an episode, guest star, or even a passing line. Titles like “Memory Prime” and “The Cry of the Onlies” come to mind, as do “The Pandora Principle” and “Debtor’s Planet”. None of these works, however, could prepare me for the story of “The Never Ending Sacrifice”, this month’s new Star Trek release paperback from author Una McCormack.
“The Never Ending Sacrifice” follows the life of Rugal Pa’Dar (whom we first met as Proka Rugal in the Deep Space Nine second episode “Cardassians”) from the time of his ‘repatriation’ to his Cardassian father through the aftermath of the destruction of Cardassia at the end of the Dominion War. Through every twist and turn of life, Rugal is forced to come to terms with his roots – both felt and actualized – as he finds himself struggling to find a bearing for himself in the midst of the ever-changing world around him.
Rugal in "Cardassians"
While there are a few brief appearances from some DS9 favorites (the O’Brien’s and Garak, mainly, as well as Gul Dukat), their presence does not frame McCormack’s work – their presence serves it.
That being said, there is another surprise in store for the readers of this book; for you see, “The Never Ending Sacrifice” is unlike any Star Trek book I have ever read before. I say this not because much of what happens in the story has little to go off of on screen (other than the general flow of events), nor because of the relative lack of familiar faces. I say it because I felt, for the first time, like I was reading a honest-to-goodness Star Trek love story.
“The Never Ending Sacrifice” is, indeed, a multi-faceted love story. Love for country, for family, for heritage, for meaning, and – ultimately – for longed after desires that always seem just beyond the horizon. McCormack populates the book with a broad array of supporting cast members whose arcs are anything but predictable, and whose natures only serve to heighten the interest of the reader as they delve deeper into the tale. Everyone present in this tale is present for a reason. From Rugal’s grandmother – a miserly old witch, to his father, Kotan… all of his friends, contacts, Order-mates. Each one of them has a strong contribution to the overall unity and cohesiveness of the story, and each time that Rugal recalls some example or anecdote from one of them, the reader will be affected too.
Nothing about this book should be taken lightly. Watching the episode “Cardassians” is a good (but not essential) beginning, but it must be remembered that the events therein are only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, when it comes to following Rugal’s life; they define a part of his life, but do not rule him, as the reader will quickly discover.
McCormack’s work demonstrates great passion, creative thought, and an intimate attachment to the characters she created to populate this book. Don’t read this for the battles, the history lessons, or the technical speak… you’ll be disappointed. Read “The Never Ending Sacrifice” to embrace the life of Rugal Pa’Dar on his journeys, and open yourself to look at a Star Trek novel differently than you ever have before.
The official release date for "Never Ending Sacrifice" is August 25th. You can pre-order it from Amazon.
"DS9: The Never-Ending Sacrifice" (available for pre-order)
UP NEXT: Voyager, Enterprise & Meyer
DS9 isn’t the only show getting two books this year. Star Trek Voyager was revisited in March with "Full Circle" and coming up next month Kirsten Beyer returns with "Voyager: Unworthy". That book will be followed in October by the Enterprise trade paperback "Romulan War: Beneath The Raptor’s Wing" by Michael A. Martin. Look for early previews and reviews of both of those books in the next couple of months.
And in the world of non-fiction Trek related books, next week expect our review of Nicholas Meyer’s new memoir "The View From the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood". We will also have an interview with Meyer as well. (see our exclusive excerpt).