This week’s Library Computer looks at "Night of the Wolves" a personal journey into the heart of the Cardassian occupation of Bajor and the second book in the ‘Terok Nor DS9 prequel trilogy.’ Plus William Shatner talks about his new autobiography, "Up Til Now".
REVIEW: "NIGHT OF THE WOLVES"
S. D. Perry and Britta Dennison’s "Night of the Wolves" continues the tale of the Occupation, first started in James Swallow’s "Day of the Vipers", but but their story is worlds apart — and with good reason. Seventeen years have passed since the events of “Day of the Vipers” and the Cardassian Occupation is now fully underway. The land is being systematically ravaged to improve life for the people of Cardassia, but in the process, the Bajorans are being stripped of everything that is important to them – their homes, families, livelihoods, and -in some cases- even their faith.
It is in this setting that we encounter individuals of importance to the future of the Deep Space Nine storyline – leaders like the future Kai, Opaka, and the Cardassian prefect, Dukat. Don’t worry, though, if Bajoran religiosity and Cardassian mining operations aren’t your cup of tea. “Night of the Wolves” features characters from all walks of life whose individual stories help to provide an outstanding counterpoint to the over-arching storyline.
In many respects, “Night of the Wolves” carries within it some strong parallels to the Inter-testamental Period of Jewish history, a time where prophecy from God was silent, the Jews fractured into several religious sub-groups, and the people of Judea fought for their independence. This parallel allowed me to look at the role of religion in Bajoran society in a new way, and served one of the chief purposes of a prequel – to enrich the subsequent events with deeper meaning and understanding.
Perry and Dennison hit the nail on the head as they placed words on the lips of their Bajoran characters. Virtually every Bajoran feels genuine and complete, without resort to stereotype or cliché. Kira Meru (Kira Nerys’ mother), however, stands out as an exception. One would think that her relationship to Nerys would make a major difference in the story, but amazingly I walked away with a total lack of sympathy for her. Those reading the Terok Nor trilogy without a background in the series itself may experience her differently, but at least for this reader, any attempts to make her a more sympathetic presence in the story flew right past me without impact.
The Cardassians, however, are a bit more hit-and-miss. Dukat feels far more predictable than he did in Swallow’s tome, and Damar comes across as a man who lacks both creativity and motivation, save what little his personal hatreds can generate. Natima Lang, a Cardassian journalist, becomes an interesting and strong figure throughout. She puts a new spin on how the reader views Cardassians, and appears to be taking readers on a journey (one that is full realized when continuing her arc through her guest spot in the second season DS9 episode “Profit and Loss” as well as her future visits to Bajoran space in the Deep Space Nine relaunch series) as she looks more and more deeply into the soul of Cardassia.
In spite of some uneven writing, “Night of the Wolves” remains a compelling and interesting look into the foundation of the Deep Space Nine story. Each individual who holds a place in the tale takes you on a personal journey with them as they encounter the Occupation from both sides, socially, politically, and religiously. The shortcomings of the writing are definitely smoothed out by the power of the story itself.
"Star Trek – Terok Nor – Night of the Wolves" is available now from Amazon
Shatner on new Autobiography
In a new ShatnerVision blog, William Shatner answer’s a question (submitted by TrekMovie’s John Tenuto) about his upcoming autobiography "Up Til Now" due out in May (keep an eye out for John’s review in a few weeks).
Next Week: Back to the Future
We’ll delve into the archives with a retro review of Vonda N. McIntyre’s “Enterprise: The First Adventure”.