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.
Upcoming Star Trek novels (click to pre-order at Amazon)
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).
I can’t wait. The novels have been on a pretty good roll.
I’m loving the aftermath of the Borg Invasion. They’re all incredibly well written with great characters and emotion. Though, I don’t like how they’ve basically killed off the entire Voyager crew. It’s so hard to keep track of them all.
I haven’t read a Trek novel in a while, but “The Neverending Sacrifice” sounds like one I shouldn’t miss. I love DS9 and this sounds very intriguing.
Thanks for the review. Great job. (Although, I skimmed a couple paragraphs because I don’t want to know too much about this novel before I read it.)
A couple of questions, though: “The Never Ending Sacrifice” was mentioned as a great work of Cardassian literature by Garak in “The Wire”.
Does this book have nothing to do with that? Do they reference the obvious connection between the titles? Obviously this is not the novel Garak referenced (although, I always thought that would be a great target for Pocket Books).
If you have a quick note on that (spoiler free, of course), I’m really curious if they are related.
This sounds a lot like Diane Duane’s “The Romulan Way”, and that book is completely brilliant. I’m sold.
And the Romulan War novel looks badass.
Gotta read it…
Many Trek books reference great works of literature by dozens of historic authors. Since this book is mainly about Cardassia, my guess is that it’s one of those easter eggs that shows up throughout Trek novels. Most people would never catch that, but for those who do, it provides a little link to Trek’s past.
Who all is dead from voyager?
“The Never Ending Sacrifice is a Cardassian novel, which Elim Garak thought was the “finest Cardassian novel ever written.” Archetypical of the repetitive epic genre of Cardassian literature, The Never Ending Sacrifice describes seven generations of a Cardassian family, all of whom live selfless lives of devotion to the state.
Garak recommended the book to Julian Bashir in 2370, who thought it was perhaps a trifle repetitive. (DS9: “The Wire”)”
Doesn’t seem like the two novels are related, which is a shame.
As an old-school Trekkie/Trek book reader, I am baffled as to why these books should garner any interest beyond true DS9 aficionados, of which there are few.
Cardassians, to me, are, like the Kazon in VOY, just Klingons in different makeup. If I buy a DS9 novel, I want it to be an adventure about Captain Sisko and Odo and Bashir with Jadzia and Worf & O’Brien along for the ride on the Defiant while Quark and Morn nearly destroy the station to the chagrin of Kira, etc.
I loved the older race-centric books about Vulcans, Romulans and Klingons, but I never saw the Cardassians as worthy of a book. Nor the Bajorans, or the Breen. If it weren’t for Marc Alaimo and Andrew Robinson’s over-the-top performances, they would have been simply annoying.
I think I’ll pop “Cardassians” into the DVD player on this lazy Sunday and give it a whirl.
I absolutely loved McCormack’s earlier DS9 novel “Hollow Men”. It wasn’t a pageturner, per se, but it took a very interesting look at the Dominion War and whatnot. I’m into politics, heheh. That, and it was VERY well-written!
And I gotta say: I think the Cardassians pretty much made DS9 into what it was. I don’t know if I would’ve gotten as into it as I did without them there. ;3
So, I’ll probably check this out. Gotta see if it’s in the library!
Excited about the Romulan War novel. I think it would be nice to see a mini series or animated take on it as well.
4- As spoiler free as I can be, the ‘masterpiece’ is referenced and plays something of a role in the book.
The Never Ending Sacrifice has been at my local Barnes & Nobles since late July. Where’d the Aug 25 release date come from?
@11: Ah, but then it’s all dependant on the writer to flesh them out beyond the portrayals they got stuck with on TV. A really good writer is perfectly capable of writing a truly gripping Kazon story, just as a bad writer can do a terrible Klingon novel.
“I buy a DS9 novel, I want it to be an adventure about Captain Sisko and Odo [etc]…”
You got that all the time on TV anyways! :D
I’m not dissing you or anything — I just wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on a good read just cause it doesn’t sound like a “proper” Trek story.
RE: release date
We report the official release date
This is also the date that Amazon uses. Sometimes some stores put books out early, but we try and time our reviews for the week of the official release.
Thanks for that Anthony. For people wanting this book, it doesn’t read like a normal Star Trek novel, but it is very good.
I picked up Nicholas Meyer’s autobiography over the weekend and have gotten thru about half of it. Rather than just focusing on the Trek parts, I decided to read it thru from the beginning.
It’s been a good read so far. Meyer has a very conversational and self-deprecating style that makes the text accessible and keeps the reader interested in the narration.
In reading his very lengthy chapter on TWOK, its amazing just how little he knew or cared about Trek when he took on the job. Even as he wrote the script and filmed the movie, I got the impression that he was doing it from instinct and that any similarities to past Trek were more coincidence rather than the result of planning. He clearly didn’t care much for the old show (though he claims to have gained an appreciation as the years wore on) and would have made TWOK even more different from what came before if he’d had the budget.
Based on what I’ve read so far, there really isn’t that much info in the book that I wasn’t previously aware of, and he does get some facts wrong (little things like saying there were 67 episodes of the original series instead of 79) but it has still been a good read. Looking forward to finishing it off in the next day or two and reading about his experiences on Treks IV and VI as well as his other projects.
Nothing here yet about the Trek line’s current editor, Margaret Clark, being fired from Pocket Books? Leaves me wondering if the 24th Century novels will wind up getting the ax as well, leaving just the line based on the new movie.