Troubled waters (uh, space-lanes?) divide the Federation and its partners from the Typhon Pact. Can David R. George III bridge them in his new novel “Star Trek: Typhon Pact – Plagues of Night”? The Trek Movie Review follows.
REVIEW: STAR TREK: TYPHON PACT – PLAGUES OF NIGHT
by David R. George III
Massmarket paperback – 400 pages
PocketBooks – April 2012 – $7.99
In the wake of the events chronicled in the five previous Typhon Pact books, things seem to be at an understandably deep impasse on the interstellar scene. But when the Romulan Praetor begins suggesting some significant changes to the Pact’s relationship with its Khitomer Accord neighbors, all kinds of events begin to unfold, ultimately leading to a climactic encounter at the Bajoran Wormhole that may well decide the future of relations between the two powers.
As the new Typhon Pact novel, “Plagues of Night” opens, author David R. George III takes us on a bit of a retrospective tour of the events from the preceding Typhon Pact books. While this has the effect of bringing new readers up to speed (and refreshing the minds of those who have read the preceding works), it gives a very slow starting pace to the story. While many of the revisits include interesting tidbits that one might consider to be a ‘behind the scenes’ look at both the immediate past (as well as a precursor to events forthcoming later in the book), they feel easily dismissed and, unfortunately, utterly pedestrian.
The first portion of the book, in essence, feels soulless… but, fortunately, this situation doesn’t continue indefinitely. After the rehash of things past, the pace skips any kind of transition and blisters right into overdrive. The change of pace is rather jarring, and doesn’t feel quite right – though, fortunately, the soul returns to the writing in a highly charismatic way. While the pace feels off, and the end feels rushed, this is somewhat mitigated by knowing that, within a month, the second part of the story will be in my hands.
In our exploration of DS9 and the state of affairs as the Typhon Pact continues its rise, we are given a good deal of backstory on what has happened on the station over the years. George engages DS9 almost as a living entity, and the book is the better for it. Its television and literary (relaunch) history are well mined for emotional power and personal connectivity, all of which is very good… but which leads to something that simply must happen. Some story lines need to finally be taken care of.
There is nothing spectacular about the story lines which George sets to resolving. Elias Vaughn’s ongoing arc has been at a standstill for the past several years, serving to further Prynn’s development in the relaunch. “Plagues of Night” sets into motion the resolution of his case, as well as that of Ben Sisko who, for the past year, has been away from his wife and daughter, refusing to be near them for fear that something truly terrible might happen to them.
In the case of Vaughn’s storyline, a simple death seems anticlimactic, and I can’t help but feel that something odd needs to take place… should take place… before his character is finally retired from the pages of Trek lit. On the flip side, Sisko’s story is crying out for a very human resolution. Oddity wouldn’t serve his familial relationship well – though, given his years of experiences with the Prophets, one would have to wonder if an ‘orb experience’ would be ‘mundane’ enough to close out this chapter of his life.
The overall star of the story, however, is the Typhon Pact’s ongoing efforts to obtain a quantum slipstream drive; and the mission of the Romulan warbird Eletrix becomes, arguably, the focal point of the book. The ship, which is dispatched to the Gamma Quadrant, has a definite agenda – one that is in no way friendly to either the Federation or, apparently, the Romulan Praetor.
Overall, “Plagues of Night” has a lot going on in it, much of it good – serving the ongoing development of the post-TNG era book continuity. Unfortunately, the somewhat scattershot feel of the book leaves the reader with a lack of clear focus (well, at least until the final two or three chapters). There is very little significant personal development on the part of any of the major players in the narrative – Prynn Tenmei being the lone exception; George is interested in the underlying narrative, and in getting the story to its next significant turning point… one he reaches with a bang.
“Plagues of Night” is a bridge piece. It doesn’t really stand on its own, but then again, it doesn’t need to. While it was a mildly disappointing read in some regards, I am hesitant to take it on its own, given the fact that what amounts to part two, “Raise the Dawn” is less than a month away from bookshelves.
"Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Plagues of Night" is available now and "Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Raise the Dawn" comes out at the end of June.
MORE: new and upcoming Star Trek novels
Other recent Star Trek fiction releases Greg Cox’s "Star Trek: The Original Series: The Rings of Time," Dayton Ward’s "Star Trek: That Which Divides" (TrekMovie review), David Mack’s
"Star Trek: Vanguard: Storming Heaven" (TrekMovie review), and Chris Bennett’s "Star Trek: DTI: Forgotten History" (TrekMovie review).
The next novel (following the second part of David R. George III’s Typhon Pact duology), continues the story of Captain Riket and his exploration of the Beta Quadrant. In July Michael A. Martin’s "Star Trek: Titan: Fallen Gods
" due in July.
I cannot wait to read this!! :-)
Have really given up on Trek books, but a shiny cover nonetheless.
I liked it, the setup for Raise The Dawn is intriguing. I agree that there is a LOT going on but to me it played well together.
Still very unhappy with the path the authors have set Sisko upon—but I’m willing to see them play it out.
When are we gonna get new stories set during the series? I ‘m not fan of the post- nemesis contuinity and how the characters were treated or the direction the series are taking. I’m a TNG/DS9 fan and i have gave up all the books. It’s pitty! I want to read more star trek novels but it’s like pocket has closed the door to the fans that simply don’t like their own, non canon interpretation of the star trek. Please hear the fans once in a while. Some books set during the series with beloved and popular characters that don’t appear in the relaunches (Data, Jadzia, Janeway etc) along with these new staff would be a blessing. Diversity is a good thing.
@6 Thank You!
I agree wholeheartly. I’d like to read something like DS9’S Millennium Trilogy. How about a new trilogy or duology set during DS9’s run about the 20th anniversary?
No thanks, I’ll pass. I don’t like the current direction of the Typhon Pact novels and I think it’s time for me to give up the books(at least the 24th century books which is by far my favorite era). Where are the good exloration novels of strange new worlds and new civilizations to boldy go where no man has gone before? It seems that the last few years all we have are war stories and death counts. It’s Star Trek no bsg! I like the old optimistic and fun Star Trek. Even Deep Space Nine which was the most dark series had light-hearted adventures.
I would advise anyone looking for exploration in Star Trek novels to read Titan and Voyager books then. Both of them are away from the Federation right now and not involved with the Typhon Pact much. I personally don’t mind what’s going on with the Federation and Typhon Pact right now as it reminds me of Deep Space Nine which was my favorite series. I also look forward to Voyager and Titan books though as those series have had pretty much the same crew the last few books, as well as exploring the Beta and Delta Quadrants.
Dull boring waste of money and time.
I’ve just finished reading The Count of Monte Cristo, it was intriguing and great fun.
Fun… something these ancillary spin off’s seem to forget.
Star Trek should always be fun.
I will admit up front that I am one of the people that hated RBOE. I hated the way Sisko was portrayed and the way the story glossed over 4 years of DS9 history. It seem that David has listened to some of that criticism and done a lot to help all of this make sense.
This book does a great job of reminding us what has happened in the past of the DS9R and give us some of the answers to how we gotten to this “future” of 4 years. One of the only problems I had with the book was that David will set up some issue like, Worf’s dilemma of what to do about the seemingly duplicitous Romulans, then there is no follow up but, oh he told Picard and it made Picard suspicious. I understand why it is like this, it saves space in the book, but it happens frequently and gets a little annoying not to see the actual conversations and situations that these issues bring up.
The book has this amazing sense of foreboding and fear that is slowly building till the explosive end. Well done! I did figure out most of the story before it was revealed in the story, but I still enjoyed it all coming to a head. David does a wonderful job of weaving the plot treads together into a beautiful tapestry of intrigue and suspense.
Thank you David for your work with Ben and Kasidy. You have really cleared up and cleaned up this story and made it much more palpable. Ben seems to be going through some big changes and I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the conclusion to the story. This is a well crafted story and really brings together the threads of the Typhon Pact series well. David weaves in and out of all of the Pact stories to create a really cohesive whole.
As for the end, I do not believe that we have seen the end of DS9, I am sure that it will survive the explosion (At least I hope so, it’s not a starship that can have another one built and it be the same just with a letter added.)
I read the novel and was delighted by it. I love the direction the Star Trek Litverse is taking.
What’s the future? Starfleet will return to exploration and emergency calls amid a thrilling cold war backdrop. That’s going to happen.
Just war has no sense of wonder, just exploration has little thrill long-term. Having a fierce cold war contains the best of both worlds.
/my 2 cents
This novel does have Picard and Sisko leading exploration missions into the Gamma Quadrant, although the Typhon Pact does figure into it.
Agreed with Markonian completely. The combination of cold war and exploration makes for a great combo of story telling.
I really wish too that they were new novels set during the series for Deep Space Nine, The Next Genaration and Voyager. There are for The Original Series why not for all the series? I couldn’t get through the relaunches, I’ve tried but I couldn’t get used to all the character changes and I’ve missed my favorite characters. Hearing what happened in the novels after I stopped reading them makes me feel even bettter I’ve never read these things.
This is easily the best Typhon Pact novel we’ve had yet, imho. It is a little slow at the start, but I didn’t mind. It was nice to get reacquainted with people.
This felt more like a Star Trek novel than any novel in recent memory has (perhaps with the exception of Christopher Bennett’s first DTI book [haven’t read the second yet]). There is real hope and exploration, and real drama and despair. Assuming Raise the Dawn isn’t dreadful, I think these two will be very highly recommended by me.
#8, I know where you’re coming from and I get it. Fwiw, I would recommend the most recent Voyager relaunch books (lots of really cool exploration there), and actually would recommend “Zero Sum Game,” if you haven’t read it. Yes, it takes Bashir in a darker direction (he does seem redeemed somewhat in PoN), but we learn a *lot* about the Breen in a very cool way.
But Plagues of Night does some real cultural exploration, beyond some actual physical exploration the cosmos. Without spoiling stuff, if you read it, you will see cross-species interactions that you would’ve thought were impossible during the TV shows. Again, in a very cool way.
#5–I do like the relaunches, but agree with you that each year there should be a few books that take place during the season runs of the different series. I’m all for a mix. The relaunches make me feel like part of an exclusive Star Trek club, but it’s good to read a standalone story too.
#9–Agree. Voyager and Titan, while part of the relaunch universe, do have a decidedly exploration bent. I’m glad to see a new Titan book is on it’s way. I was starting to get concerned Titan was gone (kind of like how the Stargazer books just seemed to disappear).
I’m looking forward to reading this. I thought the 4 year gap in DS9 was a bit of an open end that needed some filling in. Glad to hear George tried to fill some of that in.
Oh, I keep throwing this out there, but how about a “Tales of the Romulan War” to fill in some of the missing details left out due to Pocketbooks decision to cut the Romulan War novels short. Like “Tales of the Dominion War”
I’ve personally quite enjoyed the post-Nemesis timeline so far, but I’d love to see some TNG novels set during the series time as well! I miss Data. “That Which Divides” was an excellent TOS adventure and something similar for the TNG crew would fit the bill perfectly.
I loved this book, the best Typhon Pact book so far. Some intriguing imagery and great character work, especially Sisko who seems to be back to the character we know. The cliffhanger ending is great (i’d sort of figured out what it was but really didnt expect it to actually happen) and I cant wait for the second part in a few weeks. The novel was a bit like a Tom Clancy, slow build up then a sudden unrelenting increase of pace. If part two keeps up the momentum then its going to be one heck of a ride. The 24th century novels are taking the universe into new territory, although I agree with some of the other comments that perhaps its time to go and explore brave new worlds a little more often too.
I don’t follow the books nowadays but I would like to have some books set during the series and featuring Jadzia. She’s my favorite character and I miss her for the books.
I really hate what the latest novels did to the characters and to the Star Trek universe. Frankly the only reason I hope we get a new canon material in the prime universe is to reduce the novels. I’d love a reference from Spock prime, if he appears in the new movie, that would throw all the novels out of the widow. Something like “Data was “resurrected” and became the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise in 2380 when Picard became an ambassador to Vulcan” or something similar
No thanks, I ‘ll stick to canon!
I agree about everything you said.
I miss Jadzia too. She was my favorite character from DS9 and I’d love to read a book about her. Or even better a Worf/Jadzia book! They made a hell of a team. In the Millenium books we see them working together and they’re awesome.
Still in the process of reading, but must say– mighty impressed so far.
Mr George has really redeemed himself from his atrocious ‘Rough Beasts of Burden’, actually making the Sisko character sympathetic. (No small feat after he abandoned his wife and child) This is a major 180 degree turn for Mr. George, who obviously read the fan’s harsh critiques, and responded accordingly., (As I recall, I was quite vocal and merciless)
But as I said, still in the process of reading but liking what I’ve read so far.
Thank you, Mr. George.
I haven’t read these novels nor I plan to but I just wanted to say that I wish for the twentieth anniversary of the show’s premiere we could get more stories set in the show’s run featuring the original crew of ds9.
I haven’t read Children of the storm, maybe I should give it a try, but aside that book and perhaps some Titan novels the rest of the 24th century lit is all about space politics, war after war, destruction of whole worlds, character’s angst, drama, desperation, more character angst, death, conflicts and more war.
Where’s the humor, the fun, the excitement, the sense of wonder and adventure? I don’t have a problem with politics and all I’ve mention above but I have a problem when they dominate the Star Trek universe. The series gave us a great number of different types of stories that co existed: we’ve had episodes like Balance of Terror and Best of Both Worlds and Duet and Year of Hell but we’ve also had episodes like The Trouble with Tribbles, Qpid, Darmok, Parallels, Looking for par’mach in all the wrong places etc.
The problem I have with the resent novels is that they take themselves too serious. I’m feeling that the authors give us a doom and gloomy universe just for the sake of that. They have eliminated all the elements from the series that seems unrealistic or over the top by their measures in order to make Star Trek more realistic or adult or more serious. But Star Trek is not suppose to be realistic, is suppose to be imaginative and optimistic. If the authors have no imagination maybe pocket books should hire people who have. I can’t remember when was the last time that I read a novel and made me wish I could be part of the crew and live all these adventures with them, a feeling I have when I’m watching the series.
It would be nice if Pocket Books would publish new novels set during the run of DS9 and TNG. I think all of the TOS novels are currently set during the five year mission.
If they don’t publish a new trilogy/duology set during the series for DS9 20th anniversary (with Jadzia of course) and some new novels taking place before Nemesis (Data for the win) then I’m done with the novels once and for all! There are fans who miss these characters and demand an equal treatment.
If I was an editor for pocket books that would be my ideal line for Star Trek:
Out of the 12 novels we get every year I would have
One TOS novel taking place during the 5 year mission
One “classic era” TNG novel aka the adventures of Enterprise D (with Worf in the crew) or the early Enterprise E adventures (where Data is still alive)
One DS9 novel set during the first 6 years of the show (including Jadzia, Odo, and ‘O Brien)
One VOY novel during her journey in the Delta Quadrant (Janeway is still there and will include Seven and/or Kess)
One ENT novel set before “These are the Voyages” (Trip is still alive, more adventures of the first warp ship)
One novel set in the alternative universe
These novels would vary in themes (exploration, new races, first contacts, espionage etc) and tone.
For the remaining novels I would have:
One lost era TOS (set around the movies)
One VOY novel set in the current continuity
One TNG novel set in the 24th century continuity
One DS9 novel part of the current continuity
(Or instead of one TNG one DS9 I would have a couple crossover novels)
One Titan novel
These would also vary in themes and they could deal with the Typhon Pact or other ongoing issues of this Era.
That would make a total of 11 novels
Last but not least – that would vary by the year – I would have a “what if” novel or a parallel universe novel or a new series or perhaps a 24th century novel outside the current continuity that would tie with Countdown comics and the destruction of Romulus (With Data as the captain of the Enterprise, Picard as ambassador and Worf as a General in the Klingon Defense Forces) or whatever.
That way the fans of the different series and eras (pre series finale / post series finale, prime universe/ new universe) would at least have one novel per year to read.
Instead of what we’ve got this year which was a couple of TOS novels within the 5 year mission, a lost era novel, an ENT post-finale novel, a nu YA novel and all the rest were 24th century post destiny novels.
Dull, boring, the first half was a recap of the previous typhon pact novels.
I want to read more stories taking place during the series and I want more stories with Jadzia! I just finished Time’s enemy and The Millennium trilogy and they were fantastic. Publish more books like these!