Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Raise the Dawn
David R George III
After the disastrous events in the Bajoran system, Captain Benjamin Sisko must confront the consequences of the recent choices he has made in his life. At the same time, the United Federation of Planets and its Khitomer Accords allies have come to the brink of war with the Typhon Pact. While factions within the Pact unsuccessfully used the recent gestures of goodwill—the opening of borders and a joint Federation-Romulan exploratory mission—to develop quantum-slipstream drive, they have not given up their goals. Employing a broad range of assets, from Romulus to Cardassia, from Ab-Tzenketh to Bajor, they embark on a dangerous new plan to acquire the technology they need to take control of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. While UFP President Bacco and Romulan Praetor Kamemor work feverishly to reestablish peace, Captains Sisko, Jean-Luc Picard, and Ro Laren stand on the front lines of the conflict . . . even as a new danger threatens the Bajoran wormhole as it once more becomes a flashpoint of galactic history.
Warning: This review contain spoilers that potentially spoil all of the Deep Space Nine and Typhon Pact books up until this point… and then spoils this book… so tread carefully if that matters to you.
This book is a direct follow-up to Plagues of Night, picking up a fraction of a second after that novel finished. Plagues of Night was easily one of the best Star Trek books that I’ve ever read. Raise the Dawn totally blew Plagues of Night out of the water.
I don’t even know where to begin with this because I am so totally in awe of all that happened. I guess let’s start at the beginning… Deep Space Nine has been destroyed. The very final sentence of Plagues of Night, and the very first sentence of Raise the Dawn, is something to the tune of “Deep Space Nine blew up.”
Let’s back up a bit. Up until this novel, the DS9 crew has undergone a diaspora of sorts over the past several years. Sisko, Kasidy, and their daughter Rebecca moved to Bajor — but then, terrified of the Prophets’ warning of a life of sorrow if he stays with Kasidy, Sisko leaves his family and ventures far off. Kira leaves DS9 to become a vedek. Ezri Dax leaves to become captain of the Aventine. Thirishar, an Andorian character that joined in the book series, has left for Andoria. Odo has rejoined the Founders, but the Founders have since had a crisis of faith and disbanded as a people, entering into their own diaspora. O’Brien, who left with his family for Earth at the end of the TV series, moved to Cardassia to help with rebuilding. Nog left for a different ship. Elias Vaughn, also a new character to the books, lies braindead but still barely breathing in a hospital bed after the Borg invasion. And Bashir remained on the station, which is now under the command of Captain Ro Laren (from ST:TNG).
Over this book and the previous, a rogue faction of the Typhon Pact is trying to steal Dominion technology to allow them to create a slipstream to match the power of the Federation. That’s the plot — rather simple. The story, though, is amazingly complex.
This book and its predecessor wove together an expansive tale that included almost all of the characters — only Thirishar and and Dax were absent, but everyone else was in there. This story, over the course of events, brings everyone back together. That is HIGHLY risky. Doing such a thing comes dangerously close to fanwank — doing it cuz it’ll please the fans. But George pulls it off expertly. This tale could ONLY be told if it included everyone. He tied together so many amazing threads with such delicacy that any other writer would have made an absolute mess of it.
In this book, a character made a very interesting observation. DS9 originally stood as a symbol of oppression — for when the Cardassians occupied Bajor, DS9 (or Terok Nor, as it was known back then) was the ore processing facility that the Bajorans were enslaved on. Over the years, that symbol evolved from one of oppression to one of hope. It is a station on the cusp of the wormhole, the Celestial Temple, and is the symbol of all of the progress and development that Bajor has undergone as they became a strong and vital people. So when DS9 was destroyed, the only option possible is to rebuild the station. If it had been still a symbol of oppression, then to rebuild would be iffy — but because it was now a symbol of hope, rebuilding is the only option. It’ll be a Starfleet station, of course, but it’ll still be Deep Space Nine.
Deep Space Nine has always been about more than the station and more than the characters. Any other Star Trek series depends on the people and the ship — DS9 does not. DS9 is about the place — the wider place — the wormhole, the Gamma Quadrant, Bajor, Cardassia. DS9 is also about people — not specific people, but about humanity (even in alien form), about morality, destiny, choices, and healing. It is about hope. DS9 is about hope for the future, hope from the ashes of ruin, and hope for peace and healing.
Of all the series, DS9 is the most literary and the most thematic. David R George III understood DS9 to its core. He didn’t write an exciting story that could have easily been told using, say, the Enterprise as a focus — no, he wrote a story that could ONLY be told in the Deep Space Nine setting. And Deep Space Nine, as mentioned above, is about far more than the station. The station does not even exist in this novel, yet it was thoroughly a Deep Space Nine novel — a novel that could not possibly be told with any other crew or any other ship.
George deeply understood the themes, as they are woven deep in this tapestry. We have hope — even in the midst of death and destruction. We have grief and mourning — but we also have joy and love.
And we have darkness — but we also have light.