Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Plagues of Night

Typhon Pact: Plagues of Night by David R. George III
Published June 2012
Read June 5th, 2012

Previous book (Typhon Pact): The Struggle Within (e-book)
Next book (Typhon Pact): Raise the Dawn

Click to purchase Plagues of Night from!

Spoilers ahead for Plagues of Night and the post-Nemesis TrekLit continuity, especially previous novels in the Typhon Pact series!

From the back cover:

The first novel in a two-part Typhon Pact adventure set in the universe of Star Trek: The Next Generation!
In the wake of the final Borg invasion, which destroyed entire worlds, cost the lives of sixty-three billion people, and struck a crippling blow to Starfleet, six nations adversarial to the United Federation of Planets--the Romulan Star Empire, the Breen Confederacy, the Tholian Assembly, the Gorn Hegemony, the Tzenkethi Coalition, and the Holy Order of the Kinshaya--joined ranks to form the Typhon Pact.
For almost three years, the Federation and the Klingon Empire, allied under the Khitomer Accords, have contended with the nascent coalition on a predominantly cold-war footing.  But as Starfleet rebuilds itself, factions within the Typhon Pact grow restive, concerned about their own inability to develop a quantum slipstream drive to match that of the Federation.  Will leaders such as UFP President Bacco and RSE Praetor Kamemor bring about a lasting peace across the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, or will the cold war between the two alliances deepen, and perhaps even lead to an all-out shooting war?

My Thoughts:

Plagues of Night, the first book in a new duology by David R. George III, continues the Star Trek universe-wide story of the Typhon Pact, an alliance of six nations traditionally considered hostile to the Federation.  Begun in the 2009 novel A Singular Destiny by Keith R.A. Decandido, the Typhon Pact storyline has tied together the modern Star Trek universe like no other before.  The story was continued in 2010 and 2011 with four novels under the Typhon Pact banner, which served to tell stories using characters from The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Titan, as well as an e-book novella written by Christopher L. Bennett.  David R. George penned one of these novels, Rough Beasts of Empire, published in January of 2011.  In Rough Beasts, we see the story of Captain Sisko and his trials and tribulations as he fears the prophecy about knowing nothing but sorrow is coming to pass.  By now, most fans of the Star Trek novel continuity know of the arguments and gripes that surrounded this novel.  Many people felt that the decisions made by Sisko in Rough Beasts of Empire were incorrect and "out-of-character."  I happen to heartily disagree with this assessment, and consider myself a big fan of Rough Beasts and David R. George's talents as a writer.  Of course I don't agree with Sisko's actions.  However, were they in-character and realistic?  Yes, I believe so.  However, this review is not for Rough Beasts of Empire, but its follow-up, Plagues of Night.

In Plagues of Night, we see Captain Sisko making the best of his life apart from Kassidy and their daughter, Rebecca.  As captain of the USS Robinson, Sisko is slowly becoming more open with his crew and adjusting to the new reality of his life.  I felt that Plagues of Night did a better job than Rough Beasts of explaining Sisko's motivations, and I was more easily able to empathize with his decisions.  We see more of his thought processes and what led him to make the decisions he did.  We also see a continuation of Spock's story from Rough Beasts.  As the unification movement gains ground on Romulus, Spock finds himself a less-integral part of that movement.  Has the time come for him to move on to other endeavors?

One thing I really appreciated about Plagues of Night was the continuation of the story of Deep Space Nine.  DS9 has, in my opinion, gotten short shrift in the novel line of late.  The post-series world of Deep Space Nine was one of the highlights of the last decade of Trek fiction, and to see it shunted aside and seemingly ignored saddened me.  Thankfully, with Plagues of Night, DS9 once again takes center stage in the affairs of the Alpha Quadrant.  There have been many changes in the intervening years, and I'm eager to see the new paradigm play itself out.

Plagues of Night not only continued the story from Rough Beasts of Empire, but also Sarina and Bashir's story from Zero Sum Game and also deals with the repercussions of Andor's secession from the Federation in Paths of Disharmony.  I have to admit that I wasn't expecting such a wide-ranging story.  I expected Spock and Sisko's stories from Rough Beasts to be followed up on, but instead, Plagues of Night features a story that draws from elements from nearly all of the previous Typhon Pact novels.  David R. George has an ability to capture the reader's attention and truly draw them in to an immersive story.  His grasp on the politics and workings of the Alpha Quadrant is impressive to say the least.  I truly admire his ability to keep track of multiple story lines and weave them all into a cohesive narrative.  Added to the mix is a stunning, heart-stopping climax that, of course, ends in a cliffhanger!  The conclusion to this story is being released in less than three weeks, but it still feels like too long to wait.  June 26th can't get here quickly enough!

Final Thoughts:

An excellent story that continues the Typhon Pact story in a realistic, unexpected way.  I felt like the characters were in real jeopardy, and I find myself eagerly awaiting the next installment.  With Plagues of Night, David R. George III has cemented himself in my mind as one of the essential authors of the Star Trek book line.

More about Plagues of Night:

Also by David R. George III:

My next read:

There are still a number reviews waiting to be published, and I should be able to get to them in the next few weeks.  Look for reviews of The Rings of Tautee, Ex Machina, and Do Comets Dream?, coming soon.

1 comment:

  1. I finally got around to reading this (thanks to the bookstore mesing up my order and I ended up getting Raise the Dawn four days before this one) and I have really mixed feelings about this book. I have not read any DS9-relaunch novels before, or even any of the typhon pact novels, and in that sense this was not a ideal starting point. I found myself not caring about some of the characters that were (apparently) introduced in the DS9-relaunch, on the other hand I did like the new security chief of DS9 immediately, even though his introduction was very brief. I also was very fond of how Quark/Ro relationship was depicted.

    The sense of danger that you mentioned, I wholeheartedly agree. I found myself feeling afraid for the fate of both Typhon Pact members as well as all of the Starfleet members. It was interesting to realize while reading that I hoped for the "bad guys" to survive as their fear was so well written. I also liked that the story visits so much of previous Star Trek literature as it brings a greater sense of connectivity inside the universe. I did not get everything that was mentioned about what has happened previously (as I have not read those books) but it was really great that there were some references to stories that I had read, such as the assassination attempt of Sela in Indistinguishable From Magic. The story was intriguing.

    But not all was well written in my opinion. I found that the pacing was a bit off for most of the book. As the book started with high action, the pace slowed to a near standstill for pretty much most of the book. I do understand that the author was going for a detectivestory-like suspence, but it seemed like the story did not flow forward as seamlessly as I would have liked. there were some parts in the story where I felt that there was some action just so that the pacing would not seem so slow. Also in the end it seemed like the fast action was not on the same book anymore, because of the way the flow of the story changed so radically.

    So all in all, I did like it but I had a lot of issues as well. Not exactly a good point to jump in to the story DS9 and Typhon Pact as there was so much backstory that I did not know, but still the overall story worked well enough that I'm glad that I read it. Not the best Star Trek book I've read, but good read still regardless of the negatives. Started reading Raise the Dawn already as I really had to know what happens next.