Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dawn of the Eagles

Star Trek: Terok Nor (A Saga of The Lost Era)
Dawn of the Eagles, 2360 - 2369 by S.D. Perry & Britta Dennison
Published June 2008
Read October 24th 2014

Previous book (Terok Nor): Night of the Wolves
Next book (The Lost Era): One Constant Star

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Spoilers ahead for Dawn of the Eagles and the Terok Nor miniseries!

From the back cover:
As violence all across Bajor continues to escalate, Cardassian forces tighten their grip on the captive planet, driving back the resistance at every turn; but on Terok Nor and elsewhere, the winds of change are stirring -- the beginnings of a hurricane that will alter the landscape of the Occupation. And while secret dealings, shifting alliances, and personal demons buoy the wings of revolution, a mysterious shape-shifting life form begins a journey that will decide the fate of worlds.

My thoughts:

In the first book of the Terok Nor trilogy, Day of the Vipers, James Swallow presented us with the seeds of the occupation: the initial contact and eventual entrenchment of the Cardassians on Bajor. In book two, Night of the Wolves, Perry and Dennison show us a world under the heel of Cardassian authority: bowed, but not completely broken. It is in this final book that the future of Bajor is to be determined. Will this world and her people bow to Cardassian rule and continue down the path of enslavement and eventual extermination, or will the Bajorans finally come together to throw off the shackles of Cardassian oppression once and for all? And, perhaps more importantly, how many more tired literary cliches can I include in this review? Read on to find out!

Natima Lang and Quark
As in the previous novel, there is a lot going on in Dawn of the Eagles. The story follows the paths of a great many characters as the final years of the Cardassian occupation are chronicled. There are a number of stand-outs: Kira and the Shakaar resistance cell dealing with the extreme conditions created by the anti-Bajoran sensor system implemented by the Cardassians was a compelling tale. Natima Lang, the Cardassian propagandist-turned-dissident and her ill-fated relationship with Ferengi bartender Quark was also a treat to read about. The authors obviously have a firm grasp on the characters in their story, and do an excellent job of making their motivations and actions seem realistic. However, my favorite character in this part of the trilogy was Odo.

In Dawn of the Eagles, we learn the true extent of Odo's role in the final years of the Cardassian occupation. Were it not for Odo, some of the Bajoran resistance's greatest triumphs would never have come to pass. We see this young and in some ways naive Changeling on a journey that will have him work for the Cardassians on Terok Nor, yet never truly be called that most dreaded of titles: "collaborator."

Odo as head of security on Terok Nor under the Cardassians.

At this point in his journey, Odo is still quite inexperienced in his dealings with "solids," an aspect of his character that the authors illustrate very well. Often perplexed at humanoid behavior, Odo sees his way through the world with an overriding sense of justice, and applies that philosophy to every situation he comes across. While Gul Dukat dreams of turning Odo to the Cardassian cause, Odo himself only sees that idea of justice as his master. It is fascinating to see him confront the situation on Bajor and Terok Nor, and witnessing these events through his eyes lends a new perspective to the Cardassian occupation.

As I mentioned above, there is a great deal happening in the pages of this novel. We see a myriad of plot threads tied up, and most importantly, we see characters we've grown to love over seven years of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and beyond at the beginning of their journeys. Readers who want to understand the motivations of characters such as Kira Nerys, Odo, Kai Opaka, and even Gul Dukat will love where this series takes their characters.

Final thoughts:

An eminently satisfying conclusion to the Terok Nor trilogy. While the final push by the Bajoran resistance leading to the Cardassian withdrawal felt a little rushed, the true heart of the story was what really counted: the characters. Perry and Dennison have a great feel for what makes these characters tick, and that expertise came through on every page of Dawn of the Eagles.

As a whole, the Terok Nor trilogy was a rewarding read for someone like me, who is a very big fan of Deep Space Nine. This trilogy of books makes an excellent companion piece to both the Deep Space Nine television series and the "relaunch" post-finale novel series.

Also by S.D. Perry & Britta Dennison:

My next read:

Next up is the resolution to The Left Hand of Destiny by J.G. Hertzler and Jeffrey Lang!

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