Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Fall of Terok Nor

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Millennium, Book I of III
The Fall of Terok Nor by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Published March 2000
Read September 9th 2018

Previous book (Deep Space Nine): The Lives of Dax

Next book (Deep Space Nine): Millennium, Book II of III: The War of the Prophets

Mass-market paperback: | |
E-book (Kindle): | |

All three books in the Millennium trilogy are also available in this omnibus edition:

Trade paperback: | |
E-book (Kindle): | |

Spoilers ahead for The Fall of Terok Nor

From the back cover:
Bajor is in flames. The corridors of Terok Nor echo with the sounds of battle. It is the end of the Cardassian Occupation -- and the beginning of the greatest epic adventure in the saga of Deep Space 9...

Six years later, with the Federation losing ground in its war against the Dominion, the galaxy's greatest smugglers -- including the beautiful and enigmatic Vash -- rendezvous on Deep Space 9. Their objective: a fabled lost Orb of the Prophets unlike any other, rumored to be the key to unlocking a second wormhole in Bajoran space -- a second Celestial Temple. 
Almost immediately, mysterious events plague the station: Odo arrest Quark for murder; Jake and Nog lead Chief O'brien to an eerie holosuite in a section of the station that's not on any schematic; and a Cardassian scientist whom even the Obsidian Order once feared makes an unexpected appearance. With all those events tied to a never-before-told story of the Cardassian withdrawal, Captain Benjamin Sisko faces the most dangerous challenge of his career. Unless he can uncover the secret of the lost Orb, what began with the fall of Terok Nor will end with the destruction of Deep Space 9...or worse.

My thoughts:

The Millennium trilogy is a series of books I had heard a lot about but took a long time to get around to reading. Thankfully, my co-host on the Literary Treks podcast, Bruce Gibson, is a big fan of these books, and made sure to schedule them to cover on the show. Finally, I would be forced to read these books, which have taken up real estate on my bookshelf for quite some time.

There is a lot going on in this story, and the authors drop the reader into the middle of it right away. The characters in the "present day" (towards the end of season 6, between the episodes "The Sound of Her Voice" and "The Tears of the Prophets") are dealing with a number of mysteries: first, the murder of a visiting Andorian named Dal Nortron, the prime suspect for which is Quark. The second mystery arises when two Cardassian bodies are discovered embedded in Deep Space Nine's hull, dating back six years to the end of the Cardassian occupation of Bajor.

The mysteries in The Fall of Terok Nor date back to the Cardassian withdrawal from Bajor, 6 years prior to the main time-frame of the novel.

What follows is a fairly convoluted plot involving the "Red Orbs of Jalbador," which many believe to be a myth. However, they are proven to be anything but when, over the course of the novel, all three orbs are discovered and brought together with disastrous consequences. The novel ends in a cliffhanger when the orbs cause the appearance of a red wormhole which seemingly destroys Deep Space Nine. While many people are still aboard, many are able to escape, including a number of characters aboard the U.S.S. Defiant. However, the Defiant is caught up in the red wormhole and swept 25 years into the future where they are confronted by Captain Thomas Riker of the U.S.S. Opaka, imploring Sisko and his crew to take sides in "The War of the Prophets."

The Fall of Terok Nor is a little difficult to review, given that it is only the first part of a trilogy. There are a lot of story elements set up here, and many of the main characters get an interesting part of the story. Most of the characters are handled very well; Quark's voice, for example, comes through incredibly clearly. However, I had a few issues with some of the characterizations. For example, Jake Sisko, who is 19 years old at the time of this novel, feels like he is written a bit more like an earlier-season version of the character, coming across as a little more "childish" than we're used to at this point. Similarly, there are moments when Major Kira feels more like she does in season 1 or 2 than in season 6: a little more quick to anger and less willing to engage in thoughtful analysis. One final character issue I had: I found it frustrating that Odo was so focused on accusing Quark of murdering Nortron. I feel like Odo usually wouldn't suspect Quark of a crime that serious with a total lack of evidence; cheating, swindling, and petty theft, yes. Murder? I don't think so.

I felt that Odo's dogged belief that Quark committed murder was a bit out-of-character.

These minor character quibbles aside, in my opinion Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens have crafted a superbly compelling start to this trilogy, with mysteries and plot twists that I did not see coming at all. The book held my rapt attention throughout, and when I was finished, it was incredibly difficult to not immediately start reading book 2. Alas, the next book we covered on Literary Treks needed to be read first, so I had to exercise a lot of patience!

The authors' attention to detail is something to behold. Because of the nature of this story, there are a number of plot elements that remain unsolved and mysteries that I am sure will be followed up on in the next two books. I can only imagine the flowchart that they probably had to work from to keep all of the details of the story straight!

Final thoughts:

There were times that the plot felt a little too overloaded, with the characters jumping from situation to situation as the mysteries unfold, but a little more attention to the finer points of a story in order to follow along isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm glad I finally got the chance to read this story, as it has been taunting my from my bookshelf for some time. Thankfully, it didn't disappoint, and I'm happy to report that the reputation this story has from other fans seems to be well-earned, at least at the end of book one. 4/5.

More about The Fall of Terok Nor:

Also by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens:

My next read:

Next up is book 6 of the A Time To series: A Time to Hate by Robert Greenberger.

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