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.


  1. Good episode!

    {SPOILERS below for anyone reading who hasn't read the entire trilogy}

    I think you guys may have missed a bit of dialog from Sisko about Odo accusing Quark of murder. At one point in book one Sisko tells Arla that he thinks that Odo is "enjoying this chance to make him sweat" and that "by appearing to think that Quark is guilty, Odo's making the real murderer feel overconfident." No one actually accuses Quark of killing the two Cardassians found dead later on either; Quark just freaks out because he (rightfully) feels persecuted.

    "In medias res" is the term that you were looking for, I believe.

    Oh, and Base wasn't really half Klingon. Vash says that that would be impossible "due to physical differences." Base is just ticked off because he's so ugly that people make that impossible assumption to explain his physiognomy.

    This was a second reading for me. I wasn't crazy about it the first time I read it. I think it was probably because I read it at the same time that I was tearing through the DS9 Relaunch books and those books are tough to beat. I enjoyed this trilogy much more on the second go around. In fact, I had such a hard time putting it down that i read the whole thing in a day and a half.
    I think you guys are right about Jake sounding a little young and Kira sounding like a season 1 version of herself, but I still think the Reeves-Stevenses handled all of the main cast very well. As you guys pointed out, Kai Winn was written perfectly. I also really liked the scenes between Jake and Nog ("The Revenge!") as well as the way the relationship between Worf and Jadzia was portrayed.


    - After all this time I still don't really understand the motivations of any branch of the Prophets

    - I have no idea what the motivations of the Grigari were

    - Religious fanatic Dukat just doesn't work for me. It's a waste of the series best villain.

    - Base. Terrible character. Book one had too many Ferengi jokes.

    - Book two was my favorite of the trilogy, but damn there was so much cool stuff going on that it was hard to keep up.

    - Book three had too much technobabble. It was high quality technobabble but still. Even though it felt like 75% of the book was an explanation of what was going on I don't think I still have a firm grasp on a lot of it. The stuff with Vic for instance. Hell, I don't even know if there was actually a second timeline and if there was whether it survived or ever existed.

    - J + G's love of Trek really shines through in their novels, however, I think this leads to a "kitchen sink" approach to their plots that I don't always enjoy. I find it distracting when so many elements of Trek lore get brought into a story, especially when there isn't enough space to do them justice.

  2. (Continued)

    This should have been more than a trilogy. This could have easily been a five or six book series.

    Dream scenario:

    Book One: Pretty much stick with the original novel, but cut out a chunk of the murder investigation plot. Replace those bits with some of the early parts of The War of the Prophets to establish our heroes in their new timeline.

    Book Two: The History of the Bajoran Ascendancy. Weyoun's trip to Grigari space, some Grigari worldbuilding, and a comprehensive look at the political/religious/cultural strife on Bajor as Weyoun takes over. Destruction of Earth and Enterprise.
    Book Three: Project Looking Glass. Martok and the fall of the Klingon Empire.

    Book Four: Project Guardian. Voyager crew and Borg allies vs the Grigari.

    Book Five: Project Phoenix. Picard, Nog, Tom Riker, and Romulan intrigue. Keep a lot of what we saw in War of the Prophets.

    Book Six: A little less technobabble and little more characterization. Give Dukat, Weyoun, and Commander Arla more depth.

    I love these characters. I didn't realize how much I missed spending time with them until I started reading the first book. There are some flaws for sure, but overall this was a very entertaining read.

    I'll give this one 3 "Quark Howard Final Offer Eye Gouges" out of 5.