Friday, January 11, 2019

The War of the Prophets

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Millennium, Book II of III
The War of the Prophets by Judith & Garfield Reeves- Stevens
Published March 2000
Read September 25th 2018

Previous book (Millennium): The Fall of Terok Nor

Next book (Millennium): Inferno

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 War of the Prophets and the Millennium trilogy

From the back cover:
The crew of the Starship Defiant is trapped in a future in which the Pah-wraiths have triumphed--as the greatest epic adventure in the sage of Deep Space 9 continues...

In the last days of the twenty-fourth century, caught in the crossfire of the apocalyptic confrontation between the Bajoran prophets and the Pah-wraiths, Captain Benjamin Sisko and his crew face what might be the final millennium. On one side, the Pah-wraiths' new Emissary--Kai Weyoun--promises his followers that when Bajor's two Celestial Temples are restored as one, all beings in the universe will ascend to a new and glorious existence with the True Prophets. On the other side, the scientists of Starfleet predict that when the two Bajoran wormholes merge, they will create a Warp 10 shock wave of infinite destructive power.

With the Federation on the brink of collapse, and Starfleet consumed by Admiral Jean-Luc Picard's obsessive quest to build the largest starship ever conceived, Sisko enters the ultimate race against time for the biggest stakes of all--the survival of the universe itself.

My thoughts:

In The War of the Prophets, the second book of the Millennium trilogy by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Sisko and the crew of the Defiant find themselves catapulted 25 years into the future after having witnessed the destruction of Deep Space Nine by the opening of the red wormhole, created after the three lost orbs of Jalbador were brought together. (Whew, what a sentence!)

What follows is our characters navigating a dark future in which Armageddon is mere days away, the Federation has suffered enormous setbacks, and a religious fanatic is hastening the end of existence by leading the Bajoran people in a struggle against every other major power in the known galaxy. This religious fanatic is Weyoun, who has turned away from his worship of the Founders as gods and instead come to know the love of the Pah-Wraiths, who are now considered to be the "True Prophets" of Bajor. To complicate things, these are not the Pah-Wraiths who are trapped in Bajor's fire caves, but rather ones who live inside the red wormhole. The fire cave Pah-Wraiths still exist, and a crazed Gul Dukat serves as their emissary.

The remnants of Starfleet have committed all of their resources to the Phoenix project, an ambitious plan spearheaded by Admiral Jean-Luc Picard to send a revolutionary new timeship 25,000 years into the past on a mission to ensure the destruction of Bajor and secure the future. With the crew from the Defiant having split up, half of them are with Weyoun and the Bajoran Ascendancy, while the other half are with what remains of Starfleet along with Admiral Picard and Captain Nog. One thing I really enjoyed about this novel was how Nog's character was written. He has lived the past 25 years with hardship and regret, which has shaped the man he has become. There are some great scenes between him and Jake, reunited after what has been many years from Nog's perspective.

The War of the Prophets shows us a possible future, featuring Captain Nog, a man who is weighed down by the burdens of a dark past.

Sisko's role as the emissary of the "False Prophets" means that Weyoun keeps him and his crew alive while the pieces are put into place to fulfill a prophecy that will bring about the end of existence. Weyoun intends to bring the two wormholes together, which will apparently bring all beings together in a new existence with the "True Prophets," but will actually cause the end of reality as we know it.

The storyline in this novel is quite complicated, something I've discovered is a hallmark of the Millennium trilogy (a phenomenon which will come to a head in book three, Inferno). Still, the Reeves-Stevenses juggle all of the various plots quite expertly. Each of the characters have a moment to shine in this story, including Vash (who was aboard the Defiant when it was sent to the future). The final fates of Vash, Picard, and Nog are a fascinating aspect of the story, and while it seems they may be lost forever, Vash seems to intimate that she can hitch a ride with Q if a future story needs her in another role at some point!

One aspect of this trilogy that I am appreciating is that each novel in it has felt complete. While of course the entire story is told over the three novels, each one still has a beginning, middle, and end, and each installment feels different from the other two. They are distinct chapters within the overarching story. Sometimes, multi-book stories feel like each novel has an arbitrary stopping point in order to split it up among the books, but not so with Millennium. The War of the Prophets has a distinct story that is wrapped up within its pages, which feels very different from the story in The Fall of Terok Nor, but still a continuation of the main elements.

Final thoughts:

I'm very happy that covering these novels on the Literary Treks podcast has finally afforded me the opportunity to read them. This second installment was a lot of fun, with a glimpse at a dark future that our heroes will have to somehow prevent from taking place. Lots of great cameos (including Thomas Riker) and with a role to play for each of the characters, The War of the Prophets is an excellent continuation of the Millennium trilogy. I found myself wanting to pick up book three, Inferno, immediately, but unfortunately there were other novels to read for the podcast before I could get to it. Definitely excited to see how this series concludes!

More about The War of the Prophets:

Also by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens:

My next read:

Next up is my review of TNG: Ship of the Line by Diane Carey!

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