Friday, February 22, 2019


Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Millennium, Book III of III
Inferno by Judith & Garfield Reeves- Stevens
Published April 2000
Read October 26th 2018

Previous book (Millennium): The War of the Prophets

Next book (Deep Space Nine): #27: A Stitch in Time

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:
Now begins the final battle of the Prophets and the Pah-wraiths within the nightmarish realm of nonlinear time -- as the greatest epic adventure in the saga of Deep Space 9 -- reaches its staggering conclusion.... 
As predicted in ancient Bajoran texts, the Celestial Temple has been restored, ending normal space-time existence for all except Captain Benjamin Sisko and those trapped on the Starship Defiant and the Klingon warship Boreth. But as apocalyptic war rages between the Prophets and the Pah-wraiths, one last chance for survival beckons -- a return to Deep Space 9.

Yet, in the realm of nonlinear time, it appears that there are two possible times at which Sisko and his allies can turn to the station: on the day of the Cardassian Withdrawal, or on the day six years later when DS9 was destroyed. But which choice will lead to the triumph of the Prophets? And which to eternal victory for the Pah-wraiths? With time literally running out and the fate of the universe in his hands, Sisko now must confront his own personal inferno-in order to change the past and restore the present, he must be ready to make the ultimate sacrifice ... his future....

My thoughts:

Inferno marks the conclusion of the Millennium trilogy, three books that unironically embody the word "epic." Perhaps it's a cliche that so many Star Trek adventures involve the "end of the universe as we know it," and of course we all know that the universe won't really be destroyed. So, fittingly, at the end of the last novel, The War of the Prophets, all of creation is... destroyed.

How do you come back from that?

At the beginning of the novel, each of our characters are living their own "personal hell," constructed for them by the Pah-Wraiths. We soon come to understand the unreality of these situations as, one-by-one, they are pulled out into what the multi-verse has become: a sort of strange purgatory, seemingly inside the red wormhole. I'm glad the authors didn't linger too long on each of the characters' vision of hell; Jake Sisko's in particular, in which every word he wrote was being erased, quickly catching up to him as he wrote, was truly horrific. I still shudder visibly when thinking about it.

What impressed me the most about Inferno was that it answered all of the questions raised in the first two novels in a surprisingly satisfying fashion. While reading the previous book, I got that feeling that's similar to the one I got when first watching "The Best of Both Worlds": how the heck are they going to get out of this? Unlike that famous cliffhanger episode, however, the authors had a clear plan for the resolution of this story going in.

I see a number of reviewers online decrying this story as a convoluted mess of time travel, and I can certainly see how someone would come to that conclusion. While most of the time I read Star Trek fiction as pure escapism, I appreciate a good story that requires you to think. And Millennium, if nothing else, requires you to engage your brain and pay attention. It is extremely easy to get lost in the myriad twists and turns, with some of the plot points seeming to come out of nowhere. However, the entire trilogy is meticulously crafted and requires the reader to pay very close attention for it all to make sense. I must admit that some plot points flew light-years over my head the first time, and it took a closer reading to make everything make sense. But eventually, make sense it does.

Seemingly minor plot details dropped into the story in the first book pay off with surprising significance in book three, while other moments will make the reader slap his or her head and say, "so *that's* what that meant!" In the end, many of the situations the characters face in the course of the trilogy seem to have been engineered specifically by a particular group who knew how things were "supposed" to play out. This struck me as amusing, as one can cast the authors of these novels in those roles, almost as a sort of "fourth-wall" break.

As is often the case, Garak wound up being one of my favorite things in this novel!

I realize that this review has veered away from a typical discussion of the plot and has become a little more abstract; I suppose that is a reflection of the sort of book this is. It's difficult to discuss elements of the plot in great detail as I feel that would multiply the length of this review significantly. Instead, I will highlight a couple of scenes that stood out to me. First, we get a version of Garak interacting with his future self. I absolutely loved this part of the story, and I would have loved to have seen Andrew Robinson tackle this. One Garak is terrific, while two is very nearly perfection.

Also, I have to highlight a scene in which Odo converses with Vic Fontaine on an empty and abandoned Deep Space Nine. This part was surprisingly touching and poignant, with the two characters reflecting on reality and their ultimate fates. Vic Fontaine, for being a hologram, was a character that brought a lot of humanity to DS9, and his character is used to great effect here.

Final thoughts:

Inferno wraps up the Millennium trilogy in a more satisfying manner than I honestly expected. Some readers will certainly be put off by the very complex and interweaving plot twists and turns, but the Reeves-Stevenses have obviously worked very hard to make everything line up correctly. This is a novel (and a trilogy) that requires the reader to pay close attention, as even the smallest plot details end up being significant and play out in unexpected ways. However, even if all aspects of the story aren't completely understood by the reader, I was left feeling that Inferno was a satisfying conclusion to the overall story.

More about Inferno:

Also by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens:

My next read:

Next up is a TNG novel, but actually the first Stargazer adventure: The Valiant by Michael Jan Friedman!

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