Star Trek
Deep Space Nine
Twist of Faith

Authors: S.D. Perry, David Weddle, Jeffrey Lang and Keith R.A. DeCandido
Pocket Books
RRP: 12.99, US $18.00, Cdn $21.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 4165 3415 0
ISBN-10: 1 4165 3415 6
Available 04 June 2007

Twist of Faith
is a bit of a smorgasbord of a Deep Space Nine book, in that it is actually consists of three previously published novels and a previously published short story. The collection opens with Avatar by S.D Perry. Originally published as two novels, Perry turns in a great story, that follows on from the last aired episode What You Leave Behind which saw the disappearance of Captain Sisko, the departure of Odo and the end of the Dominion War.

Having read the book, I can just imagine the sale pitch, which sold Perry on the idea of a two-book deal:

"Great deal, two books, think of the money. However what we really want is a new start so we want you to introduce some more ongoing characters to plug the gaps, set up a lot of threads, but for god's sake don't finish any of them and leave the reader begging for more. Oh and last thing it has to feel like Deep Space Nine."

A tall challenge for anybody and thankfully one to which Perry was more than capable of rising. The plot:

Three months following the cessation of hostilities with the Dominion and the Alpha quadrant is picking up the pieces. Captain Sisko remains missing and Kira has taken over the running of Deep Space Nine. On Bajor a book of prophecy has been discovered, a prophecy that says that the son of Sisko will bring a new dawning for Bajor - but only at the cost of ten thousand deaths. So what does this have to do with the Enterprise investigating sightings in the Badlands? And does the unprovoked attack on the station by three Jem'Hadar ships herald the outbreak of a new war?

Lots of things are set in motion in these two books. Two new characters are added to the roster of station personnel, one Starfleet and one Jem'Hadar. That's not to say that Perry has skimped on any of the other characters - everyone gets their day in the sun, as new relationships are forged and old ones strengthened. In the end Avatar was only meant to be the setting for an ongoing series of new adventures and as such carried a heavy burden. If it crashed and burned then it would tarnish any books which followed it. However, Perry has been able to turn in a book which makes you want to rush out and buy the others, just to see how the story ends. Of course the trick is that the story never does end, but if the standard of writing remains high who cares.

From the massive ensemble piece that was Avatar we next move on to a book taken from the Section 31 series of book: Abyss by David Weddle and Jeffrey Lang, which looks at what it is to be a man separated from other men by innate differences.

With the station in the middle of serious repairs following the Jem'Hadar attack, Dr Bashir is contacted by agents of Section 31, the covert arm of the Federation, to track down an enhanced human in the Badlands. Dr Locken is using a disused Jem'Hadar hatchery to create an army, which he intends to unleash. Bashir, Taran'atar, Ezri and Ro set off to stop Locken, but even before the mission has properly begun things go horribly wrong when their Runabout is shot down...

Abyss had a hard act to follow but comes up trumps. This is really Bashir's story, although, once more the other characters get a good look in. The sense of alienation amongst what should have been a close group is both unsettling and very DS9. Bashir obviously feels apart from his fellows because of his genetic enhancements, but what about Ro? In a deeply religious society where does a self proclaimed atheist stand? Ezri Dax is also apart, not only apart from her companions for being a person with the experience of multiple lives, but even apart from herself as she tries to reconcile those two halves of herself - Ezri and the conjoined symbiote Dax. Although wrapped up in an exciting adventure story, the heart of the piece is the fear that in the end we are all only ever alone.

The last, full, novel in the collection is Demons of Air and Darkness by Keith R. A. DeCandido, a veteran of this type of genre novel. The book was originally published as part of the Gateway saga.

Returning from a mission with a rescued federation captain, the Defiant finds the Alpha quadrant in upheaval. Creatures claiming to be the descendants of the Iconians have activated the gateway system and are willing to sell the technology to the highest bidder. With such an extensive system it is an anomaly that there isn't one near DS9, so Shar and Nog are sent off to investigate while the rest of the crew try to help out Europa Nova, whose population is being exposed to radiation which is eventually tracked back to one of the Gateways.

And that is just a taster. With a quick gold bar to be made you just know that Quark is going to be right in the middle of any profit and, realistically being DS9, things will not go well for his enterprise.

What can I say? DeCandido is a master of this sort of thing, setting up interesting premises, which he then plays with. I hate to use the term "a real page turner" so I'll just say that this was the only full novel that I read through in one sitting.

If that wasn't enough Twist of Faith finishes with one of DeCandido's short stories Horn and Ivory, within which the focus switches to Kira and a nice little jaunt back into Bajor's history.

If you have never read these stories then the reprint at 660 pages makes for a very economical way of catching up and if you've lost your originals it's a good way of revisiting old friends.

Charles Packer

Buy this item online
We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal! Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£5.44 (Amazon.co.uk)
£9.74 (Waterstones.com)
£12.99 (WHSmith.co.uk)
£7.99 (Countrybookshop.co.uk)
$12.24 (Amazon.com)

All prices correct at time of going to press.