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Book Review

Book Cover

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
These Haunted Seas


Authors: David R. George III and Heather Jarman
Pocket Books
RRP: £12.99, US $18.00, Cdn $21.00
ISBN-13: 978 1 4165 5639 8
ISBN-10: 1 4165 5639 7
Available 07 July 2008

It’s tome time again as Pocket Books amalgamates two of its previous releases into a doorstop. Although this makes the book is a little unwieldy to read - you could use it to build up your biceps - it does make for an inexpensive way of catching up on novels you may have missed.

Theses Haunted Seas is a reprint of the first two books in the four book Mission Gamma series: Twilight (2002) by David R. George III and This Gray Spirit (2002) by Heather Jarman, the stories follow on from Twists of Faith.

With the Dominion War behind them, and Bajor finally poised to join the Federation, the newly constructed crew of the USS Defiant journeys through the wormhole as Commander Elias Vaughn leads a 'corps of discovery' to finally explore the now open Gamma Quadrant. However space is a dangerous place and the crew soon find themselves in the middle of a war they do not understand. Meanwhile political forces throughout the Alpha Quadrant intersect at Deep Space Nine to determine the future of Bajor, the planet's theological unity threatens to shatter. And for Colonel Kira Nerys, the path of the Prophets may become a road to ruin...

David R. George III is well placed to write a DS9 book, having co-wrote the story for Voyager's first season's show, Prime Factors (1995). He also co-authored, with Armin Shimerman (Quark), The 34th Rule, a DS9 Novel. For the original show's 40th anniversary he wrote the Crucible trilogy featuring Kirk, Spock and McCoy, in a new take on the events generated from The City on the Edge of Forever, which woke the wrath of Harlen Ellison for using his original concepts. Twighlight is probably one of his better books, only bettered by his examination of Dr McCoy’s life in the Crucible series.

The book is quite impressive, given that it needed to introduce a number of new characters as well as integrate those that were still standing at the end of the show. So, there is no Sisko - he having disappeared up the Prophets.

George could have chosen to do a very upbeat novel, after all the war is over and everything is hunky dory again. But he takes a more realistic approach to the events which unfolded in the show's last season. The fact that most of the characters have lost family and loved ones continues to have a profound effect, especially on Vaughn, who bares the guilt for not having been with his daughter following her mother's death - something that is brought home to him when he has to relive the experience in the Gamma Quadrant. Kira also has her demons and her questions of faith, it would be hard not to given what she witnessed, still didn’t really answer whether the Prophets had a plan for Bajor or was it as random as it seemed.

As a book to launch a new series this had a lot to do, ultimately it did it well.

The political intrigue aboard Deep Space Nine escalates when Gul Macet's warship arrives at the station with an unexpected passenger. Cardassian Ambassador Natima Lang has returned to the station on a mission of hope, but it's one that will bring back old wounds and old ghosts. As tensions rise on all sides, Colonel Kira Nerys discovers that the line between friend and foe is narrower than she ever imagined...

The second story by Heather Jarman has a lot of threads to pick up from the first book. The reason these books are so long is the odd decision to cover what is essentially two different stories at the same time. On DS9 political manoeuvrings continue, whilst in the Gamma Quadrant Vaughn continues his exploration with the crew of the, now damaged, Defiant.

Heather Jarman has written several Trek books and whilst she may now be well acquainted with her subject and the expectations of her audience, this was her debut novel and as such was all the more impressive for being able to handle such a bloated idea. Of course as a debut novel it is a little unbalanced, with more time being given over to various relationships than they really deserved - still, an impressive first novel.

Overall These Haunted Seas is a good way to catch up on Trek novels you may have missed.


Charles Packer

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