Star Trek
Deep Space Nine
Hollow Men

Author: Una McCormack
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99, US $7.99, Cdn $11.99
ISBN 1 7434 9151 3
Available 06 June 2005

Just how far would you go? What would you be willing to give up for the things you hold dear? Would you be willing to lose it all? Would you be willing to become one of the hollow men...?

Hollow Men is a new book from Una McCormack, which continues tales from the Dominion War. The book follows the events in the Deep Space Nine television episode In the Pale Moonlight. The war is going badly. More ships and men are needed and allies might be found if Sisko can persuade the Romulan Senator Vreenak that an imminent attack was being planned by the Cardassians against Romulus. To this end Sisko recruits Garak's help in manufacturing fake evidence, but Garak is unconvinced that the data rod will hold up to inspection and plants a bomb inside the senators shuttle, killing everybody on board. When Sisko finds out he decides that with the Romulans now entering the war, he will, for the greater good, remain silent.

The book takes up the story of what happened next. Following his complicity in the murder of a Romulan dignitary, Sisko must take Garak, and his guilt, to Earth for the first conference with the Federation's new allies.

Back on the station things are going on as normal. A freighter with badly damaged engines and a cargo hold of liquid latinum must stop for repairs, a security headache for Odo, a possible opportunity for Quark. Thing start to become complicated when Odo recognises a Hamexi called Brixhta who has recently been released from prison, a prison Odo put him in. Things go from bad to worse when the station looses all power. On Earth things are not going well either. Sisko discovers that a former friend and Starfleet officer, Roeder, appears to be at the forefront of a peace movement against the war.

One of the good things that came about in Deep Space Nine was the idea that a show could sustain an overall arc, where actions had consequences in the on going narrative. Although this was in no small part a response to Babylon 5, it still made it a better show. So the odd thing was how could Sisko - a man of great moral standards, a religious icon, engage in deception, fraud and complicity to murder - just walk away from this event. The book shows that he didn't. Through the book we follow Sisko's continuing struggle to reconcile what had happened with his own values. These are nicely juxtaposed with Garak's more pedantic view that everything is fair in war - that the ends justify the means.

Hollow Men also deals with the abuse of power and the consequences of war on many other subtle levels. Odo is seen to use the new emergency war powers given to him in a way that makes others question his decision. Julian must come to terms with playing games involving killing, when there is so much real killing going on. And at the back of all this, someone in the shadows unseen is making events happen.

The book has some lovely little touches which, in the main, add nothing to the plot, but give an overall picture that events are not taking place in isolation from the global television story arc. I won't spoil it by detailing them, just to say that when Cardassian bio signs are searched for it's not only Garak and the Cardassian delegation that are found. Una is obviously a fan of the show, with considerable knowledge and these touches just draw the reader into the greater conflict that is going on in the background.

The nuances of each character are dealt with more than competently, and I could hear Odo huffing out of the book as I read it. In some fan boy fantasy land if the show ever comes back I hope they make this into a two parter. Don't worry if you cannot remember, or never saw In the Pale Moonlight it's not really necessary as this book more than adequately stands on its own two feet.

Charles Packer

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