Series: Typhon Pact (#5)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Space Opera
Publication Date: 2012
Deep Space Nine has weathered many troubles, not least the Dominion War, but now it once again becomes a flashpoint of galactic politics. The Typhon Pact is ready to make peace with the Federation, but not all is as it seems . . .
Plagues of Night marks both the fifth book in the Typhon Pact series, and the first of a duology within that series chronicling events in the Bajoran system. This book takes place over the course of a year and a half, picking up where Rough Beasts of Empire left off and running concurrent to the other Typhon Pact novels. In particular, the events of Zero Sum Game and Paths of Disharmony are crucial to this book. If you haven’t read the rest of the Typhon Pact books, this is not a good place to start. While the others were largely standalone, this one relies on a lot of assumed knowledge.
Once again we have David R. George III at the helm, and this is the book where he started to lose me as a writer. I’ll get into the story itself in a minute, but the writing is difficult to get into. For a start, extended dream sequences are never going to please me. What appears to be a tense interrogation scene is revealed after several pages to be a nightmare, and has no bearing on the story whatsoever. Furthermore, George has a habit of recapping previous events. This was useful when recapping books I haven’t read, but recapping previous books in this series? That soon becomes annoying. there are even moments when he recaps earlier chapters of this very book. A lot of Plagues of Night feels like it’s doing little more than treading water. I don’t really want to sit through several pages reliving Sisko’s marital strife when there are far more interesting things happening.
Those other events are, however, interesting enough to give the book merit. Firstly we get to see the fallout, political and personal, of the previous books in this series. It’s a welcome return for Julian Bashir, and a more active Sisko than we saw in his last appearance. We also get a crossover between the crews of Deep Space Nine and the Enterprise as Picard and company arrive on the scene. I don’t think George did a very good job of capturing Worf’s voice, but otherwise this is a wonderful uniting of two classic crews, even if both are now largely populated by new faces. George brings the ongoing Typhon Pact storylines together neatly, and the ongoing Andorian situation shows just what Star Trek can do with a little sense of continuity.
Moving ahead with the story, we get a closer examination of the rivalries within the Typhon Pact. There are a lot of factions at play here, and even though the focus is once again on the Romulans, the Tzenkethi and the Breen also have their time in the spotlight. These ongoing feuds and diplomatic squabbles are something I would have liked to see more of throughout this series, especially with each faction openly seeking to advance their own agenda. The Tholians, for example, are already distrusted by the others for their actions aiding the Andorians. I would have loved more details on how the other factions reacted to this. Page counts, alas, must be kept within reason, and so much of the political angle is painted in broad strokes, with the narrative favouring the personal arcs of the characters involved.
With a cliffhanger ending to rival any other, Plagues of Night is very much only one half of a larger story, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to dive right into the second act.