Friday, September 27, 2013

Avatar, Book One

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Avatar, Book One by S.D. Perry
Published May
2001
Read April 23rd 2013


Previous book (Deep Space Nine): A Stitch in Time
Next book (Deep Space Nine): Avatar, Book Two


Purchase Avatar, Book One from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Avatar is also available as part of an omnibus, Twist of Faith, containing the first four novels of the DS9 relaunch:

Purchase Twist of Faith from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
NOTE: This volume contains Avatar: Book One, Avatar: Book Two, Section 31: AbyssGateways: Demons of Air and Darkness, and the novella "Horn and Ivory" from Gateways: What Lay Beyond

Spoilers ahead for Avatar and the Deep Space Nine relaunch!

From the back cover:
RETURN TO THE EDGE OF THE FINAL FRONTIER 
In the aftermath of a war that brought the Alpha Quadrant to the brink of destruction, Starbase Deep Space 9 -- the galaxy's nexus of scientific and military intrigue -- is once more the flashpoint of impending Armageddon as a surprise attack cripples the station, killing hundreds and threatening the fragile new peace. 
Colonel Kira Nerys and the survivors -- together with several controversial new officers -- are all who stand against the outbreak of a new war and a terrible doom tied to the unborn child of Captain Benjamin Sisko. 
Elsewhere, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise make a startling discovery...one that will affect the destiny of an entire civilization and forever change the lives of those aboard Deep Space 9.


My thoughts:

As a Star Trek fan, each of the series has a special place in my heart. As much as I love TOS and TNG (and even Voyager and Enterprise), when I want compelling, realistic drama with incredibly fleshed-out and dynamic characters, I turn to Deep Space Nine. To me, DS9 was the epitome of smart drama. Therefore, when it was announced that the story of DS9 would continue in the novels, I was obviously thrilled. The chance to return to Bajor, the wormhole, and the galactic politics that were the hallmark of Deep Space Nine? Sign me up! Although things are very obviously changed from the series, I was excited to catch up with the familiar characters still on Deep Space Nine: Colonel Kira, Dr. Bashir, Ezri Dax, Jake Sisko, Kassidy Yates, Quark, and Nog, as well as new faces such as Lieutenant Ro Laren (imported from The Next Generation), Andorian science officer Thirishar ch'Thane, and Commander Elias Vaughn.

Book one of Avatar does a reasonably good job of reintroducing the world of DS9. In many ways, what Quark said at the end of "What You Leave Behind" holds true: "The more things change, the more they stay the same." However, there is enough of a change that this is very clearly a new chapter in the DS9 saga. Colonel Kira is now in command of the station, and the disappearance of Benjamin Sisko weighs heavily on both his son and the mother of his unborn child. The unearthing of an ancient and controversial prophecy kicks things into motion as Jake Sisko comes to believe that he has a role to play in bringing his father home. Meanwhile, a Jem'Hadar attack on the station may be a precursor to renewed Dominion agression, and the Alpha Quadrant is once again placed on high alert.

DS9 is attacked by three Jem'Hadar fighters, which may lead to a renewal of hostilities between the Dominion and the Alpha Quadrant powers.
Particularly enjoyable is the introduction of Commander Elias Vaughn. Vaughn almost seems to be following in the path of Benjamin Sisko, in that he may be revealed to have an interesting relationship with the Prophets as well. In the course of the novel, he discovers a long-lost Bajoran Orb, which marks the beginning of what looks to be a profound change in his life. I'm eager to see where these developments lead.

Commander Vaughn discovers the Orb of Memory aboard a disabled Cardassian freighter.
In the end, tensions look to be at a near-breaking point, and another Dominion War could be imminent. There is a lot of set-up here, much of which will of course be paid off in book two. Avatar, Book One is a compelling launch to this new series, and the series itself would prove to be a smart move by Pocket Books, who later decide to do similar "re-launches" for The Next Generation, following Star Trek Nemesis, and Voyager, following its series finale, "Endgame."

Final thoughts:

It's clear from the beginning that the DS9 relaunch has a winning formula, and retains just enough of the original feel of the television series to be a very welcome addition to the world of Star Trek novels. The voices of the remaining original characters are there, and the new characters are compelling enough to earn their place alongside their "old guard" counterparts. Much like most of the Deep Space Nine television series, Avatar, Book One was a tightly plotted and engaging story, the conclusion to which I am looking forward to in book two!

Further resources:

TrekBBS review and discussion thread for Avatar, Book One
Podcast: Literary Treks 10: Deep Space Nine Season Eight - discussion of Avatar, Book One

Also by S.D. Perry:

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Avatar, Book Two of Two (2001)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Rising Son (2003)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Unity (2003)
Star Trek: Terok Nor: Night of the Wolves with Britta Dennison (2008)
Star Trek: Terok Nor: Dawn of the Eagles with Britta Dennison(2008)
Star Trek: Inception with Britta Dennison (2010)

My next read:

I've just finished the latest new release, Una McCormack's entry in The Fall, The Crimson Shadow. Look for my review in the coming week!