Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Ascendance

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Ascendance by David R. George III
Release date: December 29th 2015
Read January 10th 2016


Previous book (Deep Space Nine): Sacraments of Fire

Next book (Deep Space Nine): Force and Motion



Spoilers ahead for Ascendance!

From the back cover:
The post-television Deep Space Nine saga continues with this original novel from New York Times bestselling author David R. George III!

On the original Deep Space Nine, Captain Kira Nerys watches as the nearby wormhole opens and discharges a single, bladelike vessel. Attempts to contact its crew fail, and the ship is soon followed by another vessel of similar design. When an armada subsequently begins to emerge from the wormhole, it seems clear that DS9 is under attack. Kira orders her first officer, Commander Elias Vaughn, to board the U.S.S. Defiant and defend the station, and alerts Starfleet to send additional forces as her crew prepares DS9’s shields and weaponry for the onslaught to come.

Meanwhile, on the lead ship, Iliana Ghemor considers launching an attack on DS9 and finally ending the life of Kira, the fountainhead of all the ills in her miserable life. Her vengeance demands more than mere death, though—it requires pain. Ghemor refocuses, choosing to follow her plan to mete out her revenge on the captain by first decimating the population of Bajor…

My thoughts:

In last year's DS9 novel Sacraments of Fire, we got a taste of the Ascendant storyline at long last, with it having been abandoned a few years ago when the Star Trek novel line changed editors. Now, we get the continuation of that story in this month's new novel, Ascendance.

The novel is largely split into two parts, the first dealing with the Ascendant attack on Bajor in the 2370s. We learn how the attack was carried out, Iliana Ghemor's ultimate fate, and the role that Taran'atar and the Even Odds played in thwarting the attack. While it is nice to get some resolution to these events, the true meaning behind what happened and the fallout from it isn't fully realized until we get to the "current" period of the novel.

Iliana Ghemor's fate is finally revealed!

In Sacraments of Fire, Odo traveled to a secret Starfleet facility to assist researchers there in investigating a massive life-form that exhibits some of the characteristics of a Changeling. In this novel, after Odo touches the creature, it breaks containment and flees the system, heading for Bajor and the wormhole. The Defiant under the command of Commander Stinson attempts to stop it, but instead, the Changeling-esque being completely envelops the ship and then mimics it in perfect detail. It then cloaks and resumes its course for the Bajoran system.

The final reveal of what exactly this life-form is and how it connects to the events surrounding the Ascendant attack is really very surprising, and something I definitely did not see coming.

There is a lot to like in Ascendance. As is the case with Deep Space Nine in general and the post-finale novels in particular, the character work is a definite standout. In the last novel, the focus was on Colonel Cenn Desca, and in this book, it's Commander Wheeler Stinson we learn more about. This continued focus on the newer characters is very welcome, as I feel there is still a lot to learn about most of the new faces on Deep Space Nine.

I also particularly enjoyed Ro Laren's arc in this story, mirroring Cenn Desca's. Whereas the recent discovery of a "falsework" has shattered his faith, it has opened up Ro to the possibility that the Prophets really are divine beings, a choice on the part of DRG that I find very interesting. I'm curious to see where her journey will take her.

I enjoyed Ro Laren's arc in this story, and I'm curious to see where it goes from here.

While Ascendance wraps up a number of storylines, it opens and leaves hanging a few new ones. What has become of Vic Fontaine's program, and will Nog be able to rectify his program? What about Morn? Quark continues his search for the absent barfly in this novel, but it is never resolved.

Finally, I do have to say that I am a little disappointed in the path that Sisko seems to be on now. While he feels that his time as the Emissary is at an end, I can't help but think that there is still more for The Sisko to do in his role as Emissary of the Prophets. Perhaps his voyage into the Gamma Quadrant aboard the Robinson will reveal a new path for the Emissary, but I sincerely hope that he still has a role to play in the affairs of Bajor. Only time will tell.

I hope we get to see more of Sisko as the Emissary in the future.

Final thoughts:

A solid entry in the 24th century continuity, and an explanation of the Ascendant attack on Bajor that has been a long time in coming! I enjoyed this story for the most part, and I am thrilled that Deep Space Nine is a regular feature in the novel line up once again. Here's hoping for many more stories to come aboard this new DS9. We won't have to wait long; Force and Motion by Jeffrey Lang is coming soon!

More about Ascendance:

Also by David R. George III:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

The Good That Men Do, the ret-con of the abomination of a series finale, Enterprise's "These Are the Voyages."