Set during the Dominion War (obviously) and the seven episode story arc in which Ben Sisko and the crew of Deep Space Nine work to return to the station, Captain Picard and the Enterprise learn of a plot by the Dominion to create their own artificial wormhole and bring reinforcements through from the Gamma Quadrant.
As you will know if you read my Greater Than the Sum review I am a big fan of Star Trek The Next Generation and so it really pisses me off when people fuck with it. But, when someone tackles my beloved franchise and does it justice then I will sing the praises to everyone who will listen and also to a few that would rather I didn’t.
Now just to clarify I am only planning on reviewing Book 1 and Book 3 because Book 2 and Book 4 are the novelizations of Deep Space Nine episodes so whilst they are good and show a few things that were not in the episodes it is easier to just go and watch them yourself. Besides I have always favoured The Next Generation and honestly I would much rather talk about what Picard and the Enterprise were doing during the Dominion War.
Book 1 – Behind Enemy Lines
The Enterprise-E under the command of Captain Picard is patrolling the Cardassian boarder engaging in various hit-and-run assaults against the Cardassians and Jem’Hadar, however, they know that the Federation is losing the war against the combined forces of the Dominion and the Cardassians.
Meanwhile Ro Laren, a former Starfleet officer and now member of the Maquis, has been forced from her home in a small ship, the Orb of Peace, as the Dominion close in on the final strongholds of the Maquis.
The Enterprise and Orb of Peace cross paths and Picard is informed of the Dominion’s plan to build a wormhole and bring through reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant. But, Starfleet is unwilling to risk the Enterprise on the mission if the intelligence is false, so Picard, La Forge, Ro head for the location of the wormhole in the Orb of Peace with a transmitter to call in the Enterprise once they confirm the wormhole exists.
Book 3 – Tunnel Through the Stars
Having confirmed that the artificial wormhole exists and is near completion, Picard and his ragtag crew onboard the Orb of Peace frantically try to come up with some way to destroy the massive structure before Jem’Hadar reinforcements come through. Of course, their problems keep getting worse as it becomes obvious to everyone that they have got a saboteur onboard.
Meanwhile, Riker is having trouble getting the Enterprise out of dry dock. Only he (and Data who is tracking the Orb of Peace in a small shuttlecraft the Cook) is really aware of where Picard is, and he intends to be ready when the Orb of Peace sends out its beacon. Unfortunately, the commander of the Starbase’s repair pool, a woman Riker had a brief romantic relationship with (no surprise there) is ducking him and refusing to release the Enterprise back for active duty.
As the Next Generation crews’ live become more dangerous they are faced with the prospect of total destruction at the hands of the overwhelming might of the Dominion.
That is all I am going to say about the books plotline.
I am very much aware of the fact that I have offered very little information about what happens in the two books, but that was deliberate because what I want to do is tempt you into reading them by giving a tantalising glimpse of the two-book story arc.
Whilst The Dominion War Books 2 and 4, focus on the seven episode story arc seen in Deep Space Nine (from episodes Call to Arms to Sacrifice of Angels) Books 1 and 3 give fans of The Next Generation an opportunity to see what Picard and the Enterprise were doing during the war. Not surprisingly it was not only Ben Sisko who was responsible for saving the Alpha Quadrant (however, fans of DS9 will know that someone seemed to use that particular phrase a lot, Garak said it about Sisko when he tricked the Romulans into the war, Sisko said it about Damar when he formed a resistance movement, it was said about the Prophets when they stopped the Dominion coming through the wormhole...the list can go on and on). Would we have expected anything less from the legendary Enterprise crew?? Of course they are flying around coming across the wreckage of unknown vessels, when they could probably take on the Dominion forces and defeat them single handed. How could they do this?? Well, because, for fuck sake they are the crew of the Enterprise!! Yes in case you are wondering I do possess models of both the Enterprise and Definant as well as a bronze bust of Picard's head and shoulders - so when I say I am a fan I mean a die-hard fan!!
Those who read a lot of Star Trek books know that they are incredibly difficult things to do well and either rely on the Borg for a good story (which sometimes works think Vendetta and sometimes doesn’t, think [shiver] Greater than the Sum) or focus on some inner conflict one of the officers is having. Thankfully The Dominion War books are well written and are very exciting to read with the audience becoming hooked upon the desperate struggle of the Federation and the realisation of what an artificial wormhole will do to the already losing Starfleet.
Familiar characters from The Next Generation do crop up and make their presence felt in the conflict that thrilled fans of Deep Space Nine. It is doubtful that those who watched both Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation didn’t at one time wonder what the Enterprise was doing whilst Sisko and his crew were recapturing Deep Space Nine.
The four books are simply excellent and whilst the Deep Space Nine books can been seen if fans watch the series, the audience is left to create the struggle of the Enterprise crew in their minds. Great books will always leave the audience with the desire to see them made on the big screen, and the two Next Generation books of the Dominion War are no acceptation.
It should come as no surprise that here my Thumb is well and truly Up
9/10 - Fantastic series of books and a MUST-READ for any self-respecting Star Trek fan