Plagues of Night is written by David R. George III, a Star Trek veteran vilified by fans over his earlier novel that was part of the Typhon Pact series. Rough Beasts of Empire of course dealt with the shocking divorce of Captain Sisko and Kasidy Yates. Plagues of Night however tries to tie-up all the earlier Typhon Pact novels by describing the events from the previous stories from the ‘Point of View’ of other characters in the first few chapters, sadly at first I didn’t know what the author was trying to do as I thought that history was repeating itself with these events. If that is the opinion of an experienced Star Trek reader than what will other less learned readers make of it?
The storyline follows almost all the main characters from The Next Generation and Deep Space 9. Even Spock makes an important appearance, each character has their own chapter and some of them have two or more. The structure seems similar to that of George R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire where the chapters are divided into each characters ‘Point of View’. In Plagues of Night it so happens that the opinions of characters contradict that from what they said earlier when the reader is privileged to thoughts of another character, often this is just a gimmick but sometimes with the ‘high politics’ between the Typhon Pact and Khitomer Accords it works well.
Sadly Plagues of Night suffers from storylines that are just not interesting, an example is Captain Sisko and his efforts to explain why he wants to leave Kasidy and his daughter Rebecca, although we may know that it is perhaps the right thing to do his character still comes of as arrogant and even as boring. The pacing of this storyline is also very slow. The second storyline that doesn’t work is that of Prynn Tenmei and her comatose father Commander Elias Vaughn, in fact the story was so boring and superfluous that I was often checking to see how many pages that particular chapter still had left. That’s not a good sign with most books, luckily the other 80 percent or so of this book is just brilliantly well written with interwoven storylines that makes well use of the ‘Point of View’ gimmick. Had those superfluous chapters been cut than the story wouldn’t have suffered at all but the pacing would have been tremendously fast, quite a shame I think.
The story also follows characters that are Breen and Romulan, shining new light on both races while maintaining the aura of mystery surrounding both. The small chapter of the chairwoman of the Tal Shiar, Sela, was a little short and didn’t deepen out her character any further than what has already been established back when The Next Generation was still airing on TV. Whereas the author isn’t afraid of showing the darker sides of even our favorite characters he didn’t dare to elaborate on the reason for Sela’s rabid anti-Federation feelings, making her appear as bad guy out of a James Bond movie.
The chapters that follows Ro Laren as she is in the beginning stage of hunting down a saboteur on DS9 while being the stations commanding officer is in my opinions the sole interesting storyline that takes place on the station, again another favorite character, that of Vedek Kira Nerys, comes of as slow and rather dull.
Other storylines follow characters such President Nan Bacco, Praetor Kamenor, Captain Picard, Worf, the Romulan Tomalak and several more. The first two characters really shine in this novel while the others are mostly of what we can expect of them. In the case of Praetor Kamenor, the author manages deftly to describe that her character had before been married to a woman while describing her political scheming as something out of The West Wing.
Plagues of Night is to be followed soon by its sequel Raise the Dawn which is to be released on June 26th, after which we will have to wait until September for the Typhon Pact storyline to continue.
I feel that Plagues of Night was mostly an introduction to what should be a more exciting Raise the Dawn and as such feel that it might have been better not to split the story into two merely for the sake of sales.
Score; 7.5 / 10. Several chapters really drag this novel down.