Jim's Books

Pliable Truths

Dayton Ward

Pliable Truths
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ISBN: 9781668046418

Description

Shortly after Starfleet thwarts a Cardassian attack on a Federation star system, the Cardassian government orders an end to its fifty-year occupation of the planet Bajor. As a result, a newly installed Bajoran government requests immediate assistance from the Federation to mediate how the withdrawal will proceed and what recompense, if any, Bajorans are owed from their brutal oppressors. Captain Jean-Luc Picard is ordered by Starfleet Command to oversee these tense negotiations on Terok Nor, the massive Cardassian space station still orbiting Bajor, even as he still deals with his own recent trauma as a prisoner held and tortured by a Cardassian interrogator.

Reviewed on 9th June 2024

A Next Generation / Deep Space Nine crossover novel, this story covers the period shortly before the DS9 pilot episode, when the Cardassians are withdrawing from their occupation of Bajor, and the Enterprise is dispatched to provide humanitarian and diplomatic help.

It feels like Star Trek, which is I suppose one of the best compliments for it. There’s a ton going on, so bigger than one episode, with a lot of plot strands to pull on and none of them seeming to dominate. This might make the book feel unfocussed, and I did at first wonder what the main plot actually was, before realising that it didn’t need to have a main plot to successfully tell stories about these characters.

Obviously the characterisation is spot on, and I particularly enjoyed seeing Keiko O’Brien get some story time as a botanist, and seeing her and Miles think about their future plans.

The choice of Garak for the cover art feels like a misstep. I can understand that he’s a marketable DS9 character, but his appearance doesn’t feel like it adds up to enough to make him as prominent as Picard, or more prominent than other characters.

One of those novels where it takes me a while to get into the swing of it, but from about halfway I stormed through.

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