Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Hollow Men (Star Trek Deep Space Nine (Unnumbered Paperback)) Mass Market Paperback – 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
I really wanted to like this book, it had Garak in it and a lot of mystery and back stabbing and masked threats but it just wasn't as intriguing as i had hoped.
Una McCormack does a lovely job with the writing in the story but there's not nearly enough excitement. Its a bit more of a diplomatic and controversy novel. If you like in the pale moonlight' I'm sure you'll enjoy this one. Its not to everyone's tastes but its worth a shot.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
After the events of the television episode, Sisko is on his way back to Earth to attend a conference, the first one that the Romulans will be a part of. Starfleet Intelligence wants Garak, the Cardassian tailor and ex-spy who performed most of the skullduggery, to come along. Sisko is being eaten up by guilt for his actions, trying desperately to justify them internally but hating himself more and more, and this carries over to Garak. Garak, of course, is concerned that Sisko will break and confess everything, and he's certain he's going to end up in a Federation prison. When they get to Earth, however, they get wrapped up in more intrigue, as an ex-starfleet officer turned peace activist becomes even more important to the entire war effort, and secrets that should never be revealed are in danger of coming out.
McCormack is the author of the Cardassian story in The Worlds of Bajor: Volume One, which I happened to love. Her characterization of Garak was dead-on in that story, and she captures him very well in this one too. His sarcasm and general wit are evident, but we also see his cunning and his intelligence. When he gets wrapped up in the Starfleet Intelligence plot, he is determined to follow his own path to finish the job, and he will even refuse to do the job if he doesn't like what he finds out. He's calm under pressure, he knows what torture is like and so is ready when he's about to be on the other end of it than he's used to. I especially loved his reactions to the peace protests when Sisko takes him to one of them. He honestly can't believe that such a protest would be allowed during war time, and thinks back longingly to the days on Cardassia where stuff like this would be stamped out immediately. He has plenty of traditionally Garak quips. Basically, if you like Garak, you should love this book.
Sisko's guilt is also extremely well done. Even better is his reaction when he doesn't get the reaction he quite expected upon revealing what happened. He searches desperately for something to salve his conscience, and while this might seem out of character for the Sisko we know, to me it seemed realistic for a man who has transgressed his principles as far as he has. He knows what happened was necessary, but he feels like he should be punished. The various attempts he makes to get that to happen are excellent, ending in a wonderful discussion with the one person who he can depend on to talk him through this.
There is also a story that takes place on DS9, involving Odo and a shipment of latinum (the main currency outside of the Federation). This plotline isn't as interesting as the main one, and it doesn't even tie into the main story until the end (in a way that, admittedly, comes out of left field a little bit, and is my only real problem with the book). All of the characters are well done, but there wasn't that much to really grab me until near the middle of the book. Some people have claimed that a fault with the book is that nothing happens for long periods of time. While this is true, I found myself so fascinated with the Sisko and Garak storyline, and interested enough in the station plot that I didn't really notice.
I said that Hollow Men was a "love it or hate it" type of book, and basically it boils down to whether or not you like McCormack's style. So far, she's written two novels for the Star Trek line, and both of them have been more internal books with events taking place as conversations between characters that advance the plot, or dealing with issues rather than events. I think that she does a lovely job getting you into the minds of the characters, and enough happens that I'm not bored by them. There is always some action later on in the story, and this book is no exception. But she takes great pains to set up the action, making sure the action stems from the characters rather than just throwing in a random battle or two. Occasionally, the set up drags too long, as with the story on the station here, and it threatens to lose the reader. But I could hear Avery Brooks (Sisko) and Andrew Robinson (Garak) speak a lot of the lines she gives them, and they carry their sections even before anything actually happens in the story.
Overall, Hollow Men is an excellent entry in the Deep Space Nine saga. If you've read McCormack's previous book, your opinion of that will probably determine whether you agree with me here. However, I can definitely say that this book is worth a try, especially if you're a fan of our favourite Cardassian tailor. This one is up near the top of my Trek book list for 2005.
It's also a dark chapter in Cardassia's occupation of Bajor. After Lenaris's victories and the liberation of Gallitep in Night of the Wolves, you might be feeling optimistic. But things have to get worse before they get better, and Cardassia's efforts to tighten its grasp are both fascinating and frightening. Dukat's twisted psyche comes out in full force, as he punishes his Bajoran "children" and expects them to be grateful.
Where the first two books explored time periods we didn't know much about, Dawn of the Eagles has to conform to many episodes of DS9 and TNG which established events during this time. Perry and Dennison flesh out some (Kira's first arrival on Terok Nor) and mention others in passing (Picard's meeting with Keeve Falor). The results of these episode crossovers range from excellent to mediocre, but they can't be avoided.
One thing to be aware of when diving into this book is that there's a lot of plot. Even though the primary focus is on Kira and Odo, there is an abundance of plotlines which pop up. I was disappointed that Lenaris Holem was nowhere to be found, and Miras Vara only gets a few small appearances, but I suppose they might have drawn focus away from the main stars.
I found the last days of the Occupation to be especially exciting. It felt like Perry and Dennison tried very hard to reward the readers who stuck with this series. The question of how the Occupation really ended has been stuck in my head for years, and I'm very satisfied with the answer.
I'd say this book is a must-read for fans of DS9 (as well as the other two Terok Nor books.) Not only is it an exciting read, it also throws a fascinating perspective on the tv series.
Among my favorite characters, Elim Garak, is a main character and he's presented beautifully here. Una McCormack is one of the very few authors I find to be able to write Garak properly (besides Andy Robinson and the screenwriters themselves), and she does so in a great manner. He's such a complex character and that makes him very hard to tie down in a book. I'm glad to have found one that does just that and takes it one step further.
Undoubtedly, the best part of "Hollow Men" is the subtext of both current and possibly future issues. Almost every angle of each story is presented with proper analogy and explanation while still staying true to the characters and the plot; you never get the feel that the anti-war protestors that Garak and Sisko meet have anything to do with the Iraq War or any other military crisis threatening our time; you only get a handle on what their opinions and thoughts are.
All in all, I enjoy this book, am glad I bought it, and won't be putting it down any time soon.