Night of the Wolves
S.D. Perry
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Buy *Star Trek - Terok 'Nor: Night of the Wolves* by S.D. Perry

Star Trek - Terok 'Nor: Night of the Wolves
S.D. Perry
Pocket Books
464 pages
April 2008
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Terok 'Nor: Night of the Wolves continues the tale of the Lost Era of TV's Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, covering Cardassia's occupation of Bajor from year eighteen to year thirty. Unlike the previous book in the series, Day of the Vipers, Night of the Wolves is filled with both major and minor characters familiar from the television show, from Dukat and Damar to Opaka and Kira Nerys. Although the narrative follows many point-of-view characters, the transitions between both the characters and the years are quite smooth. The story begins when a Cardassian ship finds a small, unknown vessel containing an organic liquid.

The formerly lush, peaceful planet Bajor has been under the heel of the conquering Cardassian Union for a generation. Almost all Bajorans either slave in difficult conditions or are forced to live on arid lands and rely on Cardassian charity. Some are resistance fighters. However, Bajorans are still quite spiritual people and their priests, the Vedek, preach against violence. The Vedek also want to uphold the ancient caste differences, the D'jarrans, but p eople are starting to ignore the castes - no wonder in a world were farmers have nothing to farm with and pilots are forbidden to fly.

The Cardassians who have benefited from Bajor's lush farmlands now mine it heavily for all other natural resources. The Cardassian secret police, the Obsidian Order, has hidden all of the known Bajoran religious artifacts, called the Orbs. Most Cardassians have no idea how bad things are for the Bajorans: all transmissions to Cardassia Prime are heavily censored.

Dukat, the Prefect of Bajor, has high plans for the planet and its inhabitants. More lenient that his predecessors, he allows larger food rations to the Bajorans and has even constructed medical centers. Still, to his frustration, the unhappy Bajorans continue their terrorist attacks. Even his new aide, Damar, cannot help. Dukat has also a taste for Bajoran females and supplies them as comfort women for his highest-ranking troops: they must provide sexual favors for the soldiers in exchange for food and medicine for their families.

Damar learns quickly to look up to his new commander, and they even develop camaraderie of sorts. Damar awaits his next promotion so that he can marry his betrothed.

Back on Bajor, scientist student Miras Vara has decided to make the subject of her thesis the agricultural circumstances on Bajor. She requires a soil sample and gets her hands on a Bajoran artifact. Much to her surprise, she can open the container and finds a unique object - and she begins to see persistent dreams.

Terok 'Nor journalist Natima Lang censors much of the information going back to Cardassia Prime. She is a patriotic woman who believes she is doing the best job she can.

On Bajor, former resistance fighter Lenaris Holem loses the fire to fight when his best friend is killed. Another resistance cell contacts him because they need an engineer for a warp-capable ship they have found. When Lenaris, a pilot who also knows some engineering, looks into the beautiful eyes of cell leader Ornathia Taryl, he promises to do what he can even though they will all be executed if the Cardassians find the ship.

Vedek Opaka Sulan has started to doubt her superiors' position regarding the caste system. When her own son joins the resistance forces, she finally finds the courage to speak in favor of a united Bajor against the Cardassians. The kai exiles her, but she takes the opportunity to start preaching to people far and wide.

Despite its many point-of-view characters, Night of the Wolves does not feel crowded. If anything, it feels too short, considering the span of time it covers. This is a grim tale about conquered people, some of whom have to do unspeakable things to survive and how others struggle against the conquerors no matter how hopeless they feel or how little their sacrifices seem to matter. There remain glimmers of hope here and there: life still goes on even in as oppressed place as Bajor.

The novel focuses on plotting, character interaction, and small, well-planned strikes against Cardassians. Unlike many other Star Trek books, Night of the Wolves doesn't feature space battles or any large-scale battles at all. The characterization is superb, and so is author S.D. Perry's attention to the extant information from the television series.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Mervi Hamalainen, 2009

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