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Rising Son

By Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at January 5, 2003 - 8:26 PM GMT

Title: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Rising Son
Author: S.D. Perry
Publication Date: January 2003
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0-7434-4838-3

Rising Son is not a typical Star Trek novel. There is no planetary crisis to be solved. No great villain to defeat. Nor does the galaxy need to be saved. Rising Son is an introspective, character-driven story. A thought provoking and extremely gentle story of one man's journey to find his father, and on that journey he finds much more than he ever expected -- he finds himself.

The events of the story in ďRising SonĒ are concurrent to the events of the Deep Space Nine relaunch novels that follow Avatar and the book ends at the same place in these continuing adventures that the recent Mission: Gamma novels do. If you havenít previously read Avatar then you will find yourself very lost and confused when reading Rising Son, but itís not necessary to have read the books set after Avatar to appreciate this novel.

It all begins with the fateful prophecy found at Bíhala: "ÖThe first child, a son, enters the Temple alone. With the Herald, he returns, and soon after the Avatar is born. A new breath is drawn and the land rejoices in change and clarity." This prophecy spurs Jake to set out alone to find his father.

Thrown at least three months' journey from the wormhole Jake is rescued from the brink of death by an unlikely ship and crew. The Even Odds is a salvage and retrieval ship, its crew a motley mix of lost souls, fortune hunters and adventurers. The vesselís captain, Zin Dezavrim, or Dez as he prefers to be known, is drawn to Jake, recognizing something of himself in the young man and he invites Jake to remain on board until the ship reaches a port where Jake can arrange transport back through the wormhole. That is, if Jake decides to go back.

As time passes Jake finds himself very much at home among the crew of the Even Odds. Or at least he thinks he is. He has seemingly resolved to put the past behind him and move on with his life. But events unfold that leave Jake questioning who he is and what he is doing when a startling meeting leads to the realization that the prophecy may have been right all along.

Iíve heard ďRising SonĒ referred to as "the Jake novel" but it is so much more than that. This novel resonates with many different themes. The love between a parent and child, the bonds born of trust and need. The overwhelming importance of personal identity. Acceptance. And last but not least, faith and religion.

Poignant themes and difficult to tackle, but Perry does so brilliantly. She has chosen to tell this story by interspersing journal entries made by Jake between the scenes of descriptive narrative. Additionally, the thoughts of the characters are sprinkled liberally throughout. Both the author and editor are taking a gamble that what makes for great Star Trek -- solid and imaginative storytelling-- will allow readers to embrace the approach they took. It was a risk that worked and it is refreshing to know that after all these years Star Trek can still break new ground.

The crew of the Even Odds is a wonderful bunch of characters and there is an interesting mix of personalities, not to mention species. I particularly enjoyed Pif, a canine type alien and Stessie, a multipart species. Dez's 'need' for Jake makes your heart ache very effectively. The relationship between Jake and Dez was the most compelling in the novel for me. Two men, so very different from one another but both searching for the same thing. Jake for his father, and Dez for the relationship that he never had with his own father.

For those who have read all the relaunch novels leading up to Rising Son this novel does provide a scene about midway through that helps the reader keep the events of Rising Son in perspective with what has transpired elsewhere in the overall story arc. That was a clever inclusion, pulling the readers attention for a moment to the events happening so far away allows everything up to that point to sink in before the tone of the novel begins to change.

The final 100 pages of Rising Son are the most thought provoking and compelling. If you have read the final Mission: Gamma title Lesser Evil, you already know how Jakeís journey will end. But it is the way that story is told that makes it so impressive. I'm sure that several novels from now I will realize that there was even more to this novel than the obvious. But that's what makes reading the Deep Space Nine relaunch novels so satisfying; each brings something different to the overall picture and you can never predict what will come next.

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Jacqueline Bundy reviews Star Trek books for the Trek Nation, writes monthly columns for the TrekWeb newsletter and the Star Trek Galactic News, and hosts the Yahoo Star Trek Books Group weekly chat.

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