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By Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at November 16, 2003 - 10:37 AM GMT

Title: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Unity
Author: S.D. Perry
Release Date: November 2003
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0-7434-4840-5

If you haven't yet heard fans shouting the news from their rooftops the most highly anticipated Star Trek novel in years, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Unity, is now available. It is only fitting that S.D. Perry, the author who penned the beginning of Deep Space Nineís '8th season', the two part story Avatar, should write the conclusion of this portion of the ongoing saga. Unity draws together all the threads of the previous relaunch novels in a story that is in turn compelling, shocking, exciting, enlightening and uplifting. From beginning to end Unity is utterly mesmerizing.

There has been a lot of speculation about what might or might not happen in Unity and if you are hoping to find out the answers in this review I am afraid you are going to be disappointed. I refuse to spoil things by divulging exactly what happens so I'm not going to tell you who returns and who doesn't, or who leaves and who stays. You'll have to read it for yourself to find that out, but I will tell you that you are in for some real surprises.

If it's been some time since you read the previous novels you don't have to worry about feeling lost. The first thing you'll discover when you open the cover of Unity is a complete timeline that recounts the main events that have occurred since the final episode "What You Leave Behind" right up through the convergent endings of Rising Son and Lesser Evil when the U.S.S. Defiant is about to return to the station through the wormhole following their exploration of the Gamma Quadrant. After a brief prologue the story picks up right where it left off and upon returning those onboard the Defiant are immediately confronted with the reality of Bajor under siege by the parasites.

The first time I read Avatar I was immediately struck by the feeling that the rich quality of the storytelling in the television series was still alive in the pages of the novel. As the relaunch novels continued, each adding new layers to the story, that feeling only intensified and Unity solidifies that belief for me. Here again are old friends, characters we had seen grow and change in so many unimaginable ways over the years. Along with those dear friends are fascinating new characters like Commander Elias Vaughn, Ensign ch'Thane (Shar) the new Andorian science officer, Vedek Yevir, Taran'atar, and Ro Laren.

The new characters quickly became part of the ever-growing tapestry and the characters, both old and new, have continued to evolve as they struggled with the daily challenges of their lives through the course of the various books. And there have been plenty of challenges in the months following the defeat of the Dominion: the Jem'Hadar attack, the Section 31 plot, the Gateways crisis, renewed exploration of the Gamma Quadrant and Bajor's religious and political struggles as it moves towards entry into the Federation. Challenges that have all lead up to the events of Unity.

Given how complex the ongoing story has grown over the past two years I had to admit that I had my doubts about whether or not Unity could live up to its expectations, but S.D. Perry delivers the goods. Her gripping narrative easily transports the reader right smack dab into the middle of the crisis while at the same time she manages to reverentially, and at times even tenderly, address the personal issues confronting the various characters. With real virtuosity Unity manages to be both the perfect ending and a new beginning all at the same time.

The three hundred pages that tell this tale fly by in the blink of an eye and there is an incredible amount packed into those pages. While I suppose some might find something to quibble about, reading Unity left me feeling unreservedly contented and completely satisfied. Bravo!

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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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