01 JanZero Sum Game 56

Typhon Pact: Zero Sum GameStar Trek: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game by David Mack is the book that got me back into reading Star Trek books.

It started in the Summer of 2010. It had been about a year since I’d last read a Trek novel, after burning out on some awful ones that had totally turned me off the series. We had a customer come into the bookstore who wanted to order The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition. In doing that, it lit a spark in me to poke around Fantastic Fiction for Star Trek novels, and I landed on the page for David Mack. I saw that he had written a book called The Starfleet Survival Guide. Interested, I ordered that for myself. In the coming releases section, it said he was also working on the first book in a new Trek series – Typhon Pact – and that it centered around Dr Julian Bashir. Being one of my favourite characters, I figured I’d preorder it and give it a try.

In October 2010 the book comes in. It goes into my TBR pile for a while, since I had several other books to get through first. But then that December I decide to try and read it.

The first page in says that it follows events that took place in the Star Trek Destiny trilogy. This made me a bit miffed, since I’d tried to read the first Destiny book but since I was burned out at the time, I couldn’t get into it. Figuring I could just pretend I’d read it, I started Zero Sum Game anyway.

Unfortunately, it mentions events that took place in Destiny and the books that follow. While I could have just muddled my way through, I eventually decided (being the stubborn book lover I am) it would probably be best to go back and read the Destiny trilogy then come back.

And so I did. But instead of just finishing Destiny, I went and read all the books released in chronological order. If you’ve followed this blog since the beginning, you probably would have noticed this progression.

Anyway, speaking with my friend Matt, he suggested what books to read and which I could skip. And if you’re interested in doing the same, you can skip some since not all of the titles released since Destiny follow this same timeline.

Here’s the release timeline:
+ Destiny: Gods of Night – David Mack – Sept 2008
+ Destiny: Mere Mortals – David Mack – Nov 2008
+ Destiny: Lost Souls – David Mack – Nov 2008
+ A Singular Destiny – Keith R A DeCandido – Jan 2009
+ Titan: Over a Torrent Sea – Christopher L Bennett – Feb 2009
+ Voyager: Full Circle – Kirsten Beyer – Mar 2009
+ TNG: Losing the Peace – William Leisner – Jun 2009
> DS9: The Soul Key – Olivia Woods – Jul 2009
> DS9: Never-ending Sacrifice – Una McCormack – Aug 2009
+ Voyager: Unworthy – Kirsten Beyer – Sept 2009
+ Titan: Synthesis – James Swallow – Oct 2009
+Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game – David Mack – Oct 2010

( > Books with the arrow mean they do not follow the Destiny timeline.)

And so here I am 11 books later back at Zero Sum Game. Only took me a year or so. (I can hear Matt and Kat saying “FINALLY” to me, since they’ve been itching for me to catch up so we can discuss them).

Phew, anyway this post is getting long.

Zero Sum Game begins when plans for Starfleet’s slipstream drive are stolen. All evidence seems to suggest the Federation’s new enemy. The Typhon Pact is an alliance of Romulan, Breen, Tholian, and other forces that came together following the Borg invasion. Starfleet can’t afford losing the only advantage they have over the Typhon Pact. That said, they can’t risk an all out assault on the Pact during the current cold war and while so many of their resources are being devoted to rebuilding the Federation.

Things then fall into the hands of Starfleet Intelligence. They recruit Dr Julian Bashir, genetically engineered and a history (albeit short) or working for SI. Partnered with another genetically enhanced agent, Bashir is sent to Breen space to infiltrate the mysterious species, sabotage the slipstream files, and destroy the prototype.

Let me first start off by saying: YAY AVENTINE!! Since the inclusion of the Aventine and Captain Ezri Dax in the Destiny series, I have jonesing for more. The Aventine is also in A Singular Destiny, but there’s nothing else until this book. I love it because Ezri is a character we only got to see a little bit about before DS9 went off the air – but she’s still a character that the readers know. It’s nice to have a younger CO at the helm (because lets face it, at some point Picard is going to need to retire if the timelines keep progressing like this). I also like the fact that she’s a younger female as the boss, which gives female Trek fans like me something better to relate to. It’s not often we get to see a young woman kicking so much ass. Usually female characters are older or if they’re not, they really only serve to be male eye candy. Plus as I mentioned, Ezri isn’t afraid to kick ass and pull her weight – so to the people responsible for Trek story development at CBS, Pocket Books, etc: MORE USS AVENTINE PLEASE!

Anyway, Bashir gets to play spy. It reminded me of the episode “Our Man Bashir”, where Bashir gets to play James Bond in the holodeck. Of course, this isn’t play and he’s really sent into enemy space. All in all I enjoyed the book. I like that there’s development of two of my favourite characters – Bashir and Ezri.

Admittedly there were a few of the ‘spy’ elements that I thought were peculiar. I could see Bashir making these mistakes since he really doesn’t have much intelligence training, but given that his partner has served with SI for a while it seemed like she was making silly mistakes.

That said, it wasn’t enough to take away from the book, though I would consider this one of the lighter of the Trek novels.

I definitely recommend this book, so I give it four stars.

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