Sunday, January 1, 2012

January 2012: "Rise Like Lions"


Miles “Smiley” O’Brien struggles to hold together his weary band of freedom fighters in their war against the overwhelming might of the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance. Each day pushes the rebels on Terok Nor one step closer to defeat, but with nowhere left to run, the time has come to make their last stand.

Light-years away, Mac Calhoun and his Romulan allies harass Klingon forces with devious hit-and-run attacks. But Calhoun has a grander ambition: he intends to merge his fleet with the Terran Rebellion and lead it to victory—or die trying.

Meanwhile, a bitter feud threatens to shatter the Alliance from within. The old rivalry between the Klingons and the Cardassians erupts into open warfare as each vies for the upper hand in their partnership.

by David Mack
Mass Market paperback – 416 pages
PocketBooks – January 2012 – $7.99 

The Klingon/Cardassian Alliance is on its last legs, and so is the Terran Resistance. In fact, the Mirror Universe seems headed for a complete meltdown as the new Mirror Universe story "Rise Like Lions" takes shape.

As General O’Brien and his cast of rebels maintains a tenious hold over Terok Nor, they sense the need to go on the offensive – recognizing that the rebellion must become far more than a defensive battle if it is to succeed. Of course, he is going to need some allies to accomplish his goals, especially as things begin to tank for the rebellion, and well situated to assist is one M’k'n’zy of Calhoun, whose recent ‘inheritance’ of ex-Praetor Hiren’s fleet makes him a powerful player on the interstellar scene.

At the same time, on opposite sides of the Alliance, the Cardassians and the Klingons are struggling with their own internal organizational and security problems as madness begins to reign on many Alliance worlds. Disgraced ex-regent Worf remains in rebel custody, and may well hold the key that is needed to take advantage of the new state of affairs in the Alliance, but, of course, there is no way he can be trusted… or is there?

While these quandaries are percolating, a quite archaeological prospector, Luc Picard, is contacted by a shadowy agency that has, for a century, been preparing for the day when a better future for the Milky Way might be realized… one involving peace, mutual prosperity, and an end to centuries of unremitting hostility among the civilizations of the galaxy. He may be hard to impress, but Saavik, taking a page from the late Emperor Spock, seems to realize that there are always… possibilities.

Within "Rise Like Lions", the entire 24th century cast of Star Trek characters is on display, and references abound to nearly every Star Trek literary and television series. What you get is a veritable feast of Star Trek storytelling that effortlessly draws together the wide array of the Next Generation and beyond, without the need to know a whole lot about what is going on (aside from having seen the DS9 mirror universe episodes).
While tons of material is derived from Mack’s preceding book and the anthology series, none of it is essential to enjoy this book. I had not previously read any of the material from the series, and I followed every aspect of the story fine. Mack fills you in with enough information to put together your surroundings, without needing to go back to read the preceding stories. (Of course, they will make you want to go back and read the preceding ones if you have not done so before.)

Nothing about "Rise Like Lions" disappoints, except for – perhaps – the deus ex machina solution that saves Calhoun and his crew as the story unfolds; the ultimate explanation leaves one groaning… but aside from this, Mack delivers a compelling tale of a new galactic order that the avid Star Trek fan will not want to miss.

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