Star Trek Section 31: Disavowed
One of the most intriguing story threads left hanging by last year’s five-book Star Trek The Fall series was the fate of Julian Bashir. Though Dr. Bashir was able to solve the Andorian reproductive crisis (a story-thread that has been running through the Star Trek books since the post-finale DS9 relaunch fifteen years ago), to do so he wound up disobeying his superiors and was discharged from Starfleet. This was an exciting development for the character, and I was very curious to see where his story would go next.
Luckily I didn’t have to wait long, as David Mack’s new book Section 31: Disavowed, focuses on Bashir, now on the outs from Starfleet and at something of a loss as to what to do with his life. No surprise, Bashir is soon approached by Section 31, who have been trying (since the final seasons of the TV show) to recruit Bashir into their organization. What unfolds is a game of spy-versus-spy, as Bashir and his girlfriend Sarina Hanfling enter the folds of Section 31 with the goal of undermining the organization from within. Meanwhile, their handlers in 31 are fully aware of Bashir and Hanfling’s goals, but confident that they can keep the two under their control.
It’s interesting that this book has been published under the “Section 31” label. Very soon after DS9 went off the air, Pocket Books published four “Section 31” books, but they haven’t used that label since. One of those books, Abyss by David Weddle & Jeffrey Lang, was also a Bashir-focused story, and the events of that book have some relevance to this story. Disavowed is also a direct continuation of the Bashir and Sarina developments that occurred in David Mack’s Bashir-and-Sarina-focused Typhon Pact novel Zero Sum Game, as well as everything that went down in the five-book The Fall series. I love the way the stories of these books, published years apart and written by various different authors, fit together. Mr. Mack has done a terrific job of pulling together various story and character threads and moving Bashir and Sarina’s tale forward, as well as that of their efforts against the mysterious Section 31.
To my delight, Disavowed also picks up the story of the Mirror Universe! David Mack wrote several wonderful Mirror Universe-focused books, most notably The Sorrows of Empire (click here for my review) and Rise Like Lions (click here for my review). Rise Like Lions felt like the triumphant conclusion of the Mirror Universe story-line, so I was not expecting to return to those characters. Nevertheless, it was an absolute delight to check back in with the Mirror Universe, seven years after the Terran Rebellion emerged victorious at the end of Rise Like Lions. It seems that The Dominion of the Mirror Universe has finally arrived in the Mirror Alpha Quadrant. Can the fragile new Galactic Republic created by “Smiley” O’Brien and his fellow revolutionaries possibly resist the mighty Dominion? This is a great hook for a story, and Mr. Mack’s tale has lots of delightful twists and turns. (I particularly loved the sort-of-in-jest suggestion that perhaps the Odo of our universe and the Odo of the Mirror Universe might have switched places at some point in the past!!)
Disavowed is a great read, my only complaint is that it does not resolve much of anything by the end. There is another Section 31 book in the works, Control, that will pick up this story. I like that these stories aren’t wrapped up too easily, that we’re getting to watch larger-scale stories unfold over the course of many books. But it’s hard to wait, since a publishing date for Control hasn’t even been announced (meaning that it’s likely at least a year away, if not more).
Still, I shouldn’t complain. Mr. Mack’s story is a great read, a thrilling, fast-paced adventure yarn. I loved the return to the Mirror Universe, and I am eager to see where Sarina & Bashir’s story is going to go from here.
Previous Star Trek novel reviews:
Star Trek – Unspoken Truth , Troublesome Minds, Cast No Shadow, Excelsior: Forged in Fire, Allegiance in Exile
Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Sky’s The Limit, Resistance and Q & A, Before Dishonor and Greater than the Sum, Destiny trilogy, A Singular Destiny, Losing the Peace,Immortal Coil, Cold Equations Book 1: The Persistence of Memory, Cold Equations Book 2: Silent Weapons, Cold Equations Book 3: The Body Electric, The Light Fantastic
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – DS9 relaunch overview, The Soul Key, The Never-Ending Sacrifice, Plagues of Night and Raise the Dawn
Star Trek: Voyager – Full Circle, Unworthy, Children of the Storm, The Eternal Tide, Protectors
Star Trek: Enterprise — Kobayashi Maru, The Romulan War: Beneath the Raptor’s Wing, The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm, Rise of the Federation: A Choice of Futures, Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel
Star Trek: Titan – Book 1: Taking Wing, Book 2: The Red King, Book 3: Orion’s Hounds, Book 4: Sword of Damocles, Under a Torrent Sea, Synthesis, Fallen Gods
Star Trek: Typhon Pact – Book 1: Zero-Sum Game, Book 2: Seize the Fire, Book 3: Rough Beasts of Empire, Book 4: Paths of Disharmony, Plagues of Night and Raise the Dawn, Brinkmanship
Star Trek: The Fall — Book 1: Revelation and Dust, Book 2: The Crimson Shadow, Book 3: A Ceremony of Losses, Book 4: The Poisoned Chalice, Book 5: Peaceable Kingdoms
Star Trek: New Frontier – Series overview, Stone & Anvil, After the Fall, and Missing in Action, Treason and Blind Man’s Bluff
Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations – Watching the Clock, Forgotten History
Star Trek: The Lost Era – Book 1: The Sundered (2298), Book 2: Serpents Among the Ruins (2311), Book 3: The Art of the Impossible (2328-2346), The Buried Age (2355-2364), One Constant Star (2319)
Star Trek: Mirror Universe (Books 1 & 2) – Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Shards & Shadows – Star Trek: Mirror Universe: The Sorrows of Empire — Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Rise Like Lions – Star Trek: Myriad Universes (Books 1 & 2) – Star Trek: Myriad Universes: Shattered Light
Beyond the Final Frontier — Josh’s favorite Star Trek novels