Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game
March 1, 2011 1 Comment
I was really looking forward to the first book of the Typhon Pact. More often than not, the recent Star Trek books I’ve been reading have been interesting and exciting. The new status quo of the Federation in a cold war with much lesser known enemies really interested. “Anything” I thought “to get away from another goddamn Borg story.” Unfortunately, the first book of the Typhon Pact series, ‘Zero Sum Game’ just wasn’t that interesting.
Zero Sum Game features Deep Space Nine’s Doctor Julian Bashier on a mission into Breen space. The Typhon Pact has stolen the Federation’s plans for a new type of warp engine called a Slipstream Drive and they are building a prototype that would give the Pact an extreme advantage. Bashier is joined by Serena Douglas, a genetically enhanced woman from the DS9 episodes Statistical Probabilities and Chrysalis who is now working for Starfleet Intelligence. Their mission is to sneak into Breen space, locate the prototype and any data related to it and then destroy it.
Zero Sum Game is written by David Mack, who has previously written the Destiny trilogy which I quite enjoyed. I had been eagerly looking forward to this new Trek series and the fact that Mack was writing it was just more good news. The story itself isn’t bad. DS9 gave me a mighty love for Trek politics and a Trek espionage book seemed right up my alley but this felt a little slow. We get a good look at the Breen, a race which appeared quite a bit on DS9 and which we never learned very much about. Mack takes the random Breen facts we’ve learned over the years and makes them into a sort of collective. Instead of one race, the Breen encompasses many different races. Mack also brings up some interesting ideas about a society as paranoid and secretive as the Breen (An underground market where Breen are allowed to go maskless was especially neat.) but a lot of it feels like world building for later books. The actual story involving Bashier and Sarina on the Breen world seems to drag in places and the subplots featuring Dax and her ship, the Aventine are extremely dull. My biggest problem with the new Trek novels is that a lot of new crewmembers are introduced whom the reader may have no familiarity with. Establishing who these new characters are is important, otherwise they’re just faceless schmucks waiting to be killed and this was one of the problems of the Aventine. She doesn’t have a single crewmember we’ve met except for Dax and so all of the names and personalities have a tendency to mix together.
The end of the book picks up quite a bit with the sabotage of the prototype and the introduction of its Breen project head, a character I liked quite a bit. The Aventine’s political maneuvering in an attempt to distract the Breen so that Bashier and Sarina could be safely retrieved was also very cool but for the most part Zero Sum Game remains exceedingly average.