Following on the novel Rise Like Lions, also by David Mack, I picked up Disavowed mostly because I was interested to see what happened to Dr. Julian Bashier. Bashier was the Chief Medical Officer of Deep Space Nine until he learned of a disease that would have wiped out the Andorian race had he not intervened. Unfortunately, he was forced to obtain knowledge in a rather shady way which resulted in him not only being drummed out of Starfleet, but making him a criminal as far as the Federation was concerned. On the other side of the coin, Bashier was successful in saving the Andorians from becoming extinct, and also made it possible for the Andorians (one of the founding races of the United Federation of Planets) to rejoin the Federation. As a result, Bashier was granted asylum on Andor where he is revered as a hero, just the opposite of what he would be considered in every other corner of the Federation.
Rise Like Lions sets up the events of Disavowed as much of the latter deals with events that take place in the Alternate Universe. Briefly, the Terran Rebellion is successful in gaining their freedom from the Alliance thanks to the help of a secret organization calling itself Memory Omega that develops and uses technology that is far superior to anything that can be found in the Alternate Universe. They share some of their technology with the Rebellion, which includes a form of propulsion called the Jaunt Drive which allows ships to create artificial wormholes and travel instantly between points in space.
Now on to Disavowed…
This is unrest among the members of the Typhon Pact, and they are starting to vie for a showdown with the Federation for control of the Alpha Quadrant. One member of the Pact, the Breen, have learned about the Jaunt Drive developed by Memory Omega in the Alternate Universe and find a way to open a wormhole from the Prime Universe into the Alternate Universe with the intention of sending a ship through to steal a ship equipped with the Jaunt Drive, thus hoping to gain the upper hand in their bid for control.
At the same time, Bashier and his significant other are pressed into service by Section 31 to also go to the Alternate Universe to stop the Breen from obtaining the Jaunt Drive technology.
Meanwhile, the Galactic Commonwealth, the organization that grew from the victory by the Terran Rebellion, are entering negotiations with the Dominion to work out a nonaggression pact, however, when Dr. Bashier arrives on the scene, the negotiations are thrown out the window as the Dominion demands that he be handed over to stand trial for causing the death of Odo during Bashier’s first trip to the Alternate Universe in the Deep Space Nine episode “Crossover” (season 2, episode 23). With “Smiley” O’Brien retired, Michael Eddington has taken on the role of the Chairman of the Commonwealth, and refuses to turn Bashier over for trial. The Dominion threatens war.
No matter which way he turns, Bashier would appear to be damned.
With all of the story threads in Disavowed, I honestly would have expected to become disinterested and confused, but not with the well organized writing of David Mack. Mack switches between scenes in a story that unfolds at warp speed, but everything is laid out so well, that it is easy to follow and allowed me to focus on the various stories. But not only does he tell a great story about Bashier, the Breen, the Commonwealth, but he also plants the seeds for other stories to grow out of this one. Be watching for future books involving Bashier and his quest to be the downfall of Section 31.
Mack’s writing style very much appeals to me because he seems to make every chapter a story in miniature; each is a snapshot painting a small picture so that when they are all put together, it is very easy to see the big picture. Only a great writer can do this well, and Mack is, in my opinion, one of the greats.
I was never really a fan of the “Mirror Universe” stories as they were in the television series because they always seemed to be mostly silly and much was overstated as the writers of those episodes (especially in the Deep Space Nine series) tried to overemphasize the differences in many of the characters. To me, the television Mirror Universe characters were more like cartoons of their Prime Universe counterparts. This is one area where David Mack has excelled. The characters from the Alternate Universe are different, but not so much so that they are not recognizable. I appreciate this because it makes them more believable and less like caricatures of their Prime Universe counterparts.
When I announced on Facebook that I was going to read Disavowed, it was recommended to me that I first read A Ceremony Of Losses, From "The Fall" series and then Rise Like Lions to get a good handle on the events leading up to this story. While Disavowed will stand alone as a great story, reading the previous installments will greatly add to a reader's understanding of the back story and just how Julian Bashier has come to the state that is finds himself and how the conflict in the Alternate Universe was resolved and how the political situation in this story came about.
Once again, David Mack has penned a masterpiece of Trek lore that I recommend, especially for fans of DS9 and TNG.
Well, there it is...