This was the first hardback story to be released for Deep Space Nine.
There are rumblings from Bajor about independence from the Federation of Planets. Many politicians are still untrusting of alien visitors, fuelled by their past war with Cardassian occupiers. Presumably driven by nearby Ferengi operations, Bajor quickly begins planning a luxury resort under management by a shady Bajoran named McHogue.
Aboard DS9, a series of murders are being investigated by Odo, which he thinks is linked to the new holo-suites that were recently installed. It’s later determined that the suites, and the ones on the luxury resort, are using nefarious Cardassian technology.
All the main DS9 characters are fairly represented. Most dialogue was good, a scene with diplomacy between Sisco and Bajoran politicians was challenging and interesting to read. That being said, I feel like the ending was a let-down. This was a story with a good premise, some mystery, a good villain and a atmosphere of political turmoil. The conclusion was based on Sisco confronting McHogue in a holographically projected world and relied on breaking the system through mental exercise.
I think a more exciting conclusion would be if McHogue confronted Sisco in this unpredictable, holographic world. A one-on-one manhunt in an automated, shifting world with only their wit and a phaser to protect them. That’s what I would have enjoyed, but you may still enjoy it. It’s possible that I didn’t fully absorb the final scenes.
To conclude, this book drew me in with great representation of characters, Odo’s investigation and slippery Bajoran diplomacy. The villain was unique, I liked the use of holo-suites and a scene from Gul Dukat (series main antagonist). Around the book’s end, though, I felt the whole story fell off an uninteresting cliff. Not the worst, but a very disappointing payoff.