I'm torn between giving this book 3 and 4 stars. On one hand, the book is well written and focuses extensively and primarily on the characters of "Deep Space Nine," who have been neglected in the Star Trek literary universe for far too long. A lot of times, it hits the characterizations well and furthers them even deeper than this novel's predecessor did. On the other hand, parts of the character arcs seem silly and contrived, and not very much in keeping with the spirit of the "Deep Space Nine" television series or the book relaunch that followed it.
Three character points are particularly troubling. Although it is gratifying to see Captain Sisko's marital woes arch finally resolved in this story, the resolution makes little sense. Mr. George briefly explores the concepts of prophecy and destiny, but fails to consider that walking a different path may still lead to the same destination. The absence of the Prophets from Sisko's life also feels insignificant by the end of the book, which is contrary to the idea of the series that Sisko had a long path the travel before he fulfilled his ultimate destiny as the Emissary. Moreover, the sorrow that Sisko was to have known being away from his wife was already covered in the show's series finale, when he was forced to spend time away from his wife to live with the Prophets. To return to the arch and explore it across three novels seems redundant. Even more alarming--and for me, personally, outright enraging--is how Kira is handled in this tale. It seems the writers and editors at Simon and Schuster have run out of ideas for her character, which is a shame after they did the same with another strong female character: Kathryn Janeway. Finally, the idea of Ro Laren as Starfleet Captain is simply ludicrous. While Ro's promotion to captain was first featured in David Mack's "Seize the Fire," Mr. George wrote a number of passages in which Ro considered her less than immaculate Starfleet career. Nevertheless, neither this novel or its predecessor came close to explaining how a woman who was court martialed, later abandoned Starfleet to join Maquis renegades, and almost not readmitted into Starfleet when it integrated the Bajoran militia achieved the rank of Captain. Worf, who has served the Federation and Starfleet for far longer and much more consistently than RO Laren is still only a commander, and probably will not be given a command of his own because of the single reprimand in his file for abandoning his mission to retrieve a Cardassian operative during the Dominion War so that he could rescue his injured wife. Yet, somehow Ro Laren achieved the rank of Captain. I like her character and think they have done wonderful things with her in the literary universe, but even Sisko was only a commander when he took command of Deep Space Nine.
However, I am ultimately giving this book four stars because it handles the political intrigue surrounding the Typhon Pact and the Khitomer Accords with sophistication and style, and reunites the Deep Space Nine characters in a logical and meaningful way. Nan Bacco and Gell Kamemor are vital and alive, and Bacco in particular has been restored to the complex character we've gotten to know over several novels--a welcome break for her cartoonish headaches that Mr. Mack invented in "Seize the Fire." The gravity of the plot and the consequences for the "Star Trek" universe make this book a worthy addition to the "Typhon Pact" series, especially in light of the first three disappointing novels. (I exclude "Path of Disharmony.") Every character that returns to Bajor has a logical reason for doing so, and it's nice to see some familiar faces again. By the end of the novel, there is even some hope left for Kira, though any arch for hereon needs to be creative and significant to justify her direction in this novel.
Overall, this is an enjoyable read, and like it or hate it, it is engrossing and forever changes the shape of the "Star Trek" universe.