Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Never Ending Sacrifice
Genre: Sci-fi, Star Trek
Continuing the post-television Deep Space Nine saga, The Never Ending Sacrifice shows the fall of the Cardassian empire as seen through the eyes of a young man with a foot in two worlds.
Rugal is an orphaned Cardassian who has been raised by the people his race once conquered, the Bajorans. Reluctantly repatriated to Cardassia as a teenager, Rugal becomes the living witness to the downfall of the proud people to whom he was born, first by the invading Klingons, then during the Cardassians’ unholy pact with the Dominion—a partnership that culminated in a near-genocide.
Through it all, Rugal’s singular perspective illuminates the choices that brought the Cardassians to their ruin…even as he learns that the Cardassian soul is not as easy to understand as he imagined.
The Never Ending Sacrifice is definitely one of — if not THE —best Star Trek novel out there. It’s also one of my favourite books I’ve read in 2018.
I will be honest though, I wouldn’t have read The Never Ending Sacrifice had it not been the September Trek Book Club selection. Even so, I was a bit weary going into it because it focused on Rugal, a one-off Cardassian character from early on in Deep Space Nine. How exciting could that be?
Holy crap was I wrong
The Never Ending Sacrifice is a goddamn masterpiece.
It’s an historical epic that just so happens to be set on another planet.
Everything about this book breaks the mould of what you’d expect from a Star Trek novel. It takes place over years instead of just a few days or weeks. The main character appeared in just one episode (“Cardassians” from season two), though we do get cameos from the characters we know and love. Even the cover isn’t a typical Star Trek book cover featuring a starship or floating heads of a recognizable Trek characters. This one is bleak and alien, featuring the cityscape of Cardassia Prime.
The plot ties in nicely with the events of the Dominion War. We get mentions and glimpses of things that happened on the show, but it doesn’t overshadow or cheapen Rugal’s plight. These bits could have felt unnecessary and included just for the sake of name dropping, but it feels genuine and enhances his story rather than take away the focus.
You don’t have to be a Star Trek fan to love this book
You will care about Rugal and his journey regardless of your prior knowledge of Star Trek. At it’s core, it’s a fantastic coming of age story following the struggles of a young man brought up by “the enemy” and finding his place in a war torn Cardassia. To top it all off, it’s beautifully written and plotted.
This is my first Una McCormack book and is most certainly not going to be my last (excuse me while I devour everything she’s ever written).
I also had the pleasure of meeting Una at Destination Star Trek! She and James Swallow were fantastic panelists on the Star Trek Book Talk. Afterwards I got my copy of Enigma Tales signed while I awkwardly gushed about how much I loved The Never Ending Sacrifice.
She also has a Star Trek Discovery book featuring Tilly which comes out January 2019.
Honestly, I can’t harass you enough to read this book. Please read it!