Stare too long into the abyss, the saying goes, and the abyss stares back at you.
Julian Bashir is again coerced into working for the enigmatic Section 31 in the third book of the Deep Space Nine relaunch, which also serves as the DS9 entry in the Section 31 subset of novels. David Weddle, who with Bradley Thompson wrote the DS9 episode that introduced Section 31 to the Trek universe ("Inquisition"), joins with veteran Trek novelist Jeffrey Lang for Abyss, as Bashir, Dax, Ro, and Taran'atar journey to Sindorin, a former Dominion base deep in the Badlands. There, Dr Ethan Locken, a genetically enhanced human scientist formerly in the employ of 31, is preparing to set himself up as a new Khan Noonien Singh, with his own ready made army of Jem'Hadar to back him up. And as Ro and Taran'atar deal with some old friends from Ro's Maquis days and a crashed runabout, Bashir and Dax find themselves Locken's guests...and Bashir finds himself strangely tempted by Locken's visions of the future. Meanwhile, back on the station, Kira begins to deal with the consequences of her recent actions and decisions...
Much like a typical episode of the series, the book balances the A, B, and C stories contained within very well, although one would have hoped for some deeper delving into the events back on the station. Then again, that would have taken a bit away from the main stories, so I suppose the tradeoff is a fair one overall. The look into the darker heart of Bashir is refreshing, if a bit predictable, and seeing Dax's growing horror as the man she thought she knew better begins to turn away from his better nature is also intriguing.
Solid, well-written, and full of dark shadows in all the right places, this book will satisfy.
Title: The Abyss
Author: Jeffrey Lang & David Weddle
Review by: CL4 Skull Leader