A few weeks have passed after the end of the Dominion War and the latest host the Dax symbiont, Ezri, is still trying to find her feet on the station and come to terms with dealing with the memories of the previous hosts.
Starting off in a holosuite on the station, Ezri tells an attentive Vic Fontaine her tale of how she came to be joined with the Dax symbiont and one by one, each different host of the Dax symbiont is brought to life in an anthology of short tales written by some of the most talented Star Trek writers around.
Each of the short stories centres around one of the hosts of the Dax symbiont and each of the authors pick up on the little details given to us throughout the entire DS9 run about all the previous hosts.
The first story is Ezri's and deals with how she came to be Dax's new host after the death of Jadzia at the end of Season 6. It builds upon the few lines mentioned in the Season 7 episode, "Shadows and Symbols", where she says that she was the only Trill on board the USS Destiny (the ship that was transporting the symbiont back to its homeworld) when the symbiont took a turn for the worse and needed a new host. But in fact it turns out that the situation wasn't as simple as that as it tells of how the another Trill on board the Destiny had been killed by a Changeling infiltrator leaving Ezri to be the sole possibility for a new host. The author adds an extra level to Ezri's character by showing that Ezri was somewhat disgusted by the idea of joined Trills and her reluctance of becoming the new host for the ailing symbiont.
Next in line was Lela Dax, first host of the Dax symbiont. The author of this story, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, builds on the fact that Lela had been a legislator and one of the first women to hold a position in the Trill Council. Her story deals with a disastrous first contact situation which sees Lela putting her political career in jeopardy when she decides to do what she feels is right rather than follow the archaic tradition of her fellow colleagues.
The third story story in the collection is that of Tobin Dax. Set in the early days of the Federation, the shy Trill and his Vulcan crewmate must save the day and a mysterious prototype (which turns out to be none other than the infamous transporter) when their vessel is attacked and boarded by Romulans.
Next up, Emony Dax's story centres around a young Leonard McCoy and tells the story of his attraction and relationship with the beautiful gymnast. This story is, of course, based on a scene in the hilarious "Trials and Tribbleations" where Jadzia mentions that Emony once knew a Leonard McCoy who had the hands of a surgeon. It's also in this story where it seems that, for once, someone other than the Trill race knows about the symbionts, a detail which adds a little fun to anyone interested in knowing where the knowledge about the Trill stood in the overall Trek timeline.
Audrid Dax's story is perhaps the most originally written and moving story in the whole book. Written in the form of a letter from Audrid to her estranged daughter, whom she hasn't spoken to in 8 years, Audrid appeals to her daughter as she explains the circumstances surrounding her father's death. It's a very touching story which sees mother reunited with daughter after so long and also features the appearance of the legendary Captain Christoper Pike.
The sixth story of the anthology is Torias Dax's and tells of the events leading to his death in a shuttle accident. In the story, the reader will get to know more about the ill-fated relationship of Torias and Nilani Khan (seen later in "Rejoined" as Lenara Khan), another somewhat touching story that comes straight after Audrid's.
Joran's story, however, takes a completely different angle and takes the form of a criminal investigation into the murders committed by the sinister Joran. Although the story istelf does not shed that much light on Joran's past, it does give a very good insight into the workings of his mind.
Curzon Dax's story is quite unusual in the sense that it's told through the point of view of a certain Ensign Benjamin Sisko and tells us of an diplomatic incident aboard the Pelios station. It was quite a treat to see what the friendship of the 2 men had been like as, on screen, the relationship was mostly refered to via Jadzia recounting her predecessor's memories.
Last but not least, Jadzia's tale is a heartfelt story between her and her sister. The story jumps from past to present and mostly in the form of flashbacks to their childhood, where it focuses on the relationship and events between the 2 sisters throughout their lives leading to Jadzia's sisters unexpected and unapproved joining with a symbiont.
So, having read all the stories, I can definately recommend this book as good reading. Each of the stories is well written and they all give more insight into the lives and characters of all of Dax's hosts. I especially liked the way that each of the stories was written in a different style, sometimes taking the form of a letter or sometimes being told from someone else's point of view, and the way that we can see the Trill race and its relationship with the interstellar community develop throughout the years.
I did feel that some stories were more interesting than others and it's all down to personal choice. Personal favourites of mine were the Audrid and Emony stories as they were both very well written and captivating. The Tobin Dax and Curzon Dax stories were probably my least favourite but were still also well written and gave quite a lot of background on these 2 characters.
One thing I would have liked to have seen in this anthology would have been a tale about Verad Dax, the Trill who forcibly took the symbiont from Jadzia in the episode "Invasive Procedures". Although he is mentioned in Jadzia's story in this collection and he was only ever seen in one episode, some more background into this character would have made the whole collection even more complete.
Although not a canon book, "The Lives of Dax" serves as a very good source for anyone wanting to learn more about the Dax's and it is must-have for fans of Jadzia/Ezri Dax, the Trill race or of DS9 in general.
Title: The Lives of Dax
Author: Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Jeffrey Lang, Michael Jan Friedman, S.D.Perry, Susan Wright, Robert S