Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Enigma Tales
by Una McCormack
“Elim Garak has ascended to Castellan of the Cardassian Union…but despite his soaring popularity, the imminent publication of a report exposing his people’s war crimes during the occupation on Bajor looks likely to set the military against him. Into this tense situation come Dr. Katherine Pulaski – visiting Cardassia Prime to accept an award on behalf of the team that solved the Andorian genetic crisis – and Dr. Peter Alden, formerly of Starfleet Intelligence. The two soon find themselves at odds with Garak and embroiled in the politics of the prestigious University of the Union, where a new head is about to be appointed. But the discovery of a hidden archive from the last years before the Dominion War could destroy Lang’s reputation. As Pulaski and Alden become drawn into a deadly game to exonerate Lange, their confrontation escalates with Castellan Garak – a conflicted leader treading a fine line between the bright hopes for Cardassia’s future and the dark secrets still buried in its past.”
The title, Enigma Tales, is taken from the Distant Voices episode of Deep Space Nine. On Dr. Bashir’s birthday, he gives Julian an adaptation of a Cardassian enigma tale, which doesn’t really thrill the doctor as even though he likes mysteries, Cardassian mysteries end up with all of the subjects being guilty.
“The challenge is determining exactly who is guilty of what,” Garak tells Bashir and in McCormack’s Enigma Tales, the challenge is indeed finding out who is guilty of what.
Castellan Elim Garak wants to do the right thing for his society after the devastating Dominion War, but doing so may mean bringing things to light that some, including the military and various individuals, would like to keep hidden. He is willing to face the consequences of bringing past misdeeds to light, even his own, if it means ultimate freedom for his people.
Professor Natima Lang is one of those people, a well-respected professor and public figure. She is implicated in dark deeds when an archive from the pre-war days comes to light and it’s discovered that terrible things were done under her watch. Did Lang approve the project? Did she even know what was happening at the time?
Throw in two Federation outsiders, including an ex-spy and a bit of a loose cannon doctor and you have a compelling story that races along.
This was a fast-paced book and very difficult to put down once one got into it. One can’t help but see the parallels to Germany after World War II. Indeed Garak mentions a visit to Berlin in unsent letters he pens to the comatose Bashir, referring to a “vile regime” (Nazi Germany) and comparing Berlin in WWII to any Cardassian city during the Dominion War. The hope for Garak as Castellan is to lead Cardassia from the ashes of that war into a bright future. If Germany could rise from its past, so can Cardassia.
Readers are left wondering who did what in Cardassia’s dark past, but don’t expect to get all of the answers to that question by the end of the book. Enigma Tales is about cautious hope – hope for the resurrection of Cardassia and hope for Julian Bashir’s recovery.
It’s always delightful to read a story featuring Garak.
Author: Una McCormack
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Enigma Tales is available as a mass market paperback for $7.19. Order it here. It is also available as a Kindle eBook and as an unabridged audiobook.