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The Star Trek: The Lost era: 2328-2346: The Art of the Impossible (Star Trek Lost Era) Mass Market Paperback – September 30, 2003

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About the Author

Keith R.A. DeCandido was born and raised in New York City to a family of librarians. He has written over two dozen novels, as well as short stories, nonfiction, eBooks, and comic books, most of them in various media universes, among them Star Trek, World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Marvel Comics, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity, Resident Evil, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, Farscape, Xena, and Doctor Who. His original novel Dragon Precinct was published in 2004, and he's also edited several anthologies, among them the award-nominated Imaginings and two Star Trek anthologies. Keith is also a musician, having played percussion for the bands the Don't Quit Your Day Job Players, the Boogie Knights, and the Randy Bandits, as well as several solo acts. In what he laughingly calls his spare time, Keith follows the New York Yankees and practices kenshikai karate. He still lives in New York City with his girlfriend and two insane cats.

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"Entering standard orbit around the fifth planet."

Standing in the center of the bridge of the Cardassian survey vessel Sontok, Gul Monor clasped his hands behind his back. "Excellent. Full sensor scan, Ekron. I want confirmation of those zenite readings."

"Yes, sir." Glinn Ekron manipulated a few commands on his console, situated just below and perpendicular to Monor's command chair, which was on a raised platform at the bridge's rear. The console's lighting illuminated Ekron's face, casting shadows that were accentuated by his unusually thick facial ridges. Monor thought the ridges made his second-in-command look like the statue on the grave of Monor's father -- which of course looks nothing like Father, but what do you expect from those idiots who call themselves sculptors these days? The shadows on Ekron's face actually were an improvement, as it cut down on the resemblance to the statue. Monor's father, of course, looked much more noble in life -- he had a good, strong Cardassian face. Ekron, on the other hand, just had an ordinary face, one that didn't stand out in the least. Nobody would ever notice that face, except maybe to comment on how thick the ridges were. Occasionally, Monor cared enough to wonder whether or not Ekron cultivated that.

The glinn announced, "Preliminary sensor data does verify long-range readings. This world is rich in zenite." That mineral was used to combat botanical plagues, and was vital to the continued efficacy of several Cardassian farming colonies.

Hope in his voice, Monor asked, "Any life signs?"

"None so far, sir."

Monor sighed. "Ah, well. I suppose that'll make annexing it easier. Still, it'd be nice to not have to import a labor force to mine the stuff."

"I'm sure that's true, sir," Ekron said.

"Assuming this isn't another one of those damned sensor ghosts. Damned equipment's never totally reliable, is it, Ekron?"

"No, sir, it isn't."

The gul started pacing the length of the Sontok's bridge, moving away from the command chair, past Ekron's operations console, as well as the navigation and tactical stations. The cramped confines did not allow him much room to have a proper pace. It was a failing in the design of the Akril class of ships, to Monor's mind. "Ekron, make a note for me to send a memo to Central Command complaining about the amount of floor space on the bridge."

"Yes, sir."

"But not the lighting. I like the lighting." Again, he sighed. "In any case, what we need is more reliable equipment. We could probably learn a thing or two from the Federation about sensors. They always seem to be one step ahead of us on that. Amazing, for such a backward people. No conception of how to run a government, for one thing." Monor grew tired of pacing, and finally decided to sit in the command chair. "Though at least they have manners, for the most part. The humans, anyhow, and the Vulcans, of course, and those Betazoids. Tellarites, now they're another story. How soon until the scan's complete?" He stepped up the two stairs of the platform and sat in his chair.

Ekron glanced down at his console. "The full scan of the northern continent will be complete in one hour, sir."

"Good. That's what I like to hear." Monor shifted position in his chair; it let out a squeaking sound. Now he remembered why he had gotten up from the chair in the first place. "Ekron, make a note to have that chair fixed."

"I've already informed engineering of your problems with the chair, sir, but that is the standard command chair for an Akril-class vessel."

"Damned excuses. Hiding behind standards like that. In my day, engineers knew how to fix things -- how to make them better, not just make them adequate. They just don't make 'em like they used to, Ekron."

"No, sir, they don't."

Monor clambered out of his chair, and it made another squeak. "Tell them at least to get rid of that wretched squeaking noise. I assume that isn't standard?"

"I'm sure it isn't, sir."

Nodding, Monor once again clasped his hands behind his back. "I should damn well hope not. If we're going to add this world to the Union, we need a vessel in top condition, not one with squeaking chairs. It's unseemly, dammit. Cardassia isn't going to be able to survive in this galaxy without resources, and that means we need zenite. And people to mine it. You sure there aren't any life signs?"

"Only plant life and lower-order animals, sir. No indications of sentient life at all."

Shaking his head, Monor once again started pacing. "Damn shame. That's the nice thing about Bajor -- lots of uridium and a population we can put to good use. Nice spiritual people, too, Bajorans. Much easier to take control of. Well, in theory, anyhow. I mean, the Klingons are pretty spiritual, too, but I wouldn't want to try to conquer them. At least, not yet. Have we gotten any new reports from Bajor, Ekron?"

Ekron looked up from his console. "Nothing since last week, sir. As far as I know, the new government has been set up and Bajor has officially been annexed, but I'm not completely sure. I can put in a message if you want -- "

Waving his arms, Monor said, "No, no, that won't be necessary. We'll get a dispatch soon enough. Central Command's usually good about that sort of thing. Mostly, anyhow, when it serves their purpose. Long as the Obsidian Order isn't involved, anyhow. Damn bunch of voles, the Order."

"Uh, yes, sir."

Frowning, Monor looked over at Ekron. Something sounded wrong with the glinn, like he wasn't paying full attention. That was unusual, in and of itself, so Monor assumed something else distracted him. "What is it, Ekron?"

"We're picking up something odd."

Since neither sitting nor pacing was doing him much good, Monor decided to walk over to Ekron's console. He stared at the readouts, which were utterly meaningless to him -- not aided by the intensity of the light from the console. Monor had to blink the spots out of his eyes as he looked over at Ekron. "What do you mean by odd?"

"We've picked up refined metal, and some of what might be DNA traces, in a small area on the northern continent. No life signs as such, though -- and there are no other indications anywhere else on the continent." Ekron looked up and almost changed his facial expression, a rare thing. "Sir, the readings we're getting are consistent with a crashed ship."

"A what?"

"A crashed ship, sir. I recommend we send a squadron down to investigate."

Monor frowned. "You've confirmed that the atmosphere is breathable?"

"Yes, sir, quite fit for Cardassian life," Ekron said with more enthusiasm than he'd ever shown in Monor's presence before. "I'd like to lead the squadron, sir."

That made the gul suspicious. "You've never been this eager to go planetside, Ekron."

"It's a new world, sir."

Shaking his head, Monor said, "It's just a pile of dirt, Ekron. Some day you'll realize that. You children today, you think the galaxy's full of wonder and new experiences, but the damn truth of it is that it's all the same. Just more and more piles of dirt." He waved his arms in disgust. "Well, fine, go check this pile, and see who it is who crashed."

"Thank you, sir." Ekron moved off to the aft doors.

Again, Monor shook his head. "You'd think he was anxious to get off the bridge for some reason."

Copyright © 2003 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.


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Product Details

  • Series: Star Trek Lost Era (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (September 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743464052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743464055
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,318,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Keith R.A. DeCandido was born and raised in New York City to a family of librarians, which pretty much explains everything. He has written around 50 novels, as well as short stories, nonfiction, eBooks, comic books, and blog entries, many of them in various media universes, among them Star Trek, Sleepy Hollow, Supernatural, World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Leverage, Marvel Comics, Cars, Farscape, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Stargate, Serenity, Resident Evil, Kung Fu Panda, Doctor Who, and more. Among his many works of original fiction are the fantasy police procedural series of novels and short stories that started with Dragon Precinct, as well as a series of urban fantasy short stories set in Key West, Florida, many of which are in Ragnarok & Roll: Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet. Keith is also an editor (having supervised several book lines and put together dozens of anthologies), musician (percussionist for the Don't Quit Your Day Job Players, the Boogie Knights, and others), and a second-degree black belt in Kenshikai karate (he both trains and teaches). He still lives in New York City with various humans and animals.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. McCain on September 26, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Lost Era series has another winner with Kieth R. A. DeCandido's The Art of the Impossible. This third of 6 Lost Era books had a hard act to follow comming after The Sundered and Serpents Among the Ruins and in that it exceeds admirably. The book covers 18 years of confict between the Klingon's and the Cardassian's. DeCandido makes excellent use of characters that have appeared in Star Trek on screen. The action is fast paced, lively and gripping. This was another book that was hard to put down. I highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kevin G. Summers on June 2, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was the first Trek novel I've picked up in a while. It was spectacular. Honestly, I was expecting to be bored. Political books are not usually my thing, but the balance between the cold, heartless leaders and the real people who served under them was just right. I didn't find myself siding with either empire. Instead, I cared about what was happening to Vaughn, Troi, Dax and Mogh. The familiar faces were enjoyable, especially Vaughn. This character has become one of my favorites in the entire Trek universe, and when I read Avatar, I wasn't even sure I was going to like him. He is so unlikable, and that is certainly part of his charm. He's the antithesis of Will Riker. It was also nice to see Curzon Dax, and the reverence he's held in by, well, most of the Klingons. The references to other events throughout Trek history also gave this particular book a depth I wasn't expecting. It makes me want to read the Lost Era novels on either side of it in the timeline. After six months or so not reading Star Trek novels, this was the ideal book to return on. One more thought, the epilogue was wonderfully ironic. We always see Cardassians as spies and military dictators, but this chapter showed just a touch of their human side. My compliments to Keith.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Khemprof TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 13, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Star Trek - The Lost Era: The Art of the Impossible 2328-2346 written by Keith R.A. DeCandido is a story told well, with charater development and vivid charatization. This story is character driven but has action-adventure and is detailed. This book starts at 2328, thrity-five years after the presumed death of Captain James T. Kirk aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise-B in "Star Trek: Generations." It concludes in 2346, eighteen years before the launch of the Enterprise-D at "Encounter at Farpoint."
"The Art of the Impossible" is mainly a character driven book and the characters are those that we've either read about briefly in books or comics or have heard about in the movies, television. This book takes it's basis from a conversation between Bashir and Garak about the eighteen-year Betreka Nebula incident between Cardassia and the Klingons in the ST: DS9 episode "The Way of the Warrior."
"The Art of the Impossible" is a remarkable book as it starts out about a long past Klingon space exploration project and then a cold war between the Cardassians and Klingons developes and the discovery of and ancient Klingon wreck on a planet next to the Betreka Nebula and then the story gets resolved as both sides finially come to their respective senses. So, we have a book that is divided into three sections but there is seamless continuity as Keith R.A. DeCandido writes a well-crafted story.
Some of the characters you'll read about that get fleshed out are K'mpec, Kor, Ian Troi, Sergey and Helena Rozhenko, Kang, Curzon Dax, and Lwaxana Troi. Others in this adventure are K'Tal, Corbin Entek, Tokath, Enabran Tain, General Worf, Koval, Legate Kell, Vance Haden, L'Kor, Kahlest, Sarek, Uhura and Rachel Garrett.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Spottiswood on November 22, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Lost Era books seem to be divided into two sections of differing quality. I am glad to report that this one is divided into the great first half and the even better second half. My two favourite reading areas are history and Star Trek. The first half, the 2330s section, blends these two brilliantly. The style of the writing is like the author actually had the historical records for this era and profiles of the historical figures, and added a semi-fictional narrative to bring it to life. Similar types would be Clive Cussler's Sea Hunters, Bernard Edwards Return of the Coffin Ships, or, on a fictional note, Tom Clancy, or John M. Ford's The Final Reflection. Except for Ford, DeCandido's writing is better. I absolutely loved it.
The second half, in the 2340s, changes to a more conventional action-mystery narrative. To my surprise I actually enjoyed it more than the first half. Part of that was the amount of Trek history it contained. Only part, though, because the writing itself was excellent. I don't think I have enjoyed a new Trek book this much since The Left Hand of Destiny. I highly recommend this to every Trek reader.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Jacobs on January 8, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is exactly what I expected from series of Star Trek novels that promised to tell us about the "Lost Era". Author DeCandido has woven a compelling and utterly believable story out of threads and characters mentioned, often in passing, throughout the whole Star Trek canon. The novel increased my respect for the convcining alien civilizations that Star Trek has developed, and for DeCandido's ability to depict them. This is frankly the first Star Trek novel I've read in years that wasn't a hundred pages too long. I look forward to this author's next book.
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