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on August 2, 2003
This was an incredible book. Fitting seamlessly into the Babylon 5 story arc, it tells the story of Jeffery Sinclair's first days as Earth's new ambassador to the Minbari, and how he came to be leader of the Rangers and later Entil'Zha. Plus, it also reveals how Marcus Cole became a ranger and what happened to Catherine Sakai.
I really liked how there were references and tie-ins to the stories in the B5 comic books produced by DC, and this book answers a lot of questions about them as well. Slight spoiler: In fact, after reading this book, you'll have an idea as to what Valen meant in his final message found aboard Babylon 4 in DC's mini-series "In Valen's Name".
So if you're a Babylon 5 fan, and you haven't read this book yet, do it. Now. Strongly recommended.
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on October 2, 1998
One of the most difficult problems faced by authors writing books based on television shows is being able to truely capture the essence of that show and it's charactors. Although the story may be wonderfully written, there are many times when I read these type of books where I really don't feel like these are the same charactors I have come to know and love on the TV show. Kathrynn Drennan has the wonderfully rare gift of being truely able to capture the essences of both the show itself and the charactors therein. "To Dream in the City of Sorrows" focuses on what happened to Commander Sinclair after he was assigned to Minbar, as well as his engagement to Catherine Sakai. It also shows us how Marcus Cole came to join the Rangers. This book is excellently written and you can truely believe you are reading about these same charactors. The story answered many questions but also asked just enough to make you want more! I would love to see Ms. Drennan write a follow-up book involving Babylon 4 and Sinclair's transformation to Valen.
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on August 25, 2003
This book is based on the television series Babylon 5 and it focuses on what happened to Commander Sinclair after he was relocated to Minbar.It also covers what became of his fiance, Catherine Sakai and how Marcus Cole joined the rangers.
This book should be required reading for every Babylon 5 fan. It answers a lot of questions fans may have about Sinclair but it's also really well written. You can tell the author did her homework. Sinclair is completely in character and the nuances of Minbari society are explained even better than on the show. Marcus fans may be a bit disappointed since the bulk of the book focuses on Sinclair but I'm sure they'll find something to like. If this book is any indication of the quality of the other Babylon 5 books then I hope they come back into print quickly.
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on September 23, 2003
The "Babylon 5" series, originally printed by Dell, are slowly finding their way back into print and this is one of the best--if not the best of the lot--with its explanantion of what happened to Jeffrey Sinclair when he was relieved as the Commander of B5 until his reappearances in later seasons--appearances which, take it from a loyal viewer, were totally unexpected. As stated by many, the book fills the gaps left by the TV series about the Rangers and how they were developed and several other points.
Aside from all this, the book is a fast, solid reading experience that allows the reader to realize, apart from his Minbari soul, why Commander/Ambassador Sinclair was willing to give up so much to follow his destiny. Because it acts as a filler, many readers might be lost in the mythos of the series and so it might not be the best book to begin a novice journey into the B5 world (hence only a 4-star rating). Apart from this, the book is a resounding success!
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on August 22, 1997
I've got a little book here for you. It's called "To Dream in the City of Sorrows", based on one of the best television shows around. Written by the show's creator's wife (got that?), this is NOT a case of nepotism. There is a very good reason series creator J. Michael Straczynski allowed this book to be published, and that is that this book is very good.

For those that have not seen Babylon 5, this is a very good example of the quality of writing that is used in the show. It is a stand-alone story that is told in such a way that you don't have to have seen the show to understand it. It is a story about a man who is thrust into a situation that he had no knowledge or control of. It is a story about that same man who must walk a very thin line between friends who would be adversaries, and adversaries who would be friends: on the one side, the mysterious Shadows who are spreading war and death wherever they go; on the other, the Minbari who massacred his friends in the Earth-Minbari war ten years ago, and the Vorlons, who appear to have a hidden agenda. In the middle stand those few humans and Minbari that are called the Rangers and who are the only hope for victory.

It is NOT a story about war and destruction, but rather a story about what happens when war and destruction are forced upon us, when we have no way to go but forward, when we have no choice but to stand ground and fight.

Entil'Zha Veni
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on August 23, 2003
Did you ever wonder what happened to Commander Jeffery Sinclair and his fiancé Catherine Sakai after Sinclair left the TV series at the end of first season, and before he returned in 3rd season?
This book, which is fully endorsed by J Michael Straczynski, (he says you should consider this a missing episode) fills in those blanks. We see how Sinclair moves from being an unwanted (by Earth) Ambassador to Minbar to becoming a figure of prophesy and head of the Rangers on Minbar and how Catherine becomes the lynchpin for many later actions and why Marcus Cole joined the rangers.
Enjoyable and well written this book is an essential read for any fan of the series who is curious about the story of Sinclair and his links to Valen. That it has been re-printed in time to be read in conjunction with the B5 DVD's is fortunate for us who missed it the first time round.
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on January 8, 2002
When the second season of Babylon 5 premiered on television, viewers were shocked to learn that Commander Jeffrey Sinclair (played by Michael O'Hare) was permanently reassigned from Babylon 5 and became the first Earth ambassador to the planet Minbar. Since then one question kept bugging every B5 fan: "What happened to Commander Sinclair during his two years tenure on planet Minbar?" That question was partially answered towards the end of the third season when he made a memorable and final appearance in the outstanding two-part episode entitled, "War Without End". This was one of the most highly anticipated episodes because it is where he set out to fulfil his important destiny. However, this book goes into further details on how Sinclair adjusted to life on Minbar while dealing with the double burden roles of ambassador and leader of the Rangers. As ambassador, Sinclair blends into the Minbari lifestyle and learns everything he can about their customs and society while gaining some new friends (and enemies) in the process. But he faces a bigger challenge as the leader of the Rangers when an alien race known as the Shadows threatens the galaxy with its super high tech ships and weapons, in an attempt to cleanse the universe of anyone not like them.
The book is a fascinating read because it immerses the reader on the insights of Minbari life, culture, religion, philosophy, and most importantly, the internal workings of the political system structure of the Minbari Federation government. One of the most interesting and likable characters is Marcus Cole, a ranger under Sinclair's command. He plays a central role in the story as a loyal admirer of Sinclair. The author, Kathryn M. Drennan (the wife of B5 creator J. Michael Straczynski) writes in an eloquent and precise manner in which the characters resemble their counterparts on the show. Unlike the Star Trek novels, all the Babylon 5 books are canon and this one is no exception. Ms. Drennan constantly stresses the horrid and harsh realities of war as a not a viable solution. The only salvation is to pursue peace at all cost. This is a story about a man who finds his true self amidst an alien world and is forced to choose between his lover and duty. Hence, Sinclair begins to truly understand what it means to be a real leader. You'll enjoy this book even if you're not a B5 fan. A must read.
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on October 23, 1999
A book worthy of the series Babylon 5, the styling fits perfectly into the series. As with the television episodes some of the unanswered questions and mysteries are resolved and new teasing ones replace them to kep your interest peaked.
In this novel we learn what happened to Jeffrey Sinclair the first Commander of Babylon 5 after his sudden and surprising departure at the end of 2258. We learn of the Minbari's purpose for keeping such a close eye on Sinclair and a glimmer into his future and everyone else's past. We also see more of the deceptive and secretive nature of both the Minbari and Shadows as well as a look at the circumstances that contributed to Ranger Marcus part in the Saga.
If you choose to buy only one of The Babylon 5 novels let this be the one.
"No one here is exactly what they appear to be ..."
-- G'Kar to Sakai in Babylon 5:"Mind War" --
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on February 18, 1998
I am new to Babylon 5. I feel lucky to be able to buy and read the Sinclair Story while watching the show. This book, was awesome! For me it continued the saga right where I was so I did not have to wait but found out "immediately" what happened to Jeff Sinclair..I too await Ms. Drennan's story of The One's life with Catherine on Minbari 1000 years and also to her episode(s) or book when Valen returns...I was Delighted to find and read this book immediately, it is well written and stays true to the plot...I Respect Ms. Drennan for her skill in writing something so long awaited by so many and my Compassion is all for the character of Jeff Sinclair, who is only doing his "duty" and in the process has become a focal point for two worlds and a multitude of time..when will his character, and the Minbari realise that he IS Valen, not just the "soul" of Valen?
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on July 3, 2000
In his preface, J. Michael Straczynski describes this book as "a remarkable achievement . . . a breathtaking accomplishment". In fairness, however, let's remember that the novel was written by his wife about his universe!
Drennan does a very good job of imagining the difficulties of Sinclair's transition from Babylon 5 commander to Earth ambassador to Entil'zha. She also fills in Marcus Cole's backstory. The problem with this type of novel is that, being backstory of familiar characters, it's very difficult to generate suspense. Any Fiver reading this novel already knows the outcome of the Shadow attack on the Arisia mining colony, for instance.
However, Drennan does make Sinclair an interesting and compelling character (much more so than I found him onscreen). Other characters don't fare so well. Marcus' whole life up to his being on Arisia is summarized in a single page; his interactions with his brother William are just interesting enough to make you want a little more depth.
The plot is serviceable, most interesting when it focuses on Sinclair; there's some quiet humor as he tries to adjust to life on Minbar. Action sequences are good, and we finally learn the details of the attack on Arisia and where Sinclair got that scar on his face. The climactic mission, however, lacks punch. Most dedicated Fivers will be able to predict its outcome.
The prose style is competent, but pedestrian; I was ready to scream when "the Minbari penchant for the half-truth" was alluded to for the umpteenth time.
These caveats aside, this is an enjoyable book for the "Bab5" fan (and also--alas!--the only one likely to feature Marcus Cole as a character). It's considered canonical for the series and does fulfill its mission of rounding out Jeffrey Sinclair's story. A "breathtaking accomplishment" it's not. A competently-written,good solid read for "Babylon 5" fans--most definitely.
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