Zero Sum Game (Star Trek: Typhon Pact #1)
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2010
I was eagerly awaiting the new Typhon Pact series and found it so so in the end. There were some interesting parts, but it seemed too short. Compared to Iain Banks' latest novel, Surface Detail, which I'm also reading, it's a tiny little book which I cruised through in less than a day.

The Typhon Pact seems to be including all "branches" of the ST universe together. This novel is about Deep Space 9's characters.

As the blurb says, the bad guys have stolen the plans for the slipstream drive. It is vital the Federation does something about it or else they will lose their only tactical advantage and, in their weakened state after the Borg rampage, will ultimately fall to the Pact. The send in Bashir and another genetically enhanced Human to carry out the mission. Needless to say, they ultimately succeed.

The Good:

1. We find out more about the previously reclusive Breen. Some quite interesting aspects of their culture which I found enjoyable to read.
2. The Typhon Pact is a realistic rival to the Federation and Klingons. Better than the Mega advanced Borg.
3. I find myself liking Captain Ezri Dax more and more. Quick with the one liners and quick with surprise tactics.

The Not So Good:

1. For genetically enhanced people, Bashir and Douglas don't seem to do anything particularly special. In fact, Bashir seems quite unprepared and naive and far less capable than even some normal people. The reason for his inclusion for this mission is revealed at the end (well, it's revealed at the beginning, but the REAL reason is implied at the end).
2. Seems too short. Perhaps I've grown used to reading more intricate novels and become used to more depth in my characters.

The "I wonder how this is going to pan out":

1. Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT skip to the end. There is a surprise and I'm not sure whether or not it's good or bad for DS9.

Should you read this book? If you're a ST fan, sure, go ahead. If not, you might want to read one of the many ST books which came before this first.

I had a personal thought, which was that with their incredible speed, starships could be sent out and the Federation could set up their own shipyards far beyond the Alpha Quadrant out of reach of any other Power. I wonder if they would do this in the books?
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2010
Not the best Star Trek book, but certainly readable. We're in the aftermath of the attempted Borg invasion and how the weakened Federation must face a new foe, the newly organized Typhon Pact. The Federation's big advantage is the new slipstream drive, and the focus of the book is the theft of the technology by the Pact, and Julian Bashir's participation in a covert mission to destroy the enemy's copy of the plans. A taste of Deep Space Nine, where Bashir and Quark are the only remnants from the TV series. For me the low point was the short interjection by Bashir's flawed genetically enhanced former companions. The highpoint is the first introduction to the society of the mysterious Breen. Fortunately sequels seem to be coming on a monthly basis, much faster than in many other recent Star Trek novel series.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2010
After reading Mack's Destiny three part series; I have to say that I am sad to see he is only writing this entry. Bashir and Dax's characters are right on target. It's like the TV show is still in progress. I'd like to think that he will author more DS9 books. The quality is there. The mysterious Breen have a few of their secrets revealed in this novel. However, I wish it had as much action as the Destiny books.

When I started this novel I was surprised to see what happened to many of my favorite characters. While some writers are inconsistant, Mack has proved to be a favorite. I have to wonder if he ever wrote an orginal series book? I'd like to see him write a novel based in the J.J. Abrams universe.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2010
Since I don't expect great literature from Star Trek books, I found this one to be so-so. Just read this if you want to keep up with what's going on the the ST Universe.

Only a couple of things irked me while reading the story. The first was the minor continuity issues. For example at one point someone mentions that Dr. Bashir was held prisoner by the Breen. That never happened. He was held prisoner by the Dominion before they were allied with the Breen. The second was the habit of referring to the genetically enhanced quartet as "the Jack Pack". I don't know why that bothered me but it just seemed stupid.

The book is an easy read and a solid B+ as far as Trek Lit goes. My advice? Borrow it from a friend or read it in a book store while drinking a hot chocolate.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2013
I was greatly looking forward to this book, especially since Dr. Bashir, my favorite Star Trek character, was to be featured so prominently in the book. Unfortunately, this was one of the few Star Trek books that I have been disappointed in. David Mack did a very poor, inaccurate job of portraying his character. You would never know Dr. Bashir was a super-intelligent, genetically enhanced man by the way he followed Sarina Douglas' (a woman Bashir considered his lost love) lead without being able to give much to their mission except as a dogsbody. This was in sharp contrast to the Section 31 Abyss book by David Weddle and Jeffrey Lang. The plot as a whole was okay, and I did love the cliffhanger at the end, but I hope the follow-up novel is written by someone else.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 25, 2010
Mack is easily my favorite Trek author. I've never read a bad book by the man and this one was no different. ZSG is a page turner detailing a Starfleet black op on a secluded Breen planet. It's DS9 grittiness, not Roddenberry utopia. There's a LOT of killing, mayhem, and over the top action reminiscent of a James Bond movie. And as a bonus we get insight into the Breen that clears up the confusing info the TV shows provided over the years.

Contrary to what some have suggested, Bashir experienced plenty of development. His reactions to ugly events were telling of his state of mind which was established early on. He had reached the end of himself and realized what he really wanted from life. Maybe some would have preferred (or expected) him to act differently. Like other things in post-Destiny Trek, this was a shakeup.

There were some plot holes. The worst I thought were the contrived obstacles Dax faced. (minor spoilers ahead) For example: Her ship has the slipstream drive and can leave simple warp ships like they're standing still, yet for some reason it's a problem that an enemy fleet has fanned out between her and her destination. Somehow they'll be able to see her coming and block her in the vastness of deep space? Exactly how this might be possible is never explained, it's just stated as fact. And since the enemy knows her destination wouldn't a more sensible strategy be to fall back to that place and engage her in force when she arrives? Dozens of ships deployed to stop her and not one does this though. In fact, when she finally gets to the target there are only two small fighters there to oppose her? Please.

Not perfect, but it's a fast read and highly enjoyable piece of entertainment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2010
David Mack has done it once again. If you have not read any of his novels, I would recommend it now! He has done a wonderful job of being allusive, blowing things up and leaves us wanting more.

The opening of the story is DS9 season ten and we missed season nine! We see some of our favorite characters and discover some surprises and sadness. Though, I really hope there is a story to fill what exactly has transpired.
Then we have finally discover who the mysterious Breen are. It was a great way to use all of the tales about them and combined them as one cohesive grouping. Not to give anything away, but I really hope we see more of them.

The story itself is familiar but with some twist. Someone has stolen the Slipstream drive plans and are currently building a prototype. If its not recovered, the Federation will lose its power in the quadrant. Bashir and Sarina Douglas are enlisted for the dangerous mission and none other than Captain Ezri Dax of the Aventine is there to help retrieve the two.
Not to give away any spoilers, but I think one of my favorite scenes is with the Klingons. It gave me quite a chuckle indeed.

Overall, I found it was a great read but wanted more. I have already bought books two and three of the Typhon Pact.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Star Trek Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game by David Mack is a good book but it has some problems. Zero Sum primarily focuses on Bashir and Sarina covert operation into a Breen colony while Dax waits to pick them up. It is somewhat like TNG Attached and Chain of Command and Star Trek: Titan: Over a Torrent Sea with Romulans. I agree with Adrian's review. I enjoyed learning about the Breen but its all about the Breen. I read the book in a few hours. I hope that the other Typhon Pact books have a bit more action and advance the overarching plot rather than a Zero Sum Game. :)

Bashir seems to act like Bashir throughout most of the book. At the end everything seems rushed. Sarina's character has more problems but not much information was given about Sarina in the one ds9 episode Chrysalis. Dax seemed a bit more like Ezri than in the Destiny series.
A chapter to sum everything up is missing at the end. Not many illusions were given to the outcome it felt sudden and spontaneous.

All that said it is a nice read and anyone should be able to overlook the problem areas.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2011
Out of the four paperback novels of the Typhon Pact, this was easily my favorite, though not the best ST novel I've ever read. The main story arc, and the insight into the Breen society were extremely well written and very exciting to read. However, I was very saddened by the direction that the authors have taken for DS9. The station is depicted as a ghost town in the beginning of this book. Ro is the new C.O., Vaughn's in a coma, Bashir is lonely, and everyone else is gone? I have been a fan of the DS9 relaunch since its inception, and I'm very disappointed that it seems to now be over. The decision to "bring the storyline current with the rest of the ST universe" seemed like a cop out. I have since seen some improvement with the novels in general, but am still hoping for a future improvement in the DS9 string.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2010
After the long wind up to Destiny with the Borg saga, the actual action of Destiny itself, and then the aftermath books, we have a new and very real threat. The Typhon Pact is a fantastic addition to the Trek universe. Ever since Trek got a story line way back in the DS9 books and the "A Time to..." series with TNG, things have been getting better and better (with the exception of "Before Dishonor" which was simply terrible), and "Zero Sum Game" is a prime example of that.

THE GOOD:
Captain Dax is really starting to grow on me. Ever since she went command-track years ago at the beginning of the DS9 books, Ezri has really grown and evolved. She is quick-witted, intelligent, and is a true Dax.

We finally learn more about the Breen after 15 years of wondering about them.

We have a new enemy that we have never seen before where we don't know how it will end. I.e. No "the Borg are going to kill tons of people but in the end they'll just vanish." The Typhon Pact is a very real threat that isn't so much the typical harbinger of Doomsday.

THE BAD:
It's too short. I want more Typhon Pact now, please.

The Genetically Enhanced are back.... again.

A bit of a larger time gap than I would have liked since "Losing the Peace," "Over a Torrent Sea," and "A Singular Destiny." It's been over a year in the Trek timeline since Destiny occurred.

OVERALL:
Strongly recommended. This story is going to be truly unlike we've seen before in Trek, with all the characters and books interacting and flowing as one. What Destiny started, the rest is taking note of and continuing.
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