Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Never-Ending Sacrifice by Una McCormack

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Never Ending Sacrifice - Una McCormack

This novel covers the story of Rugal, the Cardassian boy who was raised by Bajorans and remanded to the custody of his birth father by Sisko in DS9's season 2 episode "Cardassians", following the next roughly 10 years of his life, and turns it into a powerful tale of loss, being lost, being the pawn of powers above, and ultimately taking charge of your own fate and coming home. And curiously, this doesn't just pertain to Rugal himself but to Cardassia as a whole whose fates are weaved expertly together.


But what remains, outside of political intrigue, the developments on Cardassia after the fall of the Obsidian Order, after Tora Ziyal's rescue that eventually drives Dukat from office and into exile, only to return heroically with a fleet of Jem'Hadar and the prospect of war, is the endless love and patience of a father, Kotan Pa'Dar, towards his child, willing to sacrifice everything just to see said child happy. And the confusion of a child, taken from his home and family, yearning to get them back, but not yet realizing that that's impossible and that he can only create a new bonds and a new home.


The only minor point of criticism is perhaps the prose that doesn't flow easily, especially in the beginning - but perhaps, in retrospect, that's a reflection of how Rugal feels in his first months on Cardassia: disjointed and out of place.


Overall, this is a deeply emotional journey that sucks you in slowly and keeps you on the edge of your seat right till the moment when Rugal finds his home, in more than one sense of the word, and at least some sort of happy ending. All this is interspersed with Cardassian politics and the Cardassian point of view of the events depicted in DS9. This might well be, together with "A Stitch in Time", the ultimate novel about Cardassia and the Cardassian way of life. But maybe in the end, the cycle of the "never-ending sacrifice" is broken, even if it took endless sacrifice, each more painful and personal than the one before, to arrive at that point. Highly recommended.