on 30 March 2001
This is not a Trek novel for the action hungry, techno-solution [fans]. This is a wonderful examination of a (relatively) minor character from Deep Space Nine by the actor who played him. It suggests to me that Andrew Robinson spent far too much of his free time obsessing about his alter ego and that is no bad thing! I must admit to only knowingly having seen Robinson as Garak and as Scorpio in the original Dirty Harry. The power he brings to those performances is clearly a result of having a pre-defined mental picture of them. Within the TV series Garak has been left ambiguous by the writers and that is a great strength, but it has also allowed Robinson to take a character (who is never likely to be handled again in TV/Film trek) and give us the background and reality of the character as he sees him - and who can contradict that? Suddenly all the characteristics, mannerisms and nuances that only an actor can bring to a character (rather than being written for the actor) snap into focus. I would wager that Robinson has being building this book since the first time he read for the part of Garak...and didn't even know it. This is not a cash-in, Robinson obviously cares about his creation, but equally it is not a easy book to read. The authors style is firmly autobiographical...and if you struggle with such a books in the real world you would be forgiven for having trouble with this. Nor is the plotline up to much as a typical Trek adventure story, but then it does not have to be. This is not a grand adventure...find a problem, kill the bad guy, solve the problem trek novel. It is a wonderful character study and I doubt that even those who played a character every episode for seven or more years could match this knowledge of the alter-ego. If you are intrigued by Garak buy this. If you see him as a bit part player of no real consequence or just want a adventure story then this is not for you...though you could try it and find you love it. If you are saying "who's Garak?" don't even bother. Personally this was the first Trek novel I had read in over 5 years and on the strength of it I went and read other new ones. Only to be disappointed. This is, in my humble opinion, within the top five novels from any TV/Film franchise I have ever read and that includes alot of competition, much of it tripe, some of it good and rare works - such as this - excellent. The only thing I am sorry for is that it is doubtful that Robinson will never get a character (in any show) that will offer such scope for his talents and allow another step into the literary world of such quality.
Wow! Wow! Wow! This book is truly wonderful and solves one of the long-standing mysteries of DS9. Who exactly is Garak?
From the first page to the last this book delights and dazzles. We finally learn the circumstances which led the Cardassian tailor to be marooned on DS(. We learn of his childhood and his recruitment into the shadowy Obsidian order. But more than that, through the clever narrative style we also learn the innermost thoughts of Garak.
As the author is Andrew Robinson the actor who played Garak in the series you know that you are going to get a real insight into the character.
What I like best about this book is that it starts from the end of the Dominion War, when over 1 billion cardassians were killed. It chronicoles the difficulties of trying to rebuild a world, and the irony of havong a former treaitor be an architect of the rebirth. We also learn a great deal about Cardassia and its inner working which have never been explored. But more than that we read about the very real peron, his loves and his fears. We learn about How proud Garak was to be a Cardassian and how hard he fell when his exile began. A nice touch is the humour that the author brings to the book, it is not dry and unreadable but filled with lovely light touches and humour that jumps right off the page.
It is the humour and the light touch which makes the book so enjoyable. It is written in the styyle of the first person, making it almost like reading Garak's personal log. This style makes the story seem more real to the reader, after all Garak is known for his subtle manipulation of the truth and is a master of the arts of espoinage and double-dealing.
Garak has also been an unknown entity aboard DS9 but this book reveals all and makes you understand him. A triumph, and the pages will whizz through your hands as you cannot stop wanting to read more. I guarantee that you will read this book in one night and the story is so well written that you will be able to read it again and again without becoming bored. Few books stand up to that type of reading. Buy this book now, you will NOT regret it.
on 22 November 2001
Exceeded expectations, by far. It was a wonderful book, one of those that you're really sad to finish. Garak is my all time favourite TV character so I was a bit dubious about how Andy Robinson would portray him, after all he's just the actor not the writer. But he really knows his character that's for sure, it tied up so many loose ends, brought together lots of pieces of information from the series. It was VERY well researched. Not only that it was a very entertaining read, I'm sure that even those who aren't particularly Garak fans will enjoy this book.
It started at the end of the war and interchanged between Garak's experience of Cardassia trying to rebuild itself and his history. You really get a lot of insight into the character and Cardassian culture. There's just one more thing to say - read it!! I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
on 19 October 2001
The TV tie-in books I enjoy most are those that give extra depth to the characters that you see on screen and this book certainly did that. This book not only relates key events in Garak's life but gives you real insight into him as a person. It left me really wanting to rewatch some of the episodes of DS9 involving him.
My one criticism of the book would be that it jumps around too much between different time frames, the bulk of the story is Garak's life from childhood onwards, but this is mixed in with the current day (i.e. after the end of season 7), bits from mid-way in season 6 and few other odd bits. I did find it a little irritating as I got interested in one part, to find the narrative lead elsewhere,
That said this is an excellent book and I'd reccomend it to any DS9 fans.
on 30 June 2000
An excellent insight into Garak's former life before we met him in Deep Space Nine. This book gives us a lot more details regarding the Cardassian Union and especially the Obsidian Order which were not covered in the TV series. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to everyone and not just fans of Garak.
on 19 December 2008
I realise I'm about 7 years late with this review, but after recently getting into the Relaunch series, this book is excellent, and a worthy follow up to DS9. Andrew Robinson surprised me with is skills as a writer here, and absolutely blew me away with his grasp of Cardassian culture, his own character, the Trek universe as a whole.
It's easy to hear Garak's voice while you're reading, and he manages to get a reaction from the reader with his expressive writing. The way he has explained the back story behind some of the events in the show in a convincing way is quite impressive.
Also, I liked the way he managed to have three timelines running concurrently (post-DS9, immediately prior to the final assault on Cardassia and his youth), and in such a way that you never felt completely confused.
I did lose track of a couple of characters at various points - swapping between their school designations, first names, surnames or ranks... but it never got in the way of a good read.
Highly recommended to any fan of Deep Space Nine, and in particular, any Garak fans.
on 25 June 2000
I was dubious of getting a book written by an actor after earlier efforts but Andrew Robinson shows a fine understanding of his character as well as a very readable style. You see what history Garak has and how he was formed - as well as an insight into what makes Cardassians tick.
The book jumps about from past to present but fits together very well. We learn a little about what happens on cardassia after the end of the series and it ends on a note of hope for the future.
Well worth reading
on 3 July 2012
I am a huge Garak fan so when I saw this on a shelf in a library whilst visiting my Uncle in Chicago I asked him to get it out for me, and though on holiday with the family I wouldn't take my nose out of it. By the time we met up with my Uncle again in Dayton, Ohio I'd finished twice. Which was good cause he had to take it back home with him. Needless to say, soon as I got home to the UK I bought it in paperback. I only wish I could get it on my Kindle.
Anybody who is a fan of Garak will love this novel. Not only does it give you insight into the Garak we see on screen by the actor who played him on screen and helped shape him, but it gives you an insight into a Cardassia we never really saw on screen. And as any true DS9 fan will know, Cardassia will forever be at the heart of any good Cardasian and his/her story. This time around I think Julian would approve, or you'd hope so as the entire thing is written as though a letter to him. Something fans of the friendship between the two characters will appreciate, I know I did.
Aside from the new look at one of my favourite characters in television written by one of the people best placed to write it, the stories told are themselves interesting and engrossing. There's variety for sure but they all tie in and by the end of it you can almost taste the dust in the air or hear Andrew's voice, as Garak, write another letter to Julian.
Of course, given Garak's propensity for telling lies, which according to him are especially true, how real is any of this within universe? Well, Andrew has said he wrote this as a backstory to Garak, a lot of which he'd been forming inside his head as he'd played him over the years. So we can be reasonably assured it's at least mostly accurate.
on 25 September 2006
When reading Star Trek tie in novels I often find myself drifting towards images of a sausage factory. Like sausages, Star Trek book are churned out using the unwanted offal and flotsam from the show leaving you with something that will fill you up but leave a nasty aftertaste in your mouth. However, every now and again, one of these books transcends the trend and stands out as a good book in its own right. In most cases the name Peter David is attached to the book but in this case, step forward Andrew Robinson.
It was not until half way through reading 'A Stitch in Time' that I realised that Robinson is the actor who played Garak in DS9. This book looks at Garak's upbringing, how he became a Tailor and what he is doing after the series ended. The book is very well written and the first 2/3rds in particular are gripping. Robinson writes about Garak's childhood really well and show that he has close links to the character.
The book does lose its way somewhat towards the end when we hit Garak's adult life as the settings are not as interesting as in his earlier years. But the way in which Robinson paints a informative and rich alien world means that I would recommend this book, not only to Star Trek fans, but also sci-fi fans in general.
on 21 March 2003
Fans of Garak should enjoy this book, although some open-mindedness may be required for some of the interactions detailed between Garak and other residents aboard DS9 as they (initially) seem slightly out of character with Andrew Robinson's portrayal of Garak in the television series. Given half a chance, however, you can slip into this book very easily and the character interactions become the crux of the entire novel. This is because the book is less about plot and more about Cardassian nature.
The best aspect of Robinson's autobiographical account of Garak is the study of Cardassian expression. He seems to address everything about this topic from freedom of choice to total inhibition, and the character interactions across two different narrative timelines (aboard DS9 and during his teenage years on Cardassia) intelligently illustrate the multiple facets of Cardassian nature.
A third narrative timeline sets the book in motion, which is Garak's letter to Dr. Bashir in the horrific aftermath of Cardassia Prime's 'holocaust'. However, the real treat of this book is Garak's life as he grew up on Cardassia. The story not only adds tremendous depth to the character Garak but is an intelligent account of Cardassian behaviour and society, and (in the sections set aboard DS0) its contrast with other species.
Anyone who particularly loved Garak's dialogue sparring in the earlier series of the television series will love this book. Its character interactions are as covered in meaning as Garak is covered in layers. If Haruki Murakami ever wrote a Star Trek novel, this is what it would be like.