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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Empire of Ashes, 21 Aug 2003
By 
David Roy (Vancouver, BC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Left Hand of Destiny (Star Trek Book 1 - Deep Space Nine) (Mass Market Paperback)
The Left Hand of Destiny: Book 1 is the first book of a two-part story about the new Klingon Chancellor, Martok. If you have seen Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, you have seen Martok as a general. At the end of the series, Martok was raised to Chancellor of the Klingon Empire. This is the story of his journey home from Deep Space Nine, and what awaits him when he gets there. It is very well-written for a first-time author and the book packs quite a punch for any Trek fan.
J.G. Hertzler played Martok on the television show, so you can tell that this story is near to his heart. Usually when an actor decides to write a book, it doesn't turn out to be very good. The success rate is a little better when the book is about the character they've played. Trek has a good track record in this, though. Andy Robinson wrote the wonderful Stitch in Time and Armin Shimmerman co-wrote The 34th Rule about his Ferengi character. Both of those books were wonderful.
Hertzler adds another one to the pile. If you're a Trek fan and an admirer of Martok, this is definitely the book for you. It is well-written (with a couple of missteps detailed below) and very interesting. It brings back many familiar characters from the television show, but none of them feel forced. They all serve a purpose and are appropriate for this story. Not only that, but Hertzler captures their characterization really well. I don't know if that's Lang's influence or if Hertzler picked it all up while being on the show, but there are no out of character moments in this book. Worf and his son Alexander are the most recognizable of the bunch, but characters from Martok's family also show up and are perfectly captured from the one episode that featured them. Emperor Kahless is almost a brand new character, since he didn't really get a lot of characterization in the one episode that featured him. In addition to that, he has changed a great deal since that time. He adds a bit of colour to everything.
The original characters are also interesting, though the villains are a bit one-note and moustache-twirling to suit my taste. There are very few scenes from their viewpoint, but it still felt a little off. The other main original character, Pharh the Ferengi, is priceless though. He provides a lot of the comic relief in the novel, but he's also an intelligent character. He's not like most Ferengi. While commerce and money are still everything to him, he's not as mercenary as most of the members of his race. Instead, he's a three dimensional character who is a joy to read about. The interaction between Martok and him not only adds to Martok's character but also makes the story more entertaining as a whole.
Of course, the tour de force is Martok himself. Hertzler shows that he truly understood the character he played on the show. Martok is deep, brooding, and hesitant to assume this role that has been thrust upon him. He loves his people and the Empire, but he does not see himself as the savior that they need. He feels he is simply a man, not a symbol. He would dearly love to put down the mantle of responsibility that he has been given when the usurper shows up, but he knows he can't. I could hear Hertzler's characteristic growl whenever Martok spoke in the book, and that's a tribute to the authors. The good thing about these Deep Space Nine books is that the characters can grow and change. We learn a lot about Martok in this book, even as he learns a lot about himself and his limits. We get a history for him that he never had on the show. I think it produced an even more well-rounded character (though he was wonderful in the show as well). Kudos to Hertzler for this one.
There are a couple of missteps that bring the level of the book down a little bit. These missteps are something any first-time author could do, though you would hope the editors would catch it. First, in a couple of scenes, characters appear (or at least they're thoughts do) even when they aren't actually in the scene. For example, a scene is told from Alexander's point of view, and there is one instance in that scene where we also get Martok's impressions of what's going on. He is watching the same thing from elsewhere, so we really shouldn't be getting his thoughts at this time. The fact that his name only appears once in the scene makes me think that the authors just lost track for a moment. Secondly, some of the action is just impossible as it's described. In one scene, one of the characters does a back-flip through somebody's legs. I had to do a double-take for a moment. These and other small problems plague the book and bring it down from a 5-star effort. All of them could have been fixed with a quick re-reading, and I would have thought Lang would know better.
Still, this is a wonderful book from a new writer. Book 2 sounds like a roller-coaster ride as well. I hope we get some more Martok stories from Hertzler in the future. If you're a DS9 fan, you owe it to yourself to check this one out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars gotta love Martok!, 26 Feb 2011
By 
Mr. M. A. Parsons "mattyp" (Halifax, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Left Hand of Destiny (Star Trek Book 1 - Deep Space Nine) (Mass Market Paperback)
If you like Klingons,

If you like Martok,

If you like Worf,

You will love this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 11 Sep 2008
By 
Rory Q (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Left Hand of Destiny (Star Trek Book 1 - Deep Space Nine) (Mass Market Paperback)
This one was a pleasure to read - it's obvious from the outset that JG Hertzler feels strongly about Martok, and his collaboration with Lang is a good choice. I've previously enjoyed Lang's efforts on the DS9 entry in the Section 31 series, so I had a feeling I'd enjoy this one too.

And I wasn't disappointed. The novel has good pace, a lot of action, and clearly defines that Klingons are not all carbon copies of each other. Also, the authors give their opinions on what the state of the Empire is after the war - they're not a bloodthirsty race out for the next battle, they're keenly aware that the Empire is teetering on the brink of destruction.

The introduction of the Ferengi character, Pharh, was believable and not over the top, and it's easy to start feeling something for the characters.

All in all, a very good read from a passionate actor.
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The Left Hand of Destiny (Star Trek Book 1 - Deep Space Nine)
The Left Hand of Destiny (Star Trek Book 1 - Deep Space Nine) by Jeffrey Lang (Mass Market Paperback - 6 May 2003)
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