I’m not going to read the “Season Eight” Deep Space Nine expansion novels. At least not this year. I can say, however, that this one (which is, unofficially, the first of two books in that continuing series) is quite good. Really.

I mean, think about it – what DS9 did best was present rich, full, fascinating characters, and Elim Garak was one of the best ones. So much of what made him interesting was his mysterious past and now it’s time to learn the whole story.

Yes, friends, its the Garak’s full backstory – everything you ever wanted to know about your favorite Cardassian tailor/intelligence operative. His childhood, schooling, early years with Obsidian Order and his eventual banishment to Terok Nor is all here – in surprisingly readable prose from . . .Andrew Robinson? The actor who played him? Hey, why not.

The framing device is a letter composed to Dr. Bashir from Cardassia Prime just after the end of the Dominion War, so if this was meant as a gateway drug to Season Eight, well, it just might have worked.