Here's my review:
I have been looking forward to learning more about the Tzenkethi since they were mentioned on DS9 and I've been yearning for a Sisko-Tzenkethi War story since I first heard of the now aborted Lost Era book. It's funny but these two parts I disliked to loathed about the book.
I enjoyed the Romulan machinations the most. I think DRG has a good feel for the Romulans. Of the current crop of Trek Lit. writers he's like the Romulan guy to KRAD's Klingon guy. I really enjoyed the Tal'Aura and Donatra scenes and felt that DRG made something good happen from Nemesis after all. I was shocked and saddened by both their demises, particularly Tal'Aura because she had become quite the formidable schemer. I was also surprised by the dissolution of the Imperial Romulan State because I saw it as a handy way to keep the Romulans a somewhat viable player after the Hobus supernova.
I'm neutral about Praetor Kamemor. It feels a little like Tal'Aura and Donatra were moved aside for a pet Trek Lit. character. Though it should be interesting to see how she contends with the newly installed Chairman Sela. I found the Spock parts well written but a bit boring. He didn't really do much, except be a willing dupe for Tal'Aura. She pretty much used him twice, or perhaps three times since his message to Bacco influenced Donatra to seek an accomodation with Tal'Aura. At the conclusion of the book leaves Spock on Romulus, perhaps as set up for the events of the Star Trek film.
Despite Spock being used as a dupe, I think DRG reserved his worst for Sisko. To me it felt like a character assassination. Sisko would not abandon his family like that (Avery Brooks made certain of that when he insisted on Sisko's promised return), especially for a prophecy that he had defied during the TV show.
The idea that he would just leave Kasidy and Rebecca, that he would cut himself off from Jake, that he would even leave the responsibilities of his father's funeral arrangements, etc. to others, felt like a slap in the face of the character. One of the important aspects of his character, heck one of the things that made him stand out the most in comparison to the other captains was that he was a family man. DRG stripped that away, and for what? To stick him on a ship with a bland crew? And if he wanted to be alone so damned much, why stay in Starfleet? Why not join a Bajoran monastery? Why not buy a ship and travel the stars alone?
DRG's Sisko was a fearful, uncertain, and impotent man, and that's not Sisko. It also pissed me off that Elias Vaughn is so lionized and Sisko is regressed. Elias is the better captain, Elias is the noble hero while Sisko seems to sit on his thumbs against the Borg. I had been also waiting a long time to see Sisko v. the Borg and he seemed so listless, lackluster, it sucked, and then when he abandoned his family it really lit my fire. In essence, DRG turned Sisko into an absentee father at best, a deadbeat father at worst. And also a horrible spouse to boot.
I also didn't care for the depiction of the Tzenkethi. It was unique, but it was hard for me to get my head around. If not for the end when Alizome's machinations are revealed I wouldn't have seen the need for their inclusion in this book at all. Also Sisko's Tzenkethi war memories felt out of place and did nothing to enhance the story. I was thinking they would be tied into the larger story somehow or at least the Robinson would confront a Tzenkethi ship.
Perhaps this book would've worked better if the Sisko and Spock stories had been separated into novellas, with Sisko focusing on the Tzenkethi and Spock on the Romulans. Despite the teases of what happened with the DS9 relaunch, I wish either this book had done a better job fleshing that out, a la Kristen Beyer's Full Circle, or saved it for another book.
Sorry DRG but I'm rating this one Below Average.