Just finished this novel. It took me a very long time to read. I got to say after I putting it down for the last time, I was pleased with the overall outcome. But it certainly took some time to get there.
There was a period, early on in the novel where I thought about just quitting on it. I still didn't like DRG's take on Sisko at the beginning of the novel. He felt too fragile and a poor commander. Granted, he had just watched what he thought was his wife's death and perhaps that of his daughter, and he did freak out over Jennifer's death in "Emissary", but between those two events he has witnessed countless deaths in the Dominion War. I didn't like him punking out, for lack of a better term on the bridge and allowing his bland first officer to take over. I didn't like Sisko being relieved of command.
However, as the book progressed and Sisko got on the Defiant, he seemed to get his groove back some. I liked the way he dressed down Stinson. That felt like the Sisko from the TV show. And I've written at length about my distaste for Sisko's actions regarding his family, but at least here we get more exploration of the emotional impact of that on Kasidy, Ben, and Rebecca. I thought DRG did a good job for the most part in writing many of the Kasidy and Ben scenes. And how it ended with them was great. Though I wish they put the Siskos on a ship with more interesting characters in future stories.
DRG has great attention to detail, though I think it bogged down the novel at points. I also thought there were too many unnecessary characters, like the Cardassian militants, and then spending more time focusing on them. I didn't the Enterprise was necessary again though DRG was restrained in using them.
I'm not much of a fan of Bacco or the Romulan Praetor. Their scenes often are dry for me. That being said, I did enjoy the conversation they had when the Praetor came to Earth. I also liked the conversation between the Praetor and Sela. If it is the end for Sela I think it would be fitting.
I think another thing that bogged down the book for me was Elias Vaughn. The novel spent too much time on him/his condition to then just let him die. I also wasn't a fan of the Benny Russell scenes. I know it's a part of DS9 and came from one of the show's best episodes, but the scenes didn't really work for me. I wish the action had been played more straight forward. I also didn't like DRG's depiction of Tomalak. He makes him a dullard, and I didn't get that from the TV show.