||If one looks back at the Trek novels from recent years, one will observe that while the novels still feature original adventures, many of them have moved into the direction of filling in the gaps. Stargazer, The Lost Era, A Time to… -- all of these series that have bridged and expanded upon the threads in the rich tapestry of Gene Roddenbery’s universe. "Hollow Men" is simply the latest novel in this endeavor. As one can infer from the synopsis, “Hollow Men" acts as a sequel to In the Pale Moonlight. Since this is my all-time favorite DS9 episode, this instantly got my attention (alongside the fact that save for the anthology Prophecy and Change, this is the first non-relaunch DS9 novel published since 2001). The book bridges the gap between Moonlight and His Way and so is able to set up the beginnings of Vic Fontaine, delve into Bashir’s feelings regarding Section 31 (since Inquisition aired right before Moonlight) and show the start of the Romulan offensive in the Benzar system (The Reckoning). These and other subplots also delve into political intrigue and a clever heist sequence that has a surprising tie-in with the final series arc. Despite these subplots, however, the main focus of "Hollow Men" is on Captain Sisko and seeing his attempts to cope with and seek reasonability for his role in Vreenak‘s death and the Romulan collaboration that could save the UFP. He’s clearly still going through the wringer over the incident and seems to be on the verge of a mental breakdown (expanding on a little blurb made by Garak back in A Stitch in Time). The purpose of the novel is for Sisko to find some measure of peace and live with what he’s done. Through this, we get a large number of lingering questions answered from whether or not Starfleet found out the truth behind Vreenak’s death to what happened to one of Trek's disgraced Admirals. "Hollow Men" also examines something that we never really saw during the course of the Dominion War: Anti-war protests and peace rallies being conducted at the heart of the Federation. With the current controversy over the “Free-speech” zones and the curtailing of freedoms, it’s Trek doing what Trek does best by commenting on social issues through outside eyes (in this case, Garak -- who’s absolutely horrified at the concept of anti-war demonstrations in the midst of a war for the survival of the Quadrant) Una McCormack’s surrealist-esque style may take some getting used (Having read Cardassia: The Lotus Flower in Worlds of DS9: Vol. 1, I was prepared), but I like it. Since McCormack has admitted to being a big DS9 fan, she is perfectly suited to fleshing out this untold tale of the Dominion War. In short, despite a few flaws, slow bits, and one of the worst photoshop covers I've seen in a while, "Hollow Men" is still a good read. Like Christoper L. Bennett (Ex Machina), I think we can expect great things from one of the newest additions to the pantheon of Trek authors.