Spoiler Level: Medium
Star Trek books are back! After a 5 month break with nothing but reprints, the monthly paperback novels have returned! And what better way to return than the new Typhon Pact series?
In the wake of the quadrant-wide devastation of the Borg Invasion in Star Trek: Destiny, the Tholians, Gorn, Breen, Romulans, Tzenkethi, and Kinshaya have all joined to form a new alliance: The Typhon Pact. Forced to work together during the Borg Invasion, the six species have formalized their alliance and created a new major political power, sharing information and technology, and standing opposed to the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Star Trek now has a new Cold War.
Each book in the Typhon Pact series is following one of the current book series; there will be a book for The Next Generation, a book for Deep Space Nine, a book for the Titan, and a book for the Aventine, which is the new slipstream powered starship captained by Ezri Dax introduced in Destiny.
Zero Sum Game is the Aventine book, but to be honest, the Aventine doesn't get to do very much in it. This is totally a Bashir story from beginning to end, with Dax and the Aventine as supporting characters. Bashir is picked for a special mission to infiltrate the Breen, and it's Dax's job to get him into Breen space, avoid any trouble with the Breen and the Romulans while he's performing his mission, then to extract him once he's accomplished it. Really, this feels like a Deep Space Nine book; the main characters being Bashir and Dax, the story starts and ends on DS9, it deals heavily with the Breen who were only seen in DS9, and guest characters were mostly from DS9 episodes.
The Breen are one of the more mysterious races; we only saw them towards the end of the Dominion War, and while we learned they were tough and are covered from head to toe, we didn't really learn much else about them. So this book gives us the opportunity to do just that, as Bashir is immersed in Breen culture and has to learn a lot on the fly.
The story is enjoyable enough, even if it's not a gripping page-turner like Mack's previous books. Mack creates a compelling look at the Breen's society, and how it's being affected by joining the Typhon Pact and having to work so closely with the rest of the Pact's members (in this case, the Romulans). The parallels to the Cold War between the US and the USSR are very strong; the slipstream drive technology is causing a 24th Century arms race to erupt between the Federation and the Typhon Pact. It mixes spy adventure (and lots of angst for poor Bashir, who's too good at being an intelligence operative for his own good) and political intrigue, and lays some good groundwork for the future of Star Trek in print.