Tuesday, June 28, 2011

To Dream in The City of Sorrows

To Dream in the City of Sorrows. (Babylon 5: Book #9). Kathryn M. Drennan. Based on the series by J. Michael Straczynski. 1997. Random House. 352 pages.

From the prologue: Marcus Cole walked with a limp, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the young Minbari acolyte as Marcus entered the small temple. Marcus didn't recognize the rather chubby Minbari and briefly wondered where Sech Turval was, but as he was not in the mood for conversation, he simply made a note to seek out the venerable Minbari teacher at a later time.

From chapter one: "Alpha 7 to Alpha Leader, I'm hit!" 

I almost don't know where to start with this review. I could start by asking you if you've discovered how wonderful a show Babylon 5 is. I could mention that at the moment, at least, you can watch the first season online at the WB. (Though I discovered--the hard way--that these moments of "generosity" (aka availability) aren't to be taken for granted. What is available for a few weeks at a time, may disappear suddenly leaving folks a bit disgruntled.) Amazon also offers individual episodes for download--for a price, of course. If you're a fan, I'd be curious to know how many episodes it took for you to get hooked, for me, it was five. Once I saw Parliament of Dreams, well, I knew that it was the start of a beautiful friendship. Or obsession. You know, whichever you prefer.

So the framework of To Dream In The City of Sorrows--the prologue and epilogue--take place shortly after season three's "Grey 17 is Missing," and are narrated by Marcus Cole. (I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Marcus Cole!) But most of the book focuses on what was happening with Jeffrey Sinclair after he left Babylon 5. (The gap between the last episode of season one, "Chrysalis," and the incredibly intense two-part episode "War Without End" of season three.)

IN the first episode of season two, viewers learn that Jeffrey Sinclair has been suddenly removed from his position on Babylon 5 and reassigned to Minbar. Officially he is the "ambassador from Earth" on Minbar. The FIRST human ambassador to Minbar. Unofficially, well, he's out of favor with Earth Alliance. But that may just prove to everyone's advantage.   

In the introduction, J. Michael Straczynski writes, "What you hold in your hand is an official, authorized chapter in the Babylon 5 story line. This is the definitive answer to the Sinclair question, and should be considered as authentic as any episode in the regular series."

Read To Dream in the City of Sorrows
  • If you want to know what Sinclair was doing in season two and three
  • If you want to know what became of Catherine Sakai, to learn if these two were able to make their troubled relationship work...with the added drama of Shadows and Rangers
  • If you want to know more even more about the Shadows' movements during this time
  • If you want to learn about how Sinclair became Ranger One and re-energized the Rangers (first started by Valen)
  • If you want to learn more about Minbari prophecies (also their culture and caste system)
  • If you want to learn more about the Vorlons; in particular readers are introduced to Ulkesh. (Loved Sinclair's first impression of him! And his insights about the Vorlons in general. How Kosh may not be the most representative of his race.)
  • If you want to learn more about Marcus. Readers meet William Cole AND Marcus Cole. Two brothers with an imperfect relationship. William is an eager ranger-in-training trying to get Marcus to join him, but, things don't always go as planned. Viewers get some of this story--was it in "Ceremonies of Light and Dark?"
I just LOVED this book. I loved learning more of Sinclair's story. I loved the introduction to Marcus Cole. Granted, I already loved him, but learning more of his story, well, it makes me love him even more! It's just a GREAT book.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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