Reading the Babylon 5 Novels: “Blood Oath” by John Vornholt

Having finally watched Babylon 5 for the first time (check out my posts for that series at my Babylon 5 Hub), I decided to dive into the novels. I’ll be reading them largely in publication order and reviewing them individually as we go along. Please do not spoil later books for me. There will be SPOILERS for the book reviewed going forward.

Blood Oath by John Vornholt

Blood Oath is a novel that would have made a stellar short story. It fits the series better than the first two novels, and it doesn’t suffer from the out of character moments those novels had, either. The whole novel is a kind of addendum to the episode from the first season, “The Parliament of Dreams.” This ties it in to the series in a fun way, but it also makes it seem overlong since its plot really is just an extension of that episode.

What happens here is that the daughter of Du’Rog, whose name was allegedly besmirched by G’Kar, takes out a Shon’Kar against G’Kar, swearing to kill him. G’Kar sees the threat as imminent and fakes his death in order to escape. He then makes his way to the Narn Homeworld, independently pursued by Na’Toth, Garibaldi, and Ivanova.

We saw the backstory for this novel, again, in “The Parliament of Dreams.” Vornholt ties this novel quite well into that episode, though some of the timeline is ambiguous. The action moves along well, though the book does ultimately run into some serious pacing issues in the middle section. That section basically has G’Kar running into people (or not) who recognize him (or don’t) while Ivanova and Garibaldi haplessly look for him across the homeworld. There are only so many close misses and chase scenes one can take before it starts to feel like padding, and this novel is definitely padded for length. Some judicious editing would have made it a fantastic short story though, especially with its strong ties to the plot of the show.

The conclusion is great, and we witness a wonderfully fun moment between G’Kar and Mollari right at the end which left me with a sweet taste after the occasional slog.

Fun fact from The Babylon File: The Definitive Unauthorised Guide to J Michael Straczynski’s Babylon 5 by Andy Lane about Vornholt’s research for the book–which he was given only 2 months to write! Lane quotes Vornholt: “I asked [JMS] for information on the Narn homeworld for Blood Oath, but he told me to make it up. I thought this was very cavalier of him, until I realised he was going to destroy the planet in a war” (388).

Another fun fact, though I’m not sure if it’s intentional: the name “Mi’Ra” for G’Kar’s rival, is quite similar to “Mira,” the first name of Mira Furlan, who plays Delenn in the series. Again, I don’t have a source saying if it was intentional, but it seemed a fun Easter egg at the time I noticed.

Blood Oath is the best of the first 3 Babylon 5 novels, though it still has its issues with pacing. It ties in well to the series, and Vornholt captures the characters believably. Vornholt gives readers more fun character scenes than expected, and so I give it a reserved recommendation for fans of the series.

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Star Trek: DS9 “Blood Oath” and “The Maquis Part 1”

Time to kick ass.

I’ve completed my re-watch of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Now it’s time to start Deep Space Nine! I am much less familiar with this show, though I’m pretty sure I’ve seen about 80-90% of the episodes. It’s been so long that I’m sure it will all feel brand new. My wife has never seen the show. She and I will go through, review every episode, and give commentary and a grade from A-F. There are SPOILERS for each episode below. Without further adieu, here’s:

“Blood Oath”


A group of Klingons shows up on Deep Space 9, immediately causing problems with their carousing. After several arrests, Jadzia Dax hears their names and realizes they are sincere friends of Dax’s from the past. She reunites with them and discovers they have come to gather in order to fulfill a blood oath all of them took–including Dax–to avenge themselves against a pirate, “The Albino,” who killed the firstborn sons of the Klingons after they destroyed his base. They have finally found his location and plan to kill him. Jadzia insists on being included–one of the murdered Klingon children was Dax’s godson, after all, and Dax also swore the blood oath–but two of them oppose her inclusion. She finally convinces them to let her come with as part of the honor of Klingon oaths. Major Kira and Commander Sisko each try to convince her not to go, but she does. En route, she discovers that the whole thing is a set up–The Albino knows they are coming and has agreed to give them a “chance” to kill him under his own conditions. Jadzia rebels against the notion and instead devise a way to attack the weapons of The Albino. They attack in the manner she plans, and manage to confront The Albino in his lair. Jadzia herself disarms The Albino, and one of her companions kills him. Two of her best friends are lost in the battle, but she and Kor leave, the latter singing praises of the battle they just fought.


BUM BUMBuMbuM buM BUM *Guitar Riff*

Sorry, this episode just really needs a heavy metal soundtrack going along even as I think about it. It was totally badass. In this episode, Jadzia Dax goes with a group of Klingons to take Klingon-style revenge: a Bat’leth to the gut. Yeah. Totally awesome. It also provides a significant amount of character development for Dax, as she struggles to decide whether it is morally acceptable for her to go on this quest for revenge, as well as balancing her former host lives against her own perspectives.

Now, accompany all of this with a group of rambunctious Klingons causing problems all over DS9 for Odo and Quark? Yeah. Not a ton to say about this one because the plot itself basically demonstrates how amazing it is.

Grade: A+ “They really needed to have a soundtrack filled with heavy metal… or Klingon opera, for this one. It’s an epic episode.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A “It was just an epic Klingon feud of destiny.”

“The Maquis, Part I”


Tensions from the colonies–both Cardassian and Starfleet–that are along the border between the two nations (what is the right term for Starfleet anyway… conglomerate of utopic homeworlds? I don’t know) spill over to DS9 in a big way as a Cardassian freighter is destroyed. A Vulcan attempts to buy weapons from Quark to help in the same conflict. Apparently, they may be part of a group calling itself The Maquis that seeks to limit the Cardassian influence on their colonies through force. Gul Dukat stops by for a visit and, in a trip with a Runabout, shows him the conflict that continues to develop between their peoples. An old friend of Sisko, Calvin Hudson, has been sent to try to stymie the conflict. Chief O’Brien demonstrates that the device that destroyed the Cardassian freighter was of Federation origin, and Sisko moves to defend Dukat. He’s too late, and the Cardassian is captured. Sisko goes in pursuit, but is confronted by Hudson, who has apparently joined the Maquis himself.


The Cardassians continue to be a much more interesting foe than even the Romulans were in TNG. Unlike so many of the aliens that are foes of the Federation in Star Trek, the Cardassians aren’t just one trick ponies. The Romulans, for example, you know are going to be lying and plotting. The Ferengi are greedy and that’s about it (but DS9 is also changing that perception), the Borg are rather generically horrible. Yes there are exceptions, but overall the aliens in earlier Star Trek had very little by way of dynamics. The Cardassians feel like a bigger challenge because they have, for better or worse, more humanity in them. “The Maquis” helps develop them even more, showing Gul Dukat as a manipulator, yes, but a manipulator who may not always have the worst possible intentions at heart.

The ending was kind of expected for me. I figured it would be Hudson. But, though predictable, it also shows the episode’s writers weren’t just pulling things out of a hat whenever possible. It is cohesive and a great setup for what is to come.

Grade: A- “The conflict between Starfleet and the Cardassians continues to be compelling, with both personal and broader conflict drawing viewers in.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “It was pretty good, but not particularly memorable.”


J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Star Trek: DS9- For more episode reviews, follow this site and also click this link to read more (scroll down as needed)! Drop me a comment to let me know what you thought!