(written from a Production point of view)
The enigmatic Garak - Cardassian-in-exile on space station Deep Space Nine - refers to himself as "just a simple tailor", but everyone knows that there's more to him than that. Why was he banished from his home planet? And why does he choose exile on Deep Space Nine? This novel answers these questions, as well as detailing the role he plays in the reconstruction of Cardassian society following the Dominion War.
- From the book jacket
- For nearly a decade Elim Garak has longed for just one thing – to go home. Exiled on a space station, surrounded by aliens who loathe and distrust him, going back to Cardassia has been Garak's one dream. Now, finally, he is home. But home is a world whose landscape is filled with death and destruction. Desperation and dust are constant companions and luxury is a glass of clean water and a warm place to sleep.
- Ironically, it is a letter from one of the aliens on that space station, Dr. Julian Bashir, that inspires Garak to look at the fabric of his life. Elim Garak has been a student, a gardener, a spy, an exile, a tailor, even a liberator. It is a life that was charted by the forces of Cardassian society with very little understanding of the person, and even less compassion.
- But it is the tailor that understands who Elim Garak was, and what he could be. It is the tailor who sees the ruined fabric of Cardassia, and who knows how to bring this ravaged society back together. This is strange, because a tailor is the one thing Garak never wanted to be. But it is the tailor whom both Cardassia and Elim Garak need. It is the tailor who can put the pieces together, who can take a stitch in time.
"The Obsidian Order?" I asked.
"What do you know about us?"
"That's a good start."
- - Garak and Enabran Tain
- This book is written by Andrew Robinson, who played Elim Garak in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Robinson recalled the process which lead to the writing of the novel: " I started writing about Garak because, coming to the Star Trek franchise and being cast as an alien, a Cardassian, I had no idea what that was. I barely know about human beings. But then suddenly to be cast as an alien... it was a challenge. So I decided to write about the character and create the world of the character and I did this in the form of a diary that Garak kept: every day he would write about his experiences and so forth. And then I started going to conventions, like this one, and I started reading from the diary and the fans, the audiences loved it. So I started writing more, and I started crafting it more and, like a lot of people, I've always wanted to write a novel! That's when I started working into a novel. Then the people at Simon and Schuster, the publisher, agreed to let me do it, and it was a bit of a big deal because I was the first actor to write a novel without what they call a ghost writer, or with someone else writing it for me. Because I wanted to write it by myself, I didn't want anybody else writing it." 
- This novel contained Chapter Ten of the serialized novel Starfleet: Year One.
- An extract from this novel appeared in Star Trek Monthly issue 67.
- Among other plot points, the book reveals that Mila was Garak's mother, recalls Garak's days at the Obsidian Order's training academy, and recounts how Garak came to be assigned to the Cardassian embassy on Romulus (and why his cover was being a gardener). The book also further develops the backstories of the Oralian Way and the animosity between Garak and Dukat.
- The novel, along with the anthology The Lives of Dax, was later retroactively inserted into the ongoing "DS9 relaunch" series, which commenced the following year.
- Elim Garak
- Alon Ghemor
- A Cardassian who leads the charge to rebuild democracy on his world; he is the nephew of Legate Tekeny Ghemor.
- A teacher of Garak at the Bamarren Training Center.
- Enabran Tain
- Julian Bashir
- Chief Medical Officer of Deep Space 9.
- Limor Prang
- Garak's instructor during Garak's early career in the Obsidian Order.
- Lieutenant J.G. Hans Jordt
- A federation officer whom Garak met on Tohvun III. Jordt is Author Andrew Robinson's middle name.
- Bamarren Institute for State Intelligence
- The place where young Cardassians receive training in intelligence operations.
- Cardassia Prime
- Capital of the Cardassian Union and homeworld of Elim Garak.
- Deep Space 9
- Federation space station.
- First Hebitian Civilization
- native culture of Cardassia Prime prior to the Cardassian Union,renowned for high art and pacifism.
- A small animal indigenous to Cardassia Prime.
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|Final numbered novel in series|
|The Lives of Dax||Relaunch series||Avatar, Book One|