A Stitch in Time, by Andrew J. Robinson...
I recognized the character Garak, the Cardassian "taylor" of Deep Space Nine, from the title of the novel as much as from the cover art depicting him in a pensive mood holding an Edosian Orchid. So far as I was aware when I picked the book up, I had never heard of Andrew J. Robinson, though in fact I had... more about the author later.
A Stitch in Time is set up as a sort of Barbourian diary, if you will. It begins in the present with a letter to Garak's friend, Dr. Bashir, sojourns alternately between two different points of Garak's "fateline", each progressing generally forward. Time and all its permutations is very much woven into the fabric of the book. I suspect that the title, having its base in reference to a popular saying related to tayloring, ("a stitch in time saves nine", for those who somehow missed this lesson at Gramma's knee), is also a metaphor for a short span of time... or perhaps Garak's life.
During the time that the television series was still in production, Garak's past, and indeed present, were somewhat of a mystery. This novel fills in the gaps of his earlier life and gives a vivid picture of what life in a militaristic society must be like. Reading this, I was very much reminded of George Orwell's 1984, though it ends on an upnote rather than the despair of the future that permeates Orwell's novel and the outlook of his character Winston, though I suspect that if Winston were a Cardassian... well, I digress.
The tone of the novel is somewhat somber, and one can easily envision "plain and simple Garak" at his keyboard in a ruined Cardassian city amid pots and sherds with orchids, sewing machines, thread, fabric, and such littered around him as he puts the final touches on his narrative and the cover letter to Dr. Bashir he is sending along with it.
I found much to reflect on in this story.
A Stitch in Time is currently available as an ebook or in paperback, #27 in the Star Trek Deep Space Nine series. Buy this book. It is the best Star Trek novel I have ever read, though, My Enemy, My Ally is a close second.
Oh.... the author? Andrew J. Robinson? He is the actor who so brilliantly potrayed Garak on the television series where he was introduced.
Very, very well done, Sir!