The Babylon Project

To Dream in the City of Sorrows is the ninth book in the series of original Babylon 5 novels. It was written by Kathryn M. Drennan, who also wrote the television series episode By Any Means Necessary and was the wife of Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski. It is one of only two books of the initial novel series that is considered canon by Straczynski (the other being The Shadow Within.)[1]

It was later re-released with a new cover, which does not mention its status as #9 in the novel series (presumably to distance it from the non-canon books).


Original book cover for "To Dream in the City of Sorrows"

They called them the first line of defense. They called them Rangers.

Ambassador to the alien world of Minbar, former Babylon 5 commander, Jeffrey Sinclair, is one of the first to learn the truth about the Shadows, the ancient race pursuing the destruction of the galaxy. Sinclair also discovers a startling secret: he is the linchpin in the legendary Minbari warrior group, the Rangers. But it may cost him his one chance to love... and his life.

To Dream in the City of Sorrows

Catherine Sakai, commercial pilot and planetary surveyor, has lost her heart to Jeffrey Sinclair. Not even an attack by the Shadows can stop her from getting to Minbar to join him... and the Rangers. As she trains with other pilots, including the mysterious Marcus Cole, the time is coming when their skills will be tested on their first mission. Led by Sinclair, they will venture into deepest space, into a battle of stealth and might, and toward a fate none but the bravest can face... and none but the luckiest will survive...


The narrative of the book tells the story of Jeffrey Sinclair, Catherine Sakai and Marcus Cole starting three weeks after Sinclair's arrival on Minbar, in February 2259 until Marcus' departure to Zagros VII at the end of 2259. 'To Dream in the City of Sorrows' framing story starts December 6 2260 with Marcus having returned to Minbar to heal following his Denn-shah with Neroon on Babylon 5 (See: "Grey 17 is Missing")

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"To Dream in the City of Sorrows is not simply a licensed book set in the BABYLON 5 universe."
"While most of the Dell books to date have contained some elements that are considered canon, this is the very first one that is considered canonical in every small detail."
"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."

J. Michael Straczynski Executive Producer/Creator BABYLON 5
19 February 1997
  • The Boxtree edition states that the gap in Sinclair's memory is 48 hours long, not 24 as stated on screen. In the later reprint of the novel, the error was corrected.
  • This novel contains the only in-universe naming of Ulkesh. At all other times in-universe it is unnamed or referred to as "Kosh" or simply "The Vorlon Ambassador".


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