||Once again, we skip over a thousand
years of history, to join in on the aftermath of the events that
occurred in the previous story, Sentinel. This story is interesting, however, and finally
shows some of the development that will bring us to the Fate of the Jedi
era. The main character in this section, which looks like it will span
the final two sections of the series, was well drawn, first secure in
his invulnerability, then switching over to fear.
This is the first ebook I've read on my
Kobo Vox, and it is something I quite enjoyed, and plan to continue.
The problem with a book that spans so
many generations is that so much must be skipped, and so much of it
could have been so interesting. Such was the case in
The Lives of Dax,
for example, and this is true here, also. Instead of finding out what
happened to the two lovers from opposing cultures in Sentinel, we get a
new main character in the form of records keeper Varner Hilts. He is in a
good place to have a main character, because we are missing a lot of
It turns out the important part of
Sentinel was not the former Jedi Jelph, but in the death of the Sith
leader, who tried to fly his starship and detonated the bomb. The Sith arena was
so ready to explode in those two stories that every Sith formed its own clan, trying to be
Emperor and warring with the others to be declared High Lord of the
Sith. So now the Lost Tribe has been divided into the Sisters of Seelah,
followers of the wife of the first High Lord Korsin, and who of course was banished, the
Tribe 57, based on the 57 surviving Massassi warriors (whom they didn't even realize were
non-human), the Korsinites, who all call themselves Korsin (as a title),
The most ruthless, as in all Star Wars
novels, is the group formed by only women, the Sisters of Seelah. Iliana
intrudes on the hall of records in an attempts to force Hilts to change
Korsin's final speech to give her group the advantage. Hilts is not
worried, as his job is a sacred one, and as far as he knows, nobody has
ever threatened the keeper of the records before. But Iliana does, even
after Hilts essentially laughs in her face, because Korsin's last words
are not read by any of the records keepers, but are played from a
holocron (a very nice twist)!
The sisters try to pry the device open,
but no technology other than lightsabers work on Kesh, so they are not
familiar with how to operate anything mechanical, and are forced to
resort to threats again. But then other groups arrive, and everyone is
forced to a standstill. Due to an atmospheric effect, the "sandpipes",
timekeeping devices taken from Omen, lost about one second per year,
which adds up to eight days since Omen crashed, which allows Hilts to
cheat when threatened, and play the recording early (as it is eight days
before the officially sanctioned day).
Korsin's words are not very meaningful,
and were obviously meant for his successor, not for the general public.
Yet the more important information is that he recorded over a former
message from Naga Sadow, who gave Korsin his mission. Due to age or
defects or tampering by the Sisters, the message plays after Korsin's
last words. It is very obvious from this that Korsin was Sadow's minion,
and it reveals to those present that humanity and Keshiri were not the
only two races in the galaxy -perhaps not even the most dominant. The
news is dangerous, in that it reveals to the Keshiri that the humans are
not necessarily their overlords, and threatens to destroy the entire
power structure Korsin put in place.
Iliana destroys the holocron, but the
information is out, and it spreads like wildfire, causing riots and
burning of all the cities. As the hall of records is about to be destroyed, Hilts and his Keshiri assistant go out in search of the
Omen and the power possibly hidden there.
And that's how the story ends! Once
again, it's way too short, and it doesn't give us enough information.
But it does answer the question of how a Keshiri could become a Sith
High Lord in Allies.
While Iliana and the other clan leaders
were one-note characters, not given any development whatsoever, Hilts
was strong, even when faced by those leaders. He seemed fair to his
staff, though always careful to be a master to them, and he was secure
in the belief that his role as a passive observer was one that would
keep him alive and out of conflict forever. But it wasn't true. With
Iliana's threats to his staff, only coincidentally stopped by the early
playing of the holocron message, and the riots afterwards, which are of
course indiscriminate, that role is gone. I wonder if Hilts will become the
next High Lord?