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A novel by Karen Traviss (2006, Del Rey)
A Boba Fett novel
25 years after Star Wars: A New Hope

As the Yuuzhan Vong begin their invasion of the galaxy, Boba Fett and the Mandalorians must decide how they will fight the coming war.




Read on September 30th, 2009  
    It was really nice to return to the Yuuzhan Vong war, especially after suffering through the Legacy of the Jedi series. From The Unifying Force, we know that the Mandalorians were liberating various species from the Vong, and killing as many Vong as they possibly could. From Sacrifice, we know that the Yuuzhan Vong didn't take well to the Mandalorians doing this, and ravaged their world.

Now we get the story that Nom Anor approached the Mandalorians to create chaos on various worlds before the invasion began in Vector Prime. Goran Bevin, seen here for probably the first time (and a main character in the Karen Traviss Legacy books) shows up here as a point of view, where he observes Boba Fett as Mandalore. I've mentioned this before, but after reading the Bounty Hunter Wars, I vowed to put down any book containing the word "barve". This one has a few references to the word, but I didn't put it down.

Like the other Karen Traviss novels, this story is very well written, and focuses on the Mandalorians. They like the pay Nom Anor gives them, but start to feel uncomfortable at destabilizing world governments. Yet they do the work until Nom Anor brings them to the rendezvous point with the invading fleet.

When they observe what the Vong truly are, and their organic technology, they are disgusted. Fett and Bevin are invited on board, where they are fascinated but repelled by the weapons and ships and other stuff. I liked Fett's unique perspective, where he keeps referring to the inside of the ships as stomachs, thinking of the Sarlacc at the same time! I guess he should know!

They also get to observe some of the religious (I think?) caste members implant a couple of humans with organic devices, for which their hatred of the Vong grows and they even want to put the victims out of their misery.

From that moment on, they vow to take their revenge on the Yuuzhan Vong, and even as they continue destabilizing governments, they try to pass their inside information on to the New Republic. However, given the source of the information, the New Republic doesn't believe them, so world after world continues to fall to the invasion fleet. On one mission, they find a Jedi, whom they save from a Vong warrior, and pass more information on to, and who believes them.

From then on, we are supposed to believe that the Mandalorians were vital to the New Republic intelligence service. I have trouble with that, but this author always overstates the role and prowess of the Mandalorians, while underplaying others like the Jedi. We even get a point of view from Nom Anor, who admires their strength and courage, while reviling their need for mechanical devices. But he knows the Mandalorians will be tough to recruit, to lose their independence, and make serve the Yuuzhan Vong. Everybody knows Mandalore will be hit hard when the time comes. But the Mandalorians are capable of melting into the woodwork, and will survive.

There are a few minor characters in the story, as well, a mother and daughter who have just entered service as the father/husband just died. So the girl gets a coming-of-age drink and loses her mother on the mission that saved the Jedi. This highlights another aspect of Mandalorian culture, where nobody is ever left alone. If only Fett had known or cared enough when he was young; he would have never been so lonely. But all he knew was his father, and so he became the man he is.

It was nice to return to a simpler time, when the authors didn't try to make things so subtle, which became boring or annoying. This story gave us another glimpse into the Mandalorians in a time of transition.


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