More buildup, but less solid than the previous books.
Some great leaps of faith are required, though the theme of the book was
Jacen, Jaina, Tenel Ka and Lowbacca travel to Coruscant for a
vacation. Instead of spending time with their mother, father and
Anakin, they seek out their street friend Zek. The chances of them
even getting to meet a street boy are very remote, I think. But it's
obvious that Jaina has a crush on him.
It's also obvious that Jacen has a major crush on Tenel Ka.
He is desperately trying to get her to laugh at his jokes -which are very
During their searching, they come across a crashed Old Republic
freighter, deep in the lower city levels. They also steal an egg
from an exotic animal that has made its home in these parts. Then
they come across a gang that call themselves The Lost Ones. They
try to steal the egg, but the five youngsters get away.
Zek has been invited to dinner with Jacen and Jaina, where they
are trying to recruit the ambassador of an unallied world into the New
Republic. Zek humiliates himself, though Leia does a very admirable
job of covering it up. But it's enough. He runs off, feeling
inadequate. Strange as it sounds, since I loathe people who feel
inadequate, this worked well for me.
Meanwhile, in orbit, Admiral Akbar is in charge of delivering
a load of hyperdrive actuators in a cruiser. But the warship comes
under attack, and is lost to TIE fighters. This is another leap of
faith in the book. There is no way Akbar would have lost the battle
so quickly! He's just a better officer than that. And those
small ships could not ionize the cruiser completely before it had fired
one shot! They were on the lookout for pirate attacks already!
But so it goes. Down on the planet, Tamith Kai captures
Zek, and discovers that he has Force potential. Brakiss then spends
considerable time convincing him that his friends were not really his friends,
since they didn't even think of testing him for Force potential.
Zek is not that gullible. He knows how the world works. But
he goes along with it, and even chastises his friends when he meets them.
They had been searching for him for days. And finally found him trying
to recruit the Lost Ones to become stormtroopers.
Zek had been really good friends with an old man named Peckum,
who delivers supplies to the Jedi Academy. Peckum was really worried
when Zek disappeared, but he had other jobs that he had to attend to.
Peckum managed a mirror station, which beamed energy down to the planet.
The station is in a state of disrepair, and the young Jedi try to help
him fix it.
They had gone searching for components with Zek, and used some
to make repairs. Then they used the mirror station to try and make
a more effective map of the junk and debris in orbit of Coruscant, left
over from all the battles.
Lowie makes the discovery that one area is completely without
debris. At the same time, Jaina discovers that the ships that attacked
Akbar's cruiser were short range fighters. They came from the Shadow
Academy, which had been in orbit all along!
What a coincidence that it's nearby! They get to flush
out the Shadow Academy space station with the mirror's focused light beam.
But it escapes. The buildup continues. Now Luke is beginning
to see them as a threat. A completely new threat.
Finally, at the very end, we get to see the face of the leader.
It's the Emperor! If it actually turns out to be Palpatine, I will
be very, very disappointed. I think somebody has designed a ruse.
Only time will tell.
This series is becoming a running serial, more than a collection
of books. Each one has its own specific adventure, or mystery, but
there is a large arc over everything. It can't keep up for much longer,