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A novel by Troy Denning (2006, Del Rey)
Book 3 in The Legacy of the Force
37 years after Star Wars: A New Hope

As Han and Leia try to prevent Corellia from helping topple Tenel Ka's government, Luke and Mara prepare to face Lumiya after finding evidence she is working with Jacen.



Read May 10th to 22nd, 2008  
    As with the last book, we get a lot of action, which was presented well, and a storyline that continues along the same general principles as the rest of the series, and which I am not fond of. My biggest complaint comes in the way that everybody calmly accepts the way the Galactic Alliance is becoming the Empire. Luke should either pull his Jedi out of the Alliance, or do something more positive about it. Of course, he has a lot of problems at home, with Ben out being an idealist.

If I was Han, Leia or Luke, I would try to find a secluded planet, perhaps among the Yuuzhan Vong, and leave the galaxy to its fate. Nobody seems to appreciate what they have done, and they don't seem to care about anarchy or Empire in the future. The laws the government is passing are illegal according to the Constitution, Jacen is out murdering people or confining them illegally and torturing them, and Luke, arguably the most powerful person in the galaxy, sits idly by. I have no idea what he should be doing, but in the past, before the Yuuzhan Vong war, he wouldn't have been this passive.

As for Jacen, at least he has backed off from his stance in Bloodlines thinking that he must sacrifice Tenel Ka and Allanah. Here he states that there are some things he will never sacrifice, reciting basically my arguments from the last book, that the galaxy has to be worth saving for someone he loves, otherwise why go through the trouble. Still, nobody has even sat down with him to state the obvious. All societies work because of the basic trust or fear that the people have in the government or police. All people have secrets -even Jacen. Human beings (and the other aliens that populate this galaxy) do things that are wrong. Luke believes that even the worst criminals, like Anakin Skywalker, can be redeemed. Jacen does not, at least not any longer. In the past, and in our society, people can plea bargain. While not the best solution, they realize that they can be redeemed by giving important information over to their captors. In the world Jacen is creating, there is no redemption, so there is no reason to continue living after being captured. With no hope, people will try harder not to get caught, and will feel that they have to go even further, even to the death, to make their point, because they will receive no mercy. He is not creating a galaxy of order.

The main plot of this book takes the form of Corellia trying to aid in a coup on Hapes. Inadvertently, Han and Leia help spring a trap for Tenel Ka, because they were unaware of what the Corellian government's actual plans were. Fortunately, Jaina sensed her mother leaving Corellia and warned Tenel Ka that something was wrong, through the Force, thus saving her life. Han and Leia, however, are on a run for their lives. They pick up the assassin by chance, who turns out to be Aurra Sing, of all people. She apparently managed to escape the prison she was sent to in Light and Dark, after the Yuuzhan Vong invaded the planet. Han and Leia work their way through the Hapan underworld, finally catching up with the "usurper fleet" of ships, which are being helped by the Corellian fleet Thrackan Sal-Solo had created. Everybody assumes that they are part of the coup plan, but questions their loyalty anyway. They delay their hyperspace jump into the final battle long enough to send an encrypted message to Tenel Ka, thus redeeming themselves. But not in Jacen's eyes, as he feels they still need to face charges for taking Corellia's side in the standoff. He doesn't believe in redemption.

Luke and Mara track down the apartment of a Jedi-killer, who turns out to be Lumiya, and her new friend Alema Rar, who survived the man-eating plant in The Swarm War, and who wants revenge on Luke and Leia's clans. She calls it the Balance of the Force, and I like her twisted and self-centered view of the Balance. From the apartment, they learn that Lumiya was working with somebody from the Galactic Alliance Guard, the GAG. They know from intuition, but lack proof, that Jacen is working with her, so they race off to Hapes, where Jacen and Ben are on their new Star Destroyer helping Tenel Ka sort out the assassination attempt. Jacen calmly listens to their concerns, being as dense as ever, trying to keep his Sith nature secret, and sends them off to rendezvous with Ben. Of course, he then sends Lumiya off to rendezvous with Ben also.

When Ben doesn't arrive, Luke and Mara know Jacen set them up. Lumiya already knows instantly that Jacen set her up, and is very proud, knowing now that he can sacrifice anything to become the Sith he needs to be. As Luke and Mara try to leave, Lumiya attacks. Mara is nearly killed by Alema Rar's blowdart, but she defeats the crippled Twi'lek, not killing her because there was a small bomb of huge explosive power plugged into her heart monitor. Luke, meanwhile, handily defeats Lumiya, though as he saves Mara from the poison dart, he loses his mechanical hand. He actually shoots Lumiya instead, also nearly killing the woman, until Mara reveals the bomb on that Sith, as well. They leave before the bomb explodes, but assume Lumiya escaped. We know Alema Rar did, because she talks to Jacen afterward. She is the only person who knows that Allanah is Jacen's daughter, because the Dark Nest attacked the infant back in The Unseen Queen.

And Aurra Sing? Jacen defeats her as she somehow sneaks onto his Star Destroyer and attacks Allanah. Allanah injects the assassin with a non-fatal nerve toxin. It is actually not much of a surprise that Sing managed to get onto the Star Destroyer. I can't accept that she can shield herself from the Force the way Jacen, Ben, Lumiya and Alema can. But if those last two can walk around the Star Destroyer, the Anakin Solo, unnoticed, then it would seem that anybody could. I don't believe Jacen's excuse that everybody on board wants to hide their identities by keeping their helmets on. So she ends up being Jacen's prisoner.

I mentioned in my review of Bloodlines that each author brings a certain item to their novels, which can be predicted in advance. I wondered what impossible situation this author would put the main characters into this time. Luke and Mara get off rather easily, as their fight with Lumiya was relatively predictable. Han and Leia, however, are nearly killed by Jacen, who doesn't trust them, as his Star Destroyer takes a few shots at the Millennium Falcon as they are trying to rescue Ben, Jaina and Zekk. The Falcon is literally falling apart, and I have trouble believing it could even make the jump to lightspeed. They even lose the Nogrhi, who have been with them longer, now, than any bodyguard team since The Last Command. They force everybody except C3PO and themselves to abandon ship in escape pods, then leave the system, to who knows where. Since thwarting the coup, they cannot return to Corellia, and with Jacen around, they cannot return to the Galactic Alliance. Like I said, they should really find a nice planet and settle down for the rest of their lives.

There is a small sub-plot between Jaina and Zekk, who apparently has been romantically chasing her since they first met. Something "changes" here between them, and Jaina starts respecting him, and he stops trying to catch her. Everybody notices this change, which inevitably means they will become romantically linked. It's about time Jaina found somebody anyway. Does this mean she will lose her last name, as Zekk doesn't appear to have one? I just wish the "change" in their relationship wasn't given so obviously by the author.

By not speaking to Han and Leia, experienced parents, Luke and Mara don't even see that they are pushing Ben away from them further by forcing him to discontinue working for the GAG. I hope they get to spar some more, and that Ben gets a real Jedi Master who will teach him about the true nature of being a good person, not just tricks of the Force.

After three books, I can't say I am enjoying this story so far. Now, I expect it won't be until the (hopefully) upbeat resolution until I find something to really like. The writing has been uneven, with Betrayal being really good, to Bloodlines' mediocre, and now this one, which was also pretty solid. The characters were well expressed, though some of the circumstances led them to do things that seemed out of character. I can't quite recommend this series yet.


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