Ossus Library Index Star Wars Timeline




An e-book novella by Walter Jon Williams (2002, Del Rey)
Included with the Destiny's Way softcover
A New Jedi Order Story
28 years after Star Wars: A New Hope

An attack force converges on the headquarters of the Peace Brigade, in an attempt to bring its leaders to justice.



3+ stars+

Read on August 31st, 2003  
    This story fits directly in with the style and plotlines of Destiny's Way, making me wonder all the more why it was cut.

There are two things happening in this story, and while one can be isolated from the rest of Destiny's Way, the other can not. The battle on Ylesia happens as part of the skirmishes that the New Republic military was using to help train their rookie pilots. There is a space dogfight, and a ground trooper fight. Although it would have been nice to view this battle within the novel that spawned it, this fight is just another fight, and it really wasn't necessary to see it as a chapter in the book.

The second part of the book is the growth of the characters, namely Jacen and Jaina, as a result of the battle. Once Kyp Durron gives them the target, Jacen offers a battle plan that complicates matters by attempting to capture the leaders of the Peace Brigade, instead of killing them outright. He shows that he is a good pilot, but nowhere near as good as his sister. The result of this battle is something that we were only told about in Destiny's Way, that Jacen's strength comes from coordinating the battle from the bridge of the flagship, not from being a starfighter pilot. This is such an important development that it should not have been shunted into a short story like this.

As for Jaina, she gets some very important time in with Jag Fel, and she learns some valuable lessons in her own vulnerability. Did Jaina and Jag go off to have sex? I indicated in my review of Destiny's Way that it was nice to see sex entering the Star Wars universe. These two are no longer teens, so it wouldn't be a terrible thing to develop an intimate relationship, except that some people might object that they aren't married. I suppose it is best left ambiguous, to let the readers decide.

Jaina also gets to see how over her head some of these battles are, not just for her rookies, but for herself, as well. The furball that was the fight in the atmosphere left everybody dazzled. She is definitely a military leader, though, as evidenced by all of her actions. The way she and Lowbacca cleared the way for the ground troops, as well as their entry into the Senate's bunker, showed that they have developed as Jedi, as well.

I have some troubles with the atmospheric battle, in terms of what the fighters can and cannot do. Jacen's shadow bomb, for example, seems to act as if it was still in space. For all the author's talk about atmospheric buffeting, the shadow bomb doesn't need the Force to maintain its position, for some reason. Under the influence of winds, drag and gravity, Jacen would have to do a lot of work keeping it stationary. According to the computer games (and possibly the movies), and all of the previous books, X-Wing fighters cannot fire their lasers with the S-foils closed, but that is just what happens here, for everybody, in the atmosphere. In the games, we were able to fly through the atmosphere with S-foils open, and still have atmospheric stability. Finally, I still don't know what the term "bounced" means. The author used it often in Destiny's Way, and it occurred here, as well.

As with the battle scenes in Destiny's Way, the end of this one seemed rather abortive -not in terms of the fighting, but the narrative, instead. It is not good form to write "ships were lost, enemies were destroyed..." to sum up the withdrawal. If he gives us the minute details of the fight from the beginning, he should continue until the very end. Once again, it seemed like the details were beyond what the author wanted to tell, so he took the lazy way out.

My favorite parts of this story come from the enemy's point of view, once more. This time, however, the enemy wasn't really Overlord Shimra, Nom Anor or Maal Lah, though these also appeared. Instead, we get the return of a character I had never wanted to see again, Thrackan Sal-Solo! However, this time the character was written perfectly! Instead of being a loathsome, bickering man, he was written with comedy -evil comedy that really worked. I was reminded of the Sheriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Every time he forms a thought, or speaks to his bodyguard, it is in the form of an sarcastic, egocentric human. His remarks concerning the Yuuzhan Vong, that their ships are the color of vomit, and so on, were just hilarious, all the way through. Even when he meets up with Jaina, giving their fake names, had me laughing out loud.

Concerning the enemies of the New Republic, I find it interesting to note that the Hutts have been destroyed -apparently all of them. I am sure some still exist in hiding, but the writers seem to have run to the end of Hutt stories, now. I also wonder about Domain Lah. Now that Tsavong Lah has humiliated himself before the Vong gods, will the whole Domain be removed from leadership positions? That's what happened to Domain Shai back in Ruin, though I hope that case was only an exception due to the author.

Senator (and former self-declared Chief-of-state) Pwoe makes an appearance here, and it was obvious the author was speaking of him in front of the Peace Brigade Senate, especially when he refused to give the guy a name. I wasn't surprised to see his appearance when Jaina make her way into the bunker.

The entire series of battles in this story, from the first attacks against the Peace Brigade, to the atmospheric dogfights, the Jedi clearing the rooftops of snipers, and the ambush on the route back to the transports were all giant melees, where Jaina was overwhelmed. It's probably a more realistic situation, especially in enemy territory, than many other battles we've seen, where the combatants could actually take time to think.

On the side of appearances, I was slightly disappointed by the way the cover of this e-book was simply the back cover for Destiny's Way. There were also a lot of spelling mistakes for a story this short.

I wasn't expecting to read this story so soon after the main book, but since the official Star Wars website offered it for free, I decided that it was a good time to read it. They did this because it was not included in the paperback edition of the book, but will be included in future printings.

This is definitely a story about Jacen and Jaina. None of the characters from the movies appear at all, which I find amazing. Tahiri makes a small appearance -it's great to see that she commands her own squadron, even though we don't get to see her in action, either here or in the big trap at the end of Destiny's Way. There was lots to like about this story, almost as much as in the novel that spawned it. I only wish the author would finish the battles properly.

The interview with the author that accompanied this story didn't add much to the enjoyment, except to note that there are things that the publishers have definitely thought through, for better or for worse, like Jacen's destiny, and the definition of the Force. I desperately hope the final author, Luceno, is up to the job.


Back to Top

All Star Wars material and covers are Copyright Lucasfilm Ltd and the publishers.
All reviews and page designs at this site Copyright (c)  by Warren Dunn, all rights reserved.