Publisher: Del Rey
Source: Library ebook
Description: Eight months after the Battle of Yavin, the Rebellion is in desperate need of a new base. So when Governor Ferrouz of Candoras Sector proposes an alliance, offering the Rebels sanctuary in return for protection against the alien warlord Nuso Esva, Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie are sent to evaluate the deal.
Mara Jade, the Emperor’s Hand, is also heading for Candoras, along with the five renegade stormtroopers known as the Hand of Judgment. Their mission: to punish Ferrouz’s treason and smash the Rebels for good.
But in this treacherous game of betrayals within betrayals, a wild card is waiting to be played. (from Goodreads)
Review: This is a sequel to Allegiance, also by Timothy Zahn, and I would strongly recommend reading that book first. While this book does give some of the back story for the group of renegade stormtroopers, it seemed a bit lacking for doing more than jogging the reader's memory of events in the previous book.
There's a lot going on in this book and it gets off to a slow start as we get introduced to most of the cast, all doing things that aren't directly related to the book's main plot. This fortunately doesn't last for very long, but I thought it could have been handled better.
The plot does get moving and has a number of twists to it, most of which I didn't see coming, and one that was such a surprise I had to go back and reread parts to understand what had happened. (It isn't badly written, it is written in a way that is deliberately deceptive.) There was also one twist that I saw coming long before it was revealed.
There was also a scene where Luke and Mara Jade end up in the general vicinity of each other, which seems to not really fit with Luke's reaction when they first meet in Heir to the Empire.
While the characters have all played important roles in the story by the end, it still felt like it over did the number of original characters that the author inserted into this plot, leaving the characters from the original movies feeling a bit like afterthoughts and plot contrivances at points.
Its not a bad Star Wars book, but its not one of the better ones either.