Saturday, February 18, 2017

Star Wars Wedges Gamble Review

Star Wars
Wedge's Gamble
X-wing Series Book 2
Review by Nathan Neuharth

The only negative thing I have to say about this novel and all Star Wars novels in general: I'm sick of hearing Corellians saying, “Don't tell me the odds.” How did a Han Solo comment become a trait of all the people of the planet Corellia? Really now, enough.

Other than that this is a great series the second novel in. Corran Horn is still my favorite member of Rogue Squadron. A third generation CorSec Officer (Corellian Security Officer), he is definitely one of the stars of the series. However, as the title hints loudly, the commander of Rogue Squadron; Wedge Antilles, takes center stage.

I like Defender Squadron, which is made up of Y-wing pilots and hope to see more of them. We get to know Gavin Darklighter a bit, learning some of his history living on Tattooine. He was cousin to Luke Skywalker's childhood friend Biggs Darklighter; who gave his life in the Battle of Yavin. Corran's former CorSec partner Iella shows up as a contact working for the Alliance on Coruscant. The love triangle between Corran, Erisi, and Mirax deepens but Corran clearly chooses Mirax. Winter is another contact under the alias Targeter. I like the fact the Tycho Celchu and Winter are romantically involoved.

The plot of this novel is the Rebel Alliance taking Imperial Center (Coruscant) and more officially becoming the New Republic in the eyes of the galaxy. Not as much dogfighting and such (there is some fun speeder bike action and in the end the Rogues pilot Z-95 Headhunter starfighters which are a favorite of mine). It's more of an undercover mission with the Rogues sent to infiltrate Coruscant, identify and assess military targets, and finally take out the planetary shield. They go so far as to release several members of the Black Sun from the slave mines of Kessel to help cause problems for the Empire.

Kirtan Loor becomes a much more interesting antagonist. We seem him develop and grow as a character. He goes from being an average baddie to a major and dangerous threat. It's intriguing that he and Isarde never actually come in to contact with the protagonists, but remain hidden puppet masters.

Having read the first two novels and looking at the titles of the first four novels, the storyline is clearly well planned and plotted. The Imperials secretly leave a specifically developed biological weapon behind on Coruscant called the Krytos virus which only infects and kills non-humans. Bacta cures it but there is not enough bacta to go around. Another subplot is a spy among the Rogues but we don't know who it is. Tycho Celchu is arrested because they believe he was brainwashed as a sleeper agent; Manchurian Candidate style. He's blamed for the death of Corran (who is actually taken prisoner by Isarde rather than killed). The novel ends with such cliffhangers (Corran captured, the Krypto virus, Tycho arrested, Loor left on Coruscant to organize terrorism, etc.) I can't wait to start the next novel.

Nathan Neuharth

Author, Editor, Publisher
Owner of Night Horse Publishing House 

Dramatis Personae

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Rogue Squadron Book Review

Star Wars
X-wing Book One
Rogue Squadron
by Michael A. Stackpole
6.5 ABY
Review by Nathan Neuharth

It's a joy to get back to reading a Star Wars novel that is actually good. The last three I read were awful. This novel is a fantastic wonder with Corran Horn, Whistler, and Ooryl Qrygg in the opening scene. My only introduction to them was through the novel I, Jedi which made Corran one of my favorite Expanded Universe characters next to Kyp Durron. It's great to learn about Corran's history prior to that novel and he is the star of this book. He is a third generation former CorSec Agent (Corellian Security Force). I don't know for sure but I think this is the first appearance of Corran Horn. He has a rich history and is a strong character. Michael A. Stackpole rocks the scribble.

I've begun to look at the Expanded Universe turned Legends versus the Disney Star Wars Cannon as something like ancient Greek versus Roman mythology. Or any folklore that changes over time. It's very common to reboot franchises for marketing and financial gains, tarnishing the original art. The artist can still fly beneath the corporate radar and create something magnificent like the illuminated escaping the demiurge.  Liken it to a person escaping a prison or an illusion.

Back to the novel. The New Republic makes the decision to bring back Rogue Squadron not just as their most elite starfighter pilots but as a symbol of hope, heroes of the rebellion and New Republic. Wedge Antilles is the only original member and passes up promotions to stay commander of Rogue Squadron. The continuity is fun and accurate at the time of publication, talk of the battles of Yavin, Hoth, Endor, and Bakura and other Easter eggs are like prizes for fans to pick out.

The novel is fast paced, action packed and the author makes the X-wings feel like real technology, like real fighter pilots and dogfights. It's the first in a series rather than a trilogy or stand alone novel and ends leaving the reader wanting more.

Some highlights: Corran meets his future wife, the smuggler Mirax Terrik. She is the daughter of Booster Terrik, a smuggler who was sent to the prison mines of Kessel for five years by Corran's father. There is a romantic triangle beginning to blossom between Corran, Mirax, and Erisi. Another shocker is that Corran's father was killed by the Trandoshan bounty hunter Bossk. And of course there is the medallion Corran wears and often rubs for luck, a JedCred, or Jedi Credit given to Jedi once they attain the level of Master. There are strong hints of a connection between a Corellian Jedi and Corran's family.

Overall it's a great read, highly recommended to Star Wars fans and I've already started reading the next book in the series.

Nathan Neuharth

Author, Editor, Publisher
Owner of Night Horse Publishing House 


COMMANDER WEDGE ABTILLES (human male from Corellia)
CAPTAIN TYCHO CELCHU (human male from Alderaan)
LIEUTENANT CORRAN HORN (human male from Corellia)
OORYL QRYGG (Gand male from Gand)
NAWARA VEN (Twi'lek male from Ryloth)
RHYSATI YNR (human female from Bespin)
BROR JACE (human male from Thyferra)
ERISI DLARIT (human female from Thyferra)
PESHK VRI'SYK (Bothan male from Bothawui)
GAVIN DARKLIGHTER (human male from Tatooine)
RIV SHIEL (Shistavanen male from Uvena III)
LUJAYNE FORGE (human female from Kessel)
ANDOORNI HUI (Rodian from Rodia)

ZRAII (Verpine male from Roche G42)
M-3PO (Emtrey; protocol and regulations droid)
WHISTLER (Corran's R2-D2 astromech)
MYNOCK (Wedge's R5-D2 astromeh)

ADMIRAL ACKBAR (Mon Calamari male from Mon Calamari)
GENERAL HORTON SALM (human male from Norvall II)
GENERAL LARYN KRE'FEY (Bothan male from Bothawui)
CAPTAIN AFYOM (human male from Alderaan)

CREW OF THE Pulsar Skate

MIRAX TERRIK (human female from Corellia)
LIAT TSAYV (Sullustan male from Sullust)


KIRTAN LOOR, INTELLIGENCE AGENT (human male from Churba)

GENERAL EVIR DERRICOTE (human male from Kalla)

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Lovecraft Code Book Review

The Lovecraft Code
by Peter Levenda
Book Review by Nathan Neuharth

I was excited to receive this novel in the mail, being a fan of many of Peter Levenda's previous works. This is the author's first work of fiction that I am aware of. Previous titles of his that I've read include the Sinister Forces Trilogy: A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft, The Dark Lord: H. P. Lovecraft, Kenneth Grant, and the Typhonian Tradition in Magic, The Secret Temple: Masons, Mysteries and the Founding of America, and the Hitler Legacy: The Nazi Cult in Diaspora, How it was Organized, How it was Funded, and Why it remains a Threat to Global Security in the Age of Terrorism. Every title is a shocking page turning.  Sitting in my library on a stack of books to be read soon is Levenda's Stairway to Heaven: Chinese Alchemists, Jewish Kabbalists, and the Art of Spiritual Transformation. I recommend everything of his I've read so far.

Here is a brief bio of the author from Wikipedia:
Peter Levenda is an American author who focuses primarily on occult history. He is best known for his book Unholy Alliance, which is about Esoteric Hitlerism and Nazi occultism. Occultist Alan Cabal wrote in 2003 that Levenda was the writer with the pseudonym of "Simon", the author of the Simon Necronomicon, a grimoire that derives its title from H.P. Lovecraft's fictional Necronomicon, featured in Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos stories. The U.S. Copyright Office registration for Simon's Gates of the Necronomicon lists the author as Peter Levenda, whose pseudonym is Simon. In 2013, Levenda told journalist Joseph Flatley of The Verge that he was not "Simon".

With the Lovecraft Code Levenda does a remarkable job of making a Cthulhu Mythos story that is not an imitation of H. P. Lovecraft but something new. The first few pages of the story draw the reader in with shocking brutality. The story is a web of deceit mixing everything cult, occult, military intelligence and conspiracy theory. It is more a very detailed spy novel and historic fiction than gothic horror, but the horror is there and builds up ever so slowly. The author is clearly intelligent and a scholar of Cthulhu Mythos. The characterization of H. P. Lovecraft is more sadly accurate than anything else I've come across. In my experience fans often prefer to shy away from Lovecraft's character defects. Levenda does not pull any punches.

I'm fairly certain Detective Wasserman is an Easter egg nod to American author and occultist James Wasserman. I enjoyed the novel and look forward to the follow up titled Dunwich. Thank you for another good read, Mr. Levenda.
Nathan Neuharth

Author, Editor, Publisher
Owner of Night Horse Publishing House

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Secret Rituals of the Men in Black Review

Secret Rituals of the Men in Black
By Allen H. Greenfield
Reviewed by Nathan Neuharth

An apt introduction by Jonathon Sellers. I’ve corresponded with both him and the author as their works have intrigued me in the past. In fact there are interviews with both in this blog.

The author makes extensive, relevant references to source material. The work is a look at or study of initiation, rituals and contact. It stresses the importance of the subjectivity of initiation and the open mindedness to change and evolve within social and cultural context. Secret rituals revealed are frameworks for individualized initiation and communication rituals. The revealed rituals alone mean nothing without the knowledge of the symbolism and intuition.

The Men in Black are the mystery men of “the authentic tradition” or the entities of contact or the visitors of UFO/alien encounters. An example being Indrid Cold.

An end goal of initiation is to know all of yourself, the deepest, farthest, most hidden portions of self. Lifting the veil. Utter self-actualization, illumination. A ladder to the higher/inner self. This book is intended for initiates of esoterica and those who are not will struggle through it if they are respectful, scoff if they close minded know-it-alls.

This book is about secret codes, the Johannite Tradition or the mystery tradition spanning to the earliest memories of humanity. It is ciphers and ascended masters. Angels. Messengers. Ultraterrestrials. Kabballah. It lends credibility to the work of Saint Natas.

I suggest reading the Secret Cipher of the UFOnauts prior to this book for those seekers with an interest. It is for those able to read between the lines. The book has great value for those with a serious interested in the subject of esoterica. If you are a serious student of esoterica, this book and it's predecessor is a must read.
Nathan Neuharth

Author, Editor, Publisher
Owner of Night Horse Publishing House

Star Wars Slave Ship & Hard Merchandise Review

Star Wars: Slave Ship and Hard Merchandise
The Bounty Hunter Wars Book One and Two
1998 & 1999
by K. W. Jeter
Review by Nathan Neuharth

Slave Ship picks up precisely where the first novel left off. Fifty pages in and nothing happens other than very extensive characterization of Kuat of Kuat. I’ve decided to include both novels in one review because in my opinion the editor or editors should have condensed this trilogy to a single novel. The story is mostly telling and hardly any showing.

The internal dialogue goes on and on and on. It’s difficult to stay awake reading this drab, painful trilogy. I so wanted it to be good because everyone loves Boba Fett and the idea of the bounty hunter wars sounds rad and exciting. We learn that Boba Fett breaks up the Bounty Hunters Guild but we never learn how other than vague details.

Ninety pages in. Nothing has happened. I don’t want to go on, but I’ve committed myself to the Star Wars EU Challenge. The Ruins of Dantooine was better than this sad trilogy. On a positive note the cover art is splendid.

There comes a point where I must draw a line in the sand. No matter how much I love Star Wars I have to be honest… so far this is the worst of the Star Wars novels I’ve read. The lengthy internal dialogue is the same tone and persona for each character. 
It pains me to give negative review because I know how much time, effort, and work go into creating a novel, let alone a trilogy. I know how dear to the author the work is, like a child of the author. I only recommend this novel if you are an obsessive Star Wars fan with a vast amount of mental stamina and have trouble falling asleep at night. It is not worth the effort to read and you will have to force yourself to finish it.

Nathan Neuharth

Author, Editor, Publisher
Owner of Night Horse Publishing House

Friday, January 13, 2017

Star Wars Challenge Update

by Nathan Neuharth

The Star Wars challenge is a personal goal I have set for myself for a variety of reasons.  One is my love of the Star Wars mythology.  Two it is an act of rebellion against the Star Wars Expanded Universe becoming the Legends universe.  There is too much good work to discard from cannon.  I started with reading one of the new Star Wars novels, the first novel of the Aftermath trilogy.  I'm not saying it was a bad novel, not at all.  But I can't let go of Talon Karrde, Mara Jade, Corran Horn, Kyp Durron, Admiral Daala, and so many other interesting characters from the Expanded Universe

I have compiled a chronological list of the 150 Expanded Universe books that have been scrapped from cannon.   I have 2 that need to be added into the chronology.  Novels highlighted in red have been read.

Here is the list of everything in chronological order:

The Pre-Republic Era

25,793 Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void by Tim Lebbon
The Old Republic Era
5,000-2,975 Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories by John Jackson Miller        
3,954-3,950 The Old Republic: Revan by Drew Karpyshyn        
3,653 The Old Republic: Deceived by Paul S. Kemp       
3,645 Red Harvest by Joe Schreiber        
3,643 The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance by Sean Williams        
3,640 The Old Republic: Annihilation by Drew Karpyshyn       
1,032 Knight Errant by John Jackson Miller        
1,003-1,000 Darth Bane: Path of Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn        
1,000-990 Darth Bane: Rule of Two by Drew Karpyshyn        
980 Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil by Drew Karpyshyn 
The Prequel Era

67-32 Darth Plagueis by James Luceno       
33 Maul: Lockdown by Joe Schreiber       
32 Cloak of Deception by James Luceno       
32 Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter by Michael Reaves       
32 Episode I: The Phantom Menace movie novelization by Terry Brooks 
29 Rogue Planet by Greg Bear       
27 Outbound Flight by Timothy Zahn        
22 The Approaching Storm by Alan Dean Foster       
22 Episode II: Attack of the Clones movie novelization by R. A. Salvatore 
22 The Cestus Deception by Steven Barnes**        
22 Jedi Trial by David Sherman & Dan Cragg**        
22 Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie novelization by Karen Traviss 
22 The Clone Wars: Wild Space by Karen Miller*        
22 Republic Commando: Hard Contact by Karen Traviss        
22 Shatterpoint by Matthew Stover        
22 The Clone Wars: No Prisoners by Karen Traviss*        
21 Republic Commando: Triple Zero by Karen Traviss        
21 The Clone Wars Gambit: Stealth by Karen Miller*        
21 The Clone Wars Gambit: Siege by Karen Miller*        
21 Republic Commando: True Colors by Karen Traviss        
20 Medstar I: Battle Surgeons by Michael Reaves & Steve Perry        
20 Medstar II: Jedi Healer by Michael Reaves & Steve Perry        
19 Yoda: Dark Rendezvous by Sean Stewart 
19 Labyrinth of Evil by James Luceno        
19 Episode III: Revenge of the Sith movie novelization by Matthew Stover 
19 Order 66: A Republic Commando Novel by Karen Traviss        
19 Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno        
19 Imperial Commando: 501st by Karen Traviss        
19 Kenobi by John Jackson Miller       
19 Coruscant Nights I: Jedi Twilight by Michael Reaves        
18 Coruscant Nights II: Street of Shadows by Michael Reaves        
18 Coruscant Nights III: Patterns of Force by Michael Reaves        
17 The Last Jedi by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

The Classic Era

10 The Han Solo Trilogy: The Paradise Snare by A. C. Crispin
5-4 The Han Solo Trilogy: The Hutt Gambit by A. C. Crispin
3 Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu by L. Neil Smith        
3 Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon by L. Neil Smith       
2 Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka by L. Neil Smith       
2 Han Solo at Stars' End by Brian Daley       
2 Han Solo's Revenge by Brian Daley       
2 Han Solo and the Lost Legacy by Brian Daley       
2-0 The Han Solo Trilogy: Rebel Dawn by A. C. Crispin       
3-1 The Force Unleashed by Sean Williams       
1 The Force Unleashed II by Sean Williams        
1 Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber 
3-0 Death Star by Michael Reaves & Steve Perry 
0 Shadow Games by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff        
0 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope movie novelization by George Lucas (ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster; originally titled Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker)
0 Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina by various authors
0 Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn       
0.5 Allegiance by Timothy Zahn        
0.7 Choices of One by Timothy Zahn       
1 Honor Among Thieves by James S.A. Correy  
1.5 Galaxies: The Ruins of Dantooine by Voronica Whitney-Robinson w/ Haden Blackman
2 Splinter of the Mind's Eye by Alan Dean Foster       
2 Empire and Rebellion: Razor's Edge by Martha Wells  
3 Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back movie novelization by Donald F. Glut 
3 Tales of the Bounty Hunters by various authors       
3.5 Shadows of the Empire by Steve Perry       
4 Episode VI: Return of the Jedi movie novelization by James Kahn 
4 Tales from Jabba's Palace by various authors        
4 The Bounty Hunter Wars: The Mandalorian Armor by K. W. Jeter       
4 The Bounty Hunter Wars: Slave Ship by K. W. Jeter        
4 The Bounty Hunter Wars: Hard Merchandise by K. W. Jeter       
(various) Tales from the Empire by various authors

The New Republic Era

4 The Truce at Bakura by Kathy Tyers 
5 Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor by Matthew Stover
6.5 X-Wing: Rogue Squadron by Michael Stackpole        
7 X-Wing: Wedge's Gamble by Michael Stackpole        
7 X-Wing: The Krytos Trap by Michael Stackpole        
7.5 X-Wing: The Bacta War by Michael Stackpole        
7.5 X-Wing: Wraith Squadron by Aaron Allston        
7.5 X-Wing: Iron Fist by Aaron Allston        
7.5 X-Wing: Solo Command by Aaron Allston        
8 The Courtship of Princess Leia by Dave Wolverton        
8.5 Tatooine Ghost by Troy Denning        
9 Heir to the Empire, book 1 of the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn        
9 Dark Force Rising, book 2 of the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn        
9 The Last Command, book 3 of the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn
9.5 X-Wing: Isard's Revenge by Michael Stackpole       
11 The Jedi Academy Trilogy: Jedi Search by Kevin J. Anderson        
11 The Jedi Academy Trilogy: Dark Apprentice by Kevin J. Anderson        
11 The Jedi Academy Trilogy: Champions of the Force by Kevin J. Anderson       
11 I, Jedi by Michael Stackpole        
12 Children of the Jedi by  Barbara Hambly        
12.5 Darksaber by Kevin J. Anderson
13 X-Wing: Starfighters of Adumar by Aaron Allston       
13 Planet of Twilight by Barbara Hambly        
14 The Crystal Star by Vonda McIntyre
16 The Black Fleet Crisis: Before the Storm by Michael P. Kube-McDowell       
16 The Black Fleet Crisis: Shield of Lies by Michael P. Kube-McDowell       
16 The Black Fleet Crisis: Tyrant's Test by Michael P. Kube-McDowell       
17 The New Rebellion by Kristine Kathryn Rusch       
18 The Corellian Trilogy: Ambush at Corellia by Roger McBride Allen       
18 The Corellian Trilogy: Assault at Selonia by Roger McBride Allen        
18 The Corellian Trilogy: Showdown at Centerpoint by Roger McBride Allen       
19 The Hand of Thrawn: Specter of the Past by Timothy Zahn       
19 The Hand of Thrawn: Vision of the Future by Timothy Zahn        
19 Scourge by Jeff Grubb        
22 Survivor's Quest by Timothy Zahn        
(various) Tales From the New Republic by various authors

The New Jedi Order Era

25 Vector Prime by R. A. Salvatore        
25 Dark Tide I: Onslaught by Michael Stackpole       
25 Dark Tide II: Ruin by Michael Stackpole       
25 Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial by James Luceno       
25 Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse by James Luceno       
26 Balance Point by Kathy Tyers       
26 Edge of Victory I: Conquest by Greg Keyes       
26 Edge of Victory II: Rebirth by Greg Keyes       
27 Star by Star by Troy Denning       
27 Dark Journey by Elaine Cunningham       
27 Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream by Aaron Allston       
27 Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand by Aaron Allston       
27 Traitor by Matthew Stover
28 Destiny's Way by Walter Jon Williams 
28 Force Heretic I: Remnant by Sean Williams and Shane Dix        
28 Force Heretic II: Refugee by Sean Williams and Shane Dix         
28 Force Heretic III: Reunion by Sean Williams and Shane Dix        
28 The Final Prophecy by Greg Keyes        
29 The Unifying Force by James Luceno 

The Dark Nest Trilogy
35 The Joiner King by Troy Denning        
36 The Unseen Queen by Troy Denning        
36 The Swarm War by Troy Denning 

The Legacy Era

40 Betrayal by Aaron Allston        
40 Bloodlines by Karen Traviss        
40 Tempest by Troy Denning        
40 Exile by Aaron Allston        
40 Sacrifice by Karen Traviss        
40 Inferno by Troy Denning        
40 Fury by Aaron Allston        
41 Revelation by Karen Traviss        
41.5 Invincible by Troy Denning        
Stand-alone novels:
41.5 Crosscurrent by Paul S. Kemp        
41.5 Riptide by Paul S. Kemp        
43.5 Millennium Falcon by James Luceno        
The Fate of the Jedi series:
43.5 Outcast by Aaron Allston        
43.5 Omen by Christie Golden        
43.5 Abyss by Troy Denning       
43.5 Backlash by Aaron Allston        
44 Allies by Christie Golden        
44 Vortex by Troy Denning        
44 Conviction by Aaron Allston        
44 Ascension by Christie Golden        
44 Apocalypse by Troy Denning
Stand-alone novels
44 X-Wing: Mercy Kill by Aaron Allston       
45 Crucible by Troy Denning
Nathan Neuharth

Author, Editor, Publisher
Owner of Night Horse Publishing House

The Mandalorian Armor Book Review

Star Wars: The Mandalorian Armor
The Bounty Hunter Wars Book One
by K. W. Jeter
Book Review by Nathan Neuharth


The novel begins with the bounty hunter Dengar scavenging the battlefield of Jabba the Hutt's last stand on the Dune Sea of Tatooine. He is engaged to a woman named Manaroo and looking for one last big score to retire with her. He comes across not only the barely living infamous bounty hunter Boba Fett and a memory-wiped dancing slave of Jabba's known as Neelah. Boba Fett blew the Sarlac up and climbed out, nearly dead from it's digestive acids.

I intended on reading something else but after finishing Shadows of the Empire I walked straight to my library and picked this out. Obsession? Astrally exploring this galaxy of thought? Escapism? Something archetypal touching the unconscious? The Star Wars galaxy is ripe for untold tales.

Kuat of Kuat. Head of the Kuat Drive Yards. Starship and weapons manufacturing. The Empire is a major customer. He has a pet Felinx. A half-cat, half-lynx creature? We don't learn much about him other than he embeds spyware in his merchandise, is tangled up with the Black Sun, and wants Boba Fett dead.

This novel in one word is intrigue. In fact, it's too intelligent for a Star Wars novel. The author's intelligence shines through the writing. He has a wonderful and colorful vocabulary. Another thing I noticed, of all the Star Wars novel trilogies I've read thus far, this is the only one that does not stand alone. To have a complete story the next two books must be read. The author does tell the tale with two timelines. One takes place shortly after the events of the film A New Hope and the present tense takes place just after the events of the film Return of the Jedi.

Kud'ar Mub'at is another unique hive brain, arachnid, space-faring type alien. He created independent nodes. Grows them. The space station he lives on is truly an extension of himself, webs, and junk. The alien must always be on guard just in case a node becomes too independent and revolts against him like he did, consuming his creator.

Cradossk is the father of the Trandoshan bounty hunter Bossk and leader of the Bounty Hunters Guild. The story is about Boba Fett being hired by Kud'ar Mub'at (secret an Emperor approved plot of Prince Xizor) to break up the guild. I'm glad I read Shadows of the Empire prior to this so I am familiar with who Prince Xizor is.

Zuckuss, the short Gand alien and Bossk are partners through the guild. Bossk (and it seems all Trandoshans) is always on the verge of breaking out into violence, always on the cusp of rage, a violent race, and cannibalism is an accepted part of their culture. Bossk ate all his brothers to be the alpha male and in the end murders and eats his own father as well. Another important part of the plot is that Bossk hates, loathes Boba Fett. And Boba Fett is the best.

The Boba Fett of this trilogy is not the Boba Fett we know after the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy came about. This Boba Fett was not a clone of Jango Fett. I suppose he could be, his past is enigmatic, but there is no mention of Jango Fett, the clones, or the events in the Clone Wars series (I'm currently on season six and it honestly rocks). However, this Boba Fett seems more menacing, more dangerous, and more of a loner than what has since come about. I prefer this version in which the Mandalorians are an ancient extinct race of mighty warriors the galaxy will never forget.

Ob Fortuna is the major domo of Cradossk which is a nice nod to Return of the Jedi as Bib Fortuna was major domo of Jabba the Hutt in the film. Ob is a distant relation of the same Twi'lek clan. Speaking of Hutts, the author throws in a creative twist: the Shell Hutts. They are a small Hutt clan that live inside metal armor shells, like giant armored slugs. Imagine Iron Man and a Hutt amalgam. We meet the fallen from grace Gheeta the Hutt and the elder Nullada the Hutt on planet Circumtore.

The last interesting character is a bounty hunter called in by Boba Fett named D'harhan. D'harhan has become a weapon. His head has been removed and replaced by a targeting system and laser cannon, among other features he types into a keyboard that synthesizes words for him. He is part of a team Boba Fett puts together with Bossk, Zuckuss, and IG-88. Everyone but Boba Fett is a bit cautious around D'harhan. I feel sorry for him.

There are no heroes in this novel. Every character is an unscrupulous scoundrel and criminal. Even the characters I found most likable: timid Zuckuss and white trash-like Dengar.

I will of course be reading the rest of the trilogy in due time. Now I must show some self restraint and read a few more non-Star Wars books.

Nathan Neuharth

Author, Editor, Publisher
Owner of Night Horse Publishing House