Legacy Of The Force: Exile

exile

Author: Aaron Allston
Cover Artist: Jason Felix
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: February 27, 2007
Pages: 337
Era: Legacy Of The Force – 40 AB, 3 days after Tempest

Click for the Review

summary

by MrNamAnorJacen begins having dreams which pit him against his mother in ferocious battles to the death. Arranging for smuggler Uran Lavint to lead a fleet of her fellows into a trap when they try to run the blockade over Corellia, Jacen confiscates Lavint’s ship and sends her off in a sabotaged replacement. Unbeknownst to him, Alema has managed to stow away in the ship. Jacen then meets with Wedge in order to discuss possibilities relating to a ceasefire, but both leave the meeting in failure.

Wedge has begun to grow disgusted with the way the Corellian politicians are running the war, including the attempted assassination of Tenel Ka. In order to do something about this, he tries to explain his point of view to the Corellian leadership. For his efforts, he is forcibly retired, while a younger (and more compliant) Admiral Delphin takes his place. Wedge knows that his retirement equals execution, so seeks to evade the assassins Gejjen summarily puts on his trail.

Chief Omas and Admiral Niathal continue to pressure Luke to grant Jacen the rank of Jedi Master, but the politicians are rebuffed by a unified Jedi Council. Meanwhile, a distraught Han and Leia arrive at one of Lando’s repair stations. Lando, in an attempt to stave off boredom, proposes to mend the Falcon free of charge, but only if he can accompany the Solos back to the war. In an effort to avoid detection, they will take Lando’s pleasure yacht, the somewhat ridiculously named Love Commander.

On board the Anakin Solo, Jacen and Lumiya agree that Jacen must soon test Ben to determine whether or not he will be fit to be Jacen’s apprentice when his own upcoming Sith title is assured. Lumiya also states that Jacen has to figure out whether Ben will be his impending sacrifice. No matter what happens, it is clear that Ben will be crucial to Jacen’s passage to becoming a Sith Lord.

The exiled Jagged Fel arrives at the Jedi Temple to inform the Skywalkers of several techniques and pieces of technology he has developed to follow and contain Alema. Much to the initial annoyance of all involved, Luke teams Jag with Jaina and Zekk in a special operations team to find and neutralize Alema.

Alema herself finally reveals herself to Lavint, divulging Jacen’s sabotage and ensuring a tentative alliance with the smuggler.

On Corellia, Wedge is only just able to avoid a pair of assassins with the timely assistance of his younger daughter, Myri, and old friend Corran Horn. As the group rushes to safety aboard the Pulsar Skate with both Iella and Mirax, they run right into the arriving Han, Leia and Lando.

The Solos and Lando meet with politician Denjax Teppler, who confirms their theories about Gejjen and his advisors being behind the attempt on Tenel. The trio are forced to beat a hasty retreat, but the commotion allows them to escape with Wedge’s group. Everyone makes their way to Booster Terrik’s Errant Venture, who is convinced to take his mobile casino/shopping complex to the Alliance forces blockading Corellia. With the soldiers able to relax and unwind, the group figures it the best place to gather intelligence, formulate plans and stay close to the action. Soon enough, the vessel receives another pair of visitors in the form of Alema and Lavint.

In the security of her asteroid lair, Lumiya provides secret Galactic Alliance intelligence to the Bothans while in Hapan disguise; hoping to give them the foresight to strike at the Alliance before it is aware of their actions. She provides similar information to Commenor’s Fyor Rodan, which would be the Alliance’s next target after Corellia (as a result of its support to Corellia during the crisis). Continuing to prepare various factions for a decisive battle, Lumiya takes over the mind of former Admiral Klauskin, who is currently in a psychiatric ward. Using him as her proxy, she can get Klauskin to lead Commenor’s forces into battle.

Ben’s upcoming test is delivered to him through Lumiya (posing as Jacen), who delivers the instructions via a Padawan in the Temple. After “breaking out” of the Temple through the emergency evacuation shaft, Ben covertly travels to Almania, to take a Force artifact from the offices of that planet’s Tendrando Arms branch. Known as the Amulet of Kalara, the trinket is in reality worthless, but provides a suitable incentive for Ben under the pretext that it can render its wearer invisible in the Force.

On Almania, Ben finds that he has to steal for money and food; a prospect that he finds distasteful and wrong. Once he manages a high-risk entry into the office building, he finds that the amulet has already been taken by a “Faskus of Ziost.” Ben then departs for the Sith stronghold, only to be covertly tracked by Lumiya’s agents all the way.

Unaware of their son’s plight, Luke and Mara try backtracking Lumiya’s movements through a datapad found at her apartment. Through falsified evidence, they come to believe that “Brisha Syo” is Lumiya’s daughter; and that Jacen killed her on the asteroid. They also come to believe that Jacen has been a pawn in Lumiya’s games.

At the Alliance post monitoring Bothawui, Klauskin stages a “simulation” that in reality kills the Alliance personnel and lets the Bothan fleet launch undetected. Jacen goes to meet with the Skywalkers regarding the events that occurred when he first met Lumiya. After some half-truths and obfuscation from Jacen, the meeting is cut short (with the Skywalkers not any wiser as to what really happened) when it is found that joint Bothan and Commenorian fleets have begun an assault on the Alliance’s blockade of Corellia and Centerpoint. Despite heavy resistance on the Alliance’s side, the blockade is broken. In departing, Niathal’s forces manage to inflict severe damage on Centerpoint.

This incident leads to a state of war between the Galactic Alliance and the self-styled “Confederation,” which initially consists of Corellia, Bothawui, Commenor and others, including Adumar and elements of the Corporate Sector.

In the days following its inception, the Confederation sets up a conference in which they will pick a Supreme Commander for their military forces. Jacen “hires” Lavint to infiltrate the meeting in order to gather intelligence on who the Confederation chooses. The smuggler agrees, but only on the proviso that she can contact Han and Leia. Lavint does warn the Solos of Alema’s presence on the Venture, and requests that they inform her of where the Confederation’s meeting will be held so that Jacen can be told.

The Solos and their companions unite with Jaina’s strike team and the Skywalkers and almost manage to trap Alema, but the deranged Twi’lek escapes on Lavint’s ship. The Solos do inform Lavint of the election’s location for her help: an old resort station near Gilatter VIII.

As galactic events continue to transpire, Ben continues his trek across the abandoned, but still deadly, world of Ziost. He realizes (with a message sent from Luke and Mara) that he has actually spent his fourteenth birthday on the planet, a fact that is as subduing as it is sad. Ben (with some help from Sith apparitions) locates Faskus, who was shot down with his young daughter, Kiara. Easily restraining the injured Faskus, Ben finds that he was hired to take the amulet to Ziost. Given to him by the same agents Ben now knows are tracking him, Faskus is even more of a pawn than he is. Ben departs to find the amulet, leaving the others to die. Yet Ben finds he cannot do this, and so returns to find Faskus dead and Kiara in dire need of help.

Assaulted by dreams, visions and voices of the ancient Sith, Ben takes Kiara and his “borrowed” astromech to a set of ruins. Drawn there by some of the voices, Ben and his companions find a living Sith vessel that the young Jedi is soon able to commune with and strike up a tenuous rapport with. Fleeing Ziost, he is soon able to convince the ship to inflict damage (and perhaps destruction) on the pursuing vessel belonging to Lumiya’s agents.

The Galactic Alliance manages to sneak a fleet to the site of the Confederation’s election. Jacen – and later Lumiya – attend undercover, but Jacen’s disguise is blown by the new Supreme Commander, Turr Phennir of the old Empire, and is also nearly apprehended. Both Luke and Mara and Han and Leia come to Jacen’s aid, but are stopped by Lumiya and Alema. In the chaos of the Confederation’s evacuation, Alema picks a fight with the Solos, while Luke and Lumiya tangle again.

Jacen flees without a backward glance, and Lumiya further confuses Luke by seeming to offer a hand of peace, if not outright friendship. As Ben returns Kiara and his astromech to their home, the Skywalkers and Solos try to understand what exactly – if anything – is going on between Jacen and Lumiya. Both Lumiya and Alema managed to escape the station as well, and Lumiya winds up sneaking back to the Anakin Solo.

The ensuing battle between the Alliance and Confederation was considered by both sides to be a draw. Lumiya informs Jacen that he is almost ready to become a Sith Lord – if only he could make his sacrifice. She informs him that once he becomes a master of the Sith, he will be able to undertake Battle Meditation, a feat once mastered by Palpatine (and others). With techniques such as that, he would be an unstoppable force in battle, and Alliance victory and unity is assured. Before she departs, Lumiya reveals something that Jacen himself may have not realized: he is afraid of emotion. It is a flaw that Lumiya believes could be exploited by his enemies. Leaving him in solitude, Jacen then steels himself to commit to his sacrifice soon, even if the sacrifice turns out to be Ben… or his parents.

review

The fourth novel in the Legacy of the Force series, Exile, written by Aaron
Allston (Legacy of the Force: Betrayal, books in the X-Wing series),
continues the adventures of Jacen Solo and his journey to learn the ways of
the Sith. Aaron Allston does a great job in continuing this story, but more
for the other characters in the series than Jacen, with a perfect balance of
action, suspense, and humor.

The story starts shortly after Tempest where everything is on edge and the
slightest nudge will erupt the galaxy into another civil war. As Jacen works
to bring peace to the galaxy, the other heroes strive to find a more peaceful
solution and seek out the main root of all the trouble. Ben Skywalker,
however, still seeks to work with Jacen and is then tested to see if he could
in fact become Jacen’s future Sith apprentice.

Allston has the reading run smoothly and everyone gets a little screen time.
Similar to Betrayal, Allston tells the stories like they’re episodes making
it easy to place a bookmark. The characters all seem like themselves and act
just like you would expect them to act, but probably with a bit more humor in
them which comes from Allston. The most obvious character fun of humor in
this story and does have it wear off onto others was Lando Calrissian who
does make his appearance for the first time in the series in this book.

But how can Lando make an appearance with Luke, Mara, Leia, Han, Jacen, Ben,
Wedge, and all the other characters in the Star Wars galaxy? It doesn’t seem
all that hard for Allston. A great list of characters are included in the
pages, all contributing somewhat even if all they do is stand there and say
one or two lines. One scene involving Alema Rar and several others is very
well done because of how Alema responds to the situation she gets herself
into. If a major list of characters exists, count on Allston to be able to
get them all in somehow.

Several action scenes take place, but not all the way you would expect
Allston to deliver them. When I hear the name Allston in Star Wars, I
expect some kind of space battle. Space battles do happen, but with all that
goes on with the major characters, two major fights are written like
summaries. This is disappointing, but since the story involves the Solo and
Skywalker families primarily, and they aren’t really in those fights, it
makes sense to try and just get back to the Solos and Skywalkers as quickly
as possible.

And besides space fights when hearing the name Allston, expect humor to be an
accompaniment. Lando, as I mentioned earlier, is really the source of it,
but even Wedge Antilles will sneak in a humorous scene through his words and,
better yet, his and others’ reactions. Even Luke and Mara have some humorous
moments when discussing their son and trying to unravel the mystery of
Lumiya’s role in all of this.

Finally, for the title of the book, Legacy of the Force: Exile, it works
perfectly, as the titles for all the books in this series have. Many
individuals become exiles, the cover hinting at a couple just like Betrayal
hinted at a betrayer and Bloodlines hinted at a blood connection. And the
legacy of the Force is coming about when Ben Skywalker discovers something
that hasn’t been seen in the galaxy pertaining to a certain Force wielding
group for many, many, many years. With all these connections from the
titles, just think about the upcoming books….

Review Score: 4.5
4.5/5.0 Kath Hounds

by Lawrence D.

All staff members can be contacted at staff@eucantina.net