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Betrayal: Star Wars Legacy of the Force    by Aaron Allston order for
by Aaron Allston
Order:  USA  Can
Del Rey, 2006 (2006)

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

As with any beginning of a new series, the challenge of an author is to create mind-catching elements and events. In an ongoing series such as Star Wars, varied authors over many years have written a multitude of stories. Pivot author Aaron Allston was assigned a dual responsibility in the first of a nine-book series of the Legacy of the Force: Betrayal. Allston not only needed to address his writing to long-time followers, but also to grasp the attention of new readers in the Star Wars galaxy. The blending-in of part of the old background to new events going forward is a challenge that Allston meets exceptionally well.

On Coruscant, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker awakens from a deep dream, saying, 'He doesn't exist!' It is not the first nor the last time that Luke will sense this presence. On Adumar, Jedi Knights Jacen Solo and Ben Skywalker fake a routine scheduled visit to ensure that assembly-line personnel are being given 'fine working conditions'. Acting aggressively in a performance for their guide and other representatives of the Dammant Killers company, Jacen and Ben uncover the secret and illegal production of highly-explosive poisonous concussion missiles. Adumar troopers open fire, and the two Jedi narrowly escape.

During a family get-together in Han and Leia's new living quarters on Coruscant, Luke ushers Jacen to the outside walkway to discuss rumors of Corellia's political unrest. Corellia plans to reactivate its crucial Centerpoint Station. With a return to active status, the Station's central apparatus 'could focus gravity and move planets or even affect the orbits of stars'. Jacen chooses Ben to accompany him on the Centerpoint mission, during which Jacen collides with his cousin, Corellian Chief of State Thrackan Sal-Solo, an ambitious conspirator (who would love to go to war to 'give him a better chance to assume control of the entire Corellian system'). As Jacen battles Sal-Solo, Ben is left on his own to destroy the Centerpoint apparatus - he encounters an enormous droid system which asks who he is. After he identifies himself as Ben Solo, the droid answers, 'I'm so happy to meet you. I'm Anakin Solo.'

Consecutive, converging missions are assigned including Jedi Knight Jaina Solo and crew, who are to kidnap Aidel Saxan. Master Luke is in the 'eye of the storm' as he meets with the X-Wing squadron. Ensign Lysa Dunter (real name Syal Antilles) heads a team. In Corellian space, Space Vessel Dodonna, headed by elderly Admiral Matric Klauskin, waits to rendezvous with GA's second fleet. Under heavy security in the Kuat star system on the Toryaz Station, Corellian and Galactic Alliance diplomats meet. After hours of negotiation, the representatives retire to their assigned suites in the center hub. Late in the night, a unit of twenty killers attacks.

The afore-recorded saga has only begun as Allston inserts a search to decipher the braided recording tassels found by Jacen when the Toryaz Station was attacked. 'STAR SYSTEM MZX32905, NEAR BIMMIEL' becomes the center of attention, with menacing forces at work, and inference of a Sith connection, as a dark force propels Jacen and Ben into danger that looms over the entire Skywalker-Solo family.

Aaron Allston - the New York Times bestselling author of several novels in both the Star Wars: X-Wing and the Star Wars: New Jedi Order series - is one of the most deft and reputable among the Star Wars writers. His Legacy of The Force: Betrayal is first in a new Star Wars 9-book series. It has a fast-moving plot and continuous action, enhanced by a strong line of characters (old and new), and humor. In the series rotation are alternating authors Aaron Allston, Karen Traviss (Bloodlines), and Troy Denning (Tempest). The complete series is projected into 2007 and 2008. Quite a feat for three skilled authors. May The Force Be With Them as the saga continues.

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