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Exile: Star Wars Legacy of the Force    by Aaron Allston order for
by Aaron Allston
Order:  USA  Can
Del Rey, 2007 (2007)
Paperback, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Unseen forces continue to plague the Galactic Alliance, Corellian Defense Force, and the Jedi order as Jacen Solo builds power toward Peace, but not without a price. 'Someone insidious' and manipulative is lurking and destruction is imminent, while conjecture rises that 'somebody is pulling strings ... within a puppet leadership'. Jacen contemplates that 'he is capable of sacrificing a lesser responsibility for a greater one, a lesser good for a greater one, a lesser love for a greater one. Lumiya, his Sith teacher, would be pleased ... if she is still alive.'

In the Galactic Alliance Senate Building a private meeting is held - Grand Master Jedi Luke, and Master Mara, Chief Omas, Admiral Niathal, and Kyp Durron. Chief Omas requests the elevation of Jacen Solo to the rank of Jedi Master. Luke brings the discussion to an end, saying 'I'll continue to evaluate Jacen's progress as a Jedi, and the instant that I find him to be ready for the rank of Master, you'll be the first one I inform.' On Coronet, Admiral Wedge Antilles is removed from Supreme Command of Corellia's armed forces. In the Gyndine System, the frail-looking Millennium Falcon arrives for repair, and Han and Leia are greeted by Lando Calrissian, who admits missing 'risk in his life'. Disguised, he transports Han and Leia into Corellia.

A visitor comes to Luke and Mara from the past. Jag Fel delivers warnings to Luke, and two items, 'one the shape and size of a large credcoin ... the other a common data card'. Circumstances lead to 'a gathering of old friends' including the Solos and Calrissian, the Skywalkers, the Antilles, the Horn's, Jag Fel, and Zekk. Old-time smuggler Booster Terrik's luxurious Errant Venture yacht is launched to enter the exclusion area. The objective: 'the Errant Venture would be an incredible resource for gathering information. Park it in the Corellian system, where there are thousands of restless military personnel, provide gambling and entertainment ... people would get drunk, talk more freely'.

On a Star System near Bimmiel, Lumiya meditates to lessen her suffering from blaster shots of the past. The Dark Lady meticulously applies pseudo-skin makeup instead of the usual scarf that hides her scarred facial features, giving herself the appearance of a Hapes woman. Lumiya uses Sith techniques, 'her inner eye, sparks of red, yellow glow ... like a spectral parasite', to enter the mind of a sleeping Quarren female to access medical records. Her aim is one case in particular at the Coruscant Veteran's Mental Care Hospital.

At the Coruscant Jedi Temple, Ben Skywalker receives a message from Jacen, requesting that he flee the temple in secrecy. His assignment is to steal the Amulet of Kalara on the planet of Almania. Ben's instructions are to bring the gem to Jacen, who will cover any questions about his whereabouts. After all, Jacen muses, 'Causing people to think and feel what he wanted them to, even without resorting to the Force, was becoming easier ... even with difficult subjects like the almighty Luke Skywalker.' Gaining entry into the casing of the Amulet, Ben finds only a hand-lettered piece of flimsi, signed Faskus of Ziost. Ben 'recognized the name of that planet and it gave him a little shiver'. He proceeds with plans to travel to Ziost, homeworld of the Sith.

Aaron Allston's fourth installment (of nine) in the Legacy of the Force series is superb from the moment of Jacen's dreaming of his mother to Ben's attempts to reach Ziost. Allston assigns strong roles to his characters, blending in exceptional action scenes without a fault. In Exile some issues are settled and some changed, with escalating tensions clearly ahead in Karen Traviss's Sacrifice (number five).

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