Star Wars Death Star

Star Wars Death Star

4.1 45
by Michael Reaves, Steve Perry

View All Available Formats & Editions

–Obi-Wan Kenobi

The Death Star’s name says it all, with bone-chilling accuracy. It is a virtual world unto itself–equipped with uncanny power for a singularly brutal purpose: to obliterate entire planets in the blink of an eye. Its annihilation of the planet Alderaan, at the merciless command of Grand

…  See more details below


–Obi-Wan Kenobi

The Death Star’s name says it all, with bone-chilling accuracy. It is a virtual world unto itself–equipped with uncanny power for a singularly brutal purpose: to obliterate entire planets in the blink of an eye. Its annihilation of the planet Alderaan, at the merciless command of Grand Moff Tarkin, lives in infamy. And its own ultimate destruction, at the hands of Luke Skywalker, is the stuff of legend. But what is the whole story, and who are the players, behind the creation of this world-killing satellite of doom?

The near extermination of the Jedi order cleared the way for Palpatine–power-hungry Senator and Sith Lord–to seize control of the Republic, declare himself Emperor, and usher in a fearsome, totalitarian regime. But even with the dreaded Darth Vader enforcing Palpatine’s sinister will, the threat of rebellion still looms. And the Emperor knows that only abject fear–and the ability to punish dissent with devastating consequences–can ensure his unchallenged control of the galaxy. Enter ambitious and ruthless government official Wilhuff Tarkin, architect of the Emperor’s terrifying dream come true.

From inception to completion, construction of the unprecedented Death Star is awash in the intrigues, hidden agendas, unexpected revelations, and daring gambits of those involved on every level. The brightest minds and boldest egos, the most ambitious and corrupt, the desperate and the devious, all have a stake in the Death Star–and its potential to control the fate of the galaxy.

Soldiers and slaves, loyalists and Rebels, spies and avengers, the innocent and the evil–all their paths and fates will cross and intertwine as the Death Star moves from its maiden voyage to its final showdown. And a shadowy chapter of Star Wars history is stunningly illuminated in a thrilling, unforgettable adventure.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Every story has two sides, and such is the case with the tale of the Death Star, the ultimate weapon in the Star Wars universe. Almost everyone knows the story from the Rebel's side told in George Lucas's original movie, A New Hope, but now the Empire's side is being told in this new book by the authors of previous Star Wars books, Reaves and Perry. Beginning with the Death Star's construction, the novel details the story of the commanders, generals, soldiers, pilots, prisoners, librarians, and civilians who were involved in some way with the weapon's history. Mostly new or little-known characters populate this exciting adventure but also familiar characters, in particular Darth Vader, are given new depth as the reader experiences the thoughts and feelings of those who are caught up in the Empire's domination. Ultimately the known story and this new one collide with an amazing precision and verifiable accuracy that will satisfy readers. Despite constantly changing viewpoints, the story is easy to follow. Just enough detail about weapons, fighting tactics, languages spoken, and alien species involved will be appreciated by diehard fans, but others will still not find it too much to take. Even though the conclusion is rushed, character motivations suddenly change, and details are tied up only as afterthoughts, this thrilling novel will find a broad readership that will make it an important purchase for most any library collection. Reviewer: Rachel Wadham
Library Journal

Fans of the Star Wars® cycle of movies, novels, and other media know the Death Star as the moon-sized killing machine destroyed by Luke Skywalker as the culmination of the Rebel Alliance's first sally against Lord Palpatine's evil Empire. Genre veterans and Star Wars® specialists Reaves (Star Wars®: Jedi Twilight Coruscant Nights I) and Perry (The Musashi Flex) pair their storytelling talents and their detailed knowledge to tell a familiar tale from the other side. With particular appeal to series fans, this novel belongs in libraries of all sizes.

—Jackie Cassada

Read More

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Star Wars Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.92(w) x 4.18(h) x 1.23(d)

Read an Excerpt


The alert siren screamed, a piercing wail that couldn't be ignored by any being on board with ears and a pulse. It had one thing to say, and it said it loud and clear:


Lieutenant Commander Villian "Vil" Dance came out of a deep sleep at the blaring alarm, sat up, and leapt from his rack to the expanded metal deck of the Ready Room quarters. Save for the helmet, he already wore his space suit, one of the first things an on-call TIE pilot learned to do was sleep in full battle gear. He ran for the door, half a step ahead of the next pilot to awaken. He grabbed his headgear, darted into the hall and turned to the right, then sprinted for the launching bay.

It could be a drill; there had been plenty of those lately to keep the pilots on their toes. But maybe this time it wasn't. One could always hope.

Vil ran into the assembly area. A-grav on the flight deck was kept at slightly below one g, so that the pilots, all of whom were human or humanoid, could move a little faster and get to their stations a little sooner. The smell of launch lube was acrid in the cold air, and the pulsing lights painted the area in bright, primary flashes. Techs scrambled, getting the TIE fighters to final-set for takeoff, while pilots ran toward the craft. Vil noticed that it was just his squad being scrambled. Must not be a big problem, whatever it was.

Command always said it didn't matter which unit you got. TIE fighters were all the same, down to the last nut and bolt, but even so, every pilot had his or her favorite ship. You weren't supposed to personalize them, of course, but there were ways to tell—a scratch here, a scuff mark there . . . after a while, you got to where you knew which fighter was which. And no matter what Command said, some were better than others—a little faster, a little tighter in the turns, the laser cannons a hair quicker to fire when you touched the stud. Vil happened to know that his assigned ship this rotation was Black-11, one of his favorites. Maybe it was pure superstition, but he breathed just a little easier, knowing that particular craft had his name on it this time around.

The command officer on deck, Captain Rax Exeter, waved Vil over.

"Cap, what's up? Another drill?"

"Negative, Lieutenant. A group of prisoners somehow managed to take over one of the new Lambda-class shuttles. They're trying to get far enough away to make the jump to hyperspace. That isn't going to happen on my watch. The ID codes and tracking will be in your fighter's computer. Don't let 'em get away, son."

"No, sir. What about the crew?" Vil knew the new shuttles carried only a pilot and copilot.

"Assumed dead. These are bad guys doing this, Dance—traitors and murderers. That's reason enough to cook them, but we do not want them getting away to tell anybody what the Empire is doing out here, do we?"

"No, sir!"

"Go, Lieutenant, go!"

Vil nodded, not bothering to salute, then turned and ran. As he did, he put his helmet on and locked it into place. The hiss of air into his face was metallic and cool as the suit's system went online. It felt very comforting. The vac suit's extreme-temp-resistant weave of durasteel and plastoid, along with the polarizing densecris helmet, were the only things that would protect him from hard vacuum. Suit failure could make a strong man lose consciousness in under ten seconds, and die in under a minute. He'd seen it happen.

TIE fighters, in order to save mass, had no defensive shield generators, no hyperdrive capability, and no emergency life-support systems. They were thus fragile, but fast, and that was fine with Vil. He'd rather dodge enemy fire than hope it would bounce off. There was no skill in piloting some lumbering chunk of durasteel; might as well be sitting with your feet up at a turbolaser console back on the ship. Where was the fun in that?

The TIE tech had the hatch up on Black-11 as Vil arrived at the gantry above the ship. It was the work of an instant to clamber down and into the fighter's snug cockpit.

The hatch came down and hissed shut. Vil touched the power-up stud, and the inside of the TIE—named for the twin ion engines that drove it—lit up. He scanned the controls with a quick and experienced eye. All systems were green.

The tech raised his hand in question. Vil waved back. "Go!"

"Copy that, ST-One-One. Prepare for insertion."

Vil felt his lips twitch in annoyance. The Empire was determined to erase all signs of individuality in its pilots, on the absurd theory that nameless, faceless operators were somehow more effective. Thus the classification numbers, the anonymous flight suits and helmets, and the random rotation of spacecraft. The standardizing approach had worked reasonably well in the Clone Wars, but there was one important difference here: neither Vil nor any other TIE pilot that he knew of was a clone. None of the members of Alpha Squad had any intention of being reduced to automata. If that was what the Empire really wanted, let them use droid pilots and see how well that worked.

His musing was interrupted by the small jolt of the cycling rack below the gantry kicking on. Vil's ship began to move toward the launching bay door. He saw the tech slip his own helmet on and lock it down.

Already the bay pumps were working full blast, depressurizing the area. By the time the launch doors were open, the air would be cycled. Vil took a deep breath, readying himself for the heavy hand of g-force that would push him back into the seat when the engines hurled him forward.

Launch Control's voice crackled in his headphones. "Alpha Squad Leader, stand by for launch."

"Copy," Vil said. The launch doors pulled back with tantalizing slowness, the hydraulic thrum of their movement made audible by conduction through the floor and Black-11's frame.

"You are go for launch in five, four, three, two . . . go!"

Outside the confines of the Star Destroyer, the vastness of space enveloped Lieutenant Vil Dance as the ion engines pushed the TIE past the last stray wisps of frozen air and into the infinite dark. He grinned. He always did. He couldn't help it.

Back where I belong . . .

The flat blackness of space surrounded him. Behind him, he knew, the Steel Talon was seemingly shrinking as they pulled away from it. "Down" and to port was the curvature of the prison planet. Though they were in polar orbit, Despayre's axial tilt showed more of the night side than day. The dark hemisphere was mostly unrelieved blackness, with a few lonely lights here and there.

Vil flicked his comm—though it came on automatically at launch, a good pilot always toggled it, just to be sure. "Alpha Squad, pyramid formation on me as soon as you are clear," he said. "Go to tactical channel five, that's tac-fiver, and log in."

Vil switched his own comm channel to five. It was a lower-powered band with a shorter range, but that was the point—you didn't want the enemy overhearing you. And in some cases, it wasn't a good idea for the comm officer monitoring you back on the base ship to be privy to conversations, either. They tended to be a bit more informal than the Empire liked.

There came a chorus of "Copy, Alpha Leader!" from the other eleven pilots in his squad as they switched over to the new channel.

It took only a few seconds for the last fighter to launch, and only a few more for the squad to form behind Vil.

"What's the drill, Vil?" That from Benjo, aka ST-1-2, his second in command and right panelman.

"Alpha Squadron, we have a Lambda-class shuttle captured by prisoners. They are running for hyper. Either they give up and come back, or we dust 'em."

"Lambda-class? That's one of the new ones, right? They have any guns?"

Vil sighed. That was Raar Anyell, a Corellian like Vil himself, but not somebody you'd want to hold up as a prime example of the human species. "Don't you bother to read the boards at all, Anyell?"

"I was just about to do that, sir, when the alarm went off. Was looking right at 'em. Had the latest notices right in my hand. Sir."

The other pilots laughed, and even Vil had to grin. Anyell was a foul-up everywhere except in the cockpit, but he was a good enough pilot that Vil was willing to give him some slice.

His sensor screen pinged, giving him an image of their quarry. He altered course to intercept.

"Anybody else behind on his homework, listen up," he said. "The Lambda-class shuttle is twenty meters long, has a top speed of fourteen hundred g, a Class-One hyperdrive, and can carry twenty troops in full battle gear—probably a couple more convicts in civvies.

"The ship carries three double-blaster cannons and two double-laser cannons. It can't accelerate worth a wheep and it turns slower than a comet, but if you get in its sights, it can blow you to itty-bitty pieces. It would be embarrassing to have to inform your family you got shot apart by a shuttle, so stay alert."

There came another chorus of acknowledgments:

"Copy, sir."

"Yes, sir!"

"No sweat."

"Anyell, I didn't hear your response."

"Oh, sorry, sir, I was taking a little nap. What was the question?"

Before the squad commander could reply, the shuttle suddenly loomed ahead. It was running as silently as possible, with no lights, but as its orbit brought it across the terminator and out of Despayre's night side, the sunlight struck rays from its hull.

"There is our target, four kilometers dead ahead. I want a fast flyby so they can see us, and then I want a fountain pattern dispersal and loop, two klicks minimum distance and bracket, one, four, four, and two, you know who you are. I'll move in close and have a word with whoever they have flying the stolen spacecraft."

Benjo: "Aw, Lieutenant, come on, let us have a shot, too."

"Negative. If you had a clue about the vessel, I might, but since you're just as likely to shoot each other as the quarry, you'll hold the bracket."

More acknowledgments, but without much enthusiasm. He couldn't blame his squad—they hadn't had any action except drills since they'd been assigned to this project—but his secondary goal was to bring all his men back alive. The primary, of course, was to accomplish their mission. He didn't need a squad for this; any fighter pilot worth his spit should be able to deal with a lumbering shuttle, even one with the new-vehicle smell still in it. The Lambda's delta vee wasn't all that efficient, but with constant drive it could get above the solar plane and far enough out of the planet's gravity well to engage its hyperdrive fairly soon—and once it was in the chute, they'd never find it.

But that wasn't going to happen.

The pyramid-shaped formation zipped past the fleeing shuttle, close enough for Vil to see the pilot sitting in the command seat. He didn't look surprised, of course—he would have seen them coming on the sensors. But he couldn't outrun them, couldn't dodge, and no way could he take out a full squad of TIE fighters even if he was the best gunner who'd ever lived, not in that boat. And anyway, Vil wasn't going to give him the opportunity to try.

The squad flowered into the dispersal maneuver as ordered, looping out and away to their assigned positions, angled pressor beams in their arrays providing maneuverability. Vil pulled a high-g tight turn and came around to parallel the shuttle a few hundred meters away, slightly above it. He watched the wing turrets closely. As soon as they started to track him, he jinked to port, then to starboard, slowed, then sped up. They tried to keep up with him, but they were a hair too slow.

Vil toggled to a wide-band channel. They'd hear this back in the Destroyer, he knew.

"Attention, shuttle RLH-One. Turn the craft around and proceed immediately to Star Destroyer Steel Talon's tractor beam range."

There was no answer; nothing but the slight hiss of the carrier.

"Shuttle craft, do you copy my transmission?"

Another pause. Then: "Yeah, we hear you, rocketjock. We aren't of a mind to do that."

Vil looked at his control panel. They were two minutes away from Minimum Safe Distance—the point far enough from Despayre where they could safely attempt the jump to lightspeed. Jump too close to a planet's gravity well and the shift would tear the vessel apart. If the guy he was talking to had enough skill to fly the shuttle, he'd know that. His control panel would tell him when he reached MSD, and then it would be over. Lieutenant Dance would have failed a mission, for the first time.

Never happen, he thought. "Turn it around, or we will fire," he said.

"You'd do that? Just blow us apart? Essentially murder fifteen men—and two women? One of them is old enough to be your granny. You can live with that?"

He was stalling for time, Vil knew. The beings on that shuttle were bad enough to have been sent to the galaxy's number one prison planet, and the Imperial courts didn't bother to do that with petty thieves or traffic violators. His granny hadn't robbed any banks or killed anybody. Not that he knew of, anyway.

"Shuttle pilot, I say again—"

Vil saw the port turret on the shuttle open up. He cut across the craft's flight path, angling away aft as the starboard gun began firing. He hit his thrusters full, coming up in a half loop and twist away from the incoming laserfire.

Even a good gunner couldn't have spiked him at this angle, and these guys weren't anywhere close to good enough. Still, the pulsed incandescent beams came close.

"Lieutenant—!" That from Benjo.

"Hold your position, Alpha Squad, there's no problem here." Cool and calm. Like discussing what they might be having for dinner.

He zipped Black-11 out of range.

The clock was running down. Less than a minute to MSD.

"Last chance, shuttle. Turn it around. Now."

In answer, the pilot pulled the shuttle topward so his gunners could get a better angle. They started shooting again.

The shots were wild, but there was always a chance a stray beam could hit you, even by accident.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Star Wars Death Star 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exciting and explains a lot!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Got this book a while ago and loved it my friends still wonder how i know so much. A must read for the starwars fanatic
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It tells alot of things you dont know about Star Wars. I am a living archieve and even I didn't know it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to admit that most of the (ongoing, ever expanding) Star Wars novels are... well, bland and uninspired, to me. If I read them, it's once, maybe twice and they get boxed up, traded or exchanged. A few, like Zahn's series, stay on my bookshelf to be read many times over and enjpyed over the years. While not at the top of my list, this one turned into a keeper. Worth the purchase, and quite enjoyable - especially to someone like me, who likes seeing the backstories and fleshing out of worlds. (I lile LOTR, but love the Silmarillion more, for instance.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book offers some insights to the other side of the Death Star story but the improbable escape of the lead characters seemed forced. I did like the perspective of TIE pilot and I wish a book about a TIE squadron was written.
marst More than 1 year ago
I would definately reccomend this book to anyone who has grown up or is new to the Star Wars universe. It fills in all of the gaps from the movie.
biggles More than 1 year ago
It was a quick but interesting read, filled in some of the blanks when you decide to refer to the entire Star Wars pantheon, (i.e. Darth Vader's thoughts). Not as comprehensive as Tales from the Mose Isely Cantina, but enough to whet your appetite on a rainy day.
Reading_Rogue More than 1 year ago
Great read, full of so much interesting background to the 1st death star and the lives of all associated with it, both good and evil. Not everyone on board the death star was evil. We see great stories of good people, intertwined with all our favorite Star Wars characters of A New Hope, both good and evil.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Many fans of the Star Wars Books have questioned much since the 2nd trilogy. For example: It took nearly 20 years to complete the first Death Star, only a few to get the 2nd operational. Also the books clearly say Tarkin presented the Death Star plans to the Emporer. Yet Attack of the Clones shows Aliens developing it for Dooku. The Death Star prototype also wasn't acknowledge in Revenge of the Sith. In this book Tarkin thinks of all these and more. This book brings these things together and explains them all. This book is a must read for Star Wars Fans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Star Wars story about the inhabitants of the Death Star.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awsome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was great. While not a must have it certinly is intersting to see the formation of the Death Star. However my favorite part is the thoughts or imteractions of Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a good way to find out where the Death Star was constructed, and what it took to complete it. Also it gives a good point of view from the Empire, and shows that not all the soldiers are bad guys, or clones, or droids. It also reveals the rivalry between Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader, which most people didn't know if they just watched the movie. It also gives a good rough view of how the Death Star gets the power to blow a planet. Its a good story and great addition to the Star Wars universe.