Star Wars Fate of the Jedi #4: Backlash

Star Wars Fate of the Jedi #4: Backlash

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by Aaron Allston
     
 

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Locked in a war of wills and weapons, the Jedi Order and the Galactic Alliance must come to terms—before the Sith’s army of darkness enacts revenge.
 

Repercussions from the dark side’s fatal seduction of Jacen Solo and the mysterious plague of madness afflicting young Jedi continue to wreak galaxywide havoc. Luke and Ben

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Overview

Locked in a war of wills and weapons, the Jedi Order and the Galactic Alliance must come to terms—before the Sith’s army of darkness enacts revenge.
 

Repercussions from the dark side’s fatal seduction of Jacen Solo and the mysterious plague of madness afflicting young Jedi continue to wreak galaxywide havoc. Luke and Ben Skywalker are in pursuit of the now Masterless Sith apprentice—a chase that leads to the forbidding planet Dathomir, where the Skywalkers will be forced into combat for their quarry and their lives. Meanwhile, Han and Leia have completed their own desperate mission, shuttling madness-stricken Jedi to safe haven beyond the grasp of Galactic Alliance Chief of State Natasi Daala. Yet no greater threat exists than Abeloth, a being of ravenous dark-side energy who calls out to Jedi and Sith alike. For some it may be the ultimate source of answers for survival. For others it could be the ultimate weapon of conquest. But for all, it is a game-changing encounter of untold magnitude with unimaginable consequences.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345509086
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/09/2010
Series:
Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi Series, #4
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
9.44(w) x 11.34(h) x 1.14(d)

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Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Backlash


By Aaron Allston

LucasBooks

Copyright © 2010 Aaron Allston
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780345509086

Chapter One


Empty Space Near Kessel

It was darkness surrounded by stars—one of them, the unlovely sun of Kessel, closer than the rest, but barely close enough to be a ball of illumination rather than a dot—and then it was occupied, suddenly inhabited by a space yacht of flowing, graceful lines and peeling paint. That was how it would have looked, a vessel dropping out of hyperspace, to those in the arrival zone, had there been any witnesses: nothing there, then something, an instantaneous transition.

In the bridge sat the ancient yacht’s sole occupant, a teenage girl wearing a battered combat vac suit. She looked from sensor to sensor, uncertain and slow because of her unfamiliarity with this model of spacecraft. Too, there was something like shock in her eyes.

Finally satisfied that no other ship had dropped out of hyperspace nearby, or was likely to creep up on her in this remote location, she sat back in her pilot’s seat and tried to get her thoughts in order.

Her name was Vestara Khai, and she was a Sith of the Lost Tribe. She was a proud Sith, not one to hide under false identities and concealing robes until some decades-long grandiose plan neared completion, and now she had even more reason than usual to swell with pride. Mere hours before, she and her Sith Master, Lady Rhea, had confronted Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker. Lady Rhea and Vestara had fought the galaxy’s most experienced, most famous Jedi to a standstill. Vestara had even cut him, a graze to the cheek and chin that had spattered her with blood—blood she had later tasted, blood she wished she could take a sample of and keep forever as a souvenir.

But then Skywalker had shown why he carried that reputation. A moment’s distraction, and suddenly Lady Rhea was in four pieces, each drifting in a separate direction, and Vestara was hopelessly outmatched. She had saluted and fled.

Now, having taken a space yacht that had doubtless been old when her great-great-great-grandsires were newborn, but which, to her everlasting gratitude, held in its still-functional computer the navigational secrets of the mass of black holes that was the Maw, she was free. And the impossible weights of her reality and her responsibility were settling upon her.

Lady Rhea was dead. Vestara was alone, and her pride at Lady Rhea’s accomplishment, at her own near success in the duel with the Jedi, was not enough to wash away the sense of loss.

Then there was the question of what to do next, of where to go. She needed to be able to communicate with her people, to report on the incidents in the Maw. But this creaking, slowly deteriorating SoroSuub StarTracker space yacht did not carry a hypercomm unit. She’d have to put in to some civilized planet to make contact. That meant arriving unseen, or arriving and departing so swiftly that the Jedi could not detect her in time to catch her. It also meant acquiring sufficient credits to fund a secret, no-way-to-trace-it hypercomm message. All of these plans would take time to bring to reality.

Vestara knew, deep in her heart, and within the warning currents of the Force, that Luke Skywalker intended to track her to her homeworld of Kesh. How he planned to do it, she didn’t know, but her sense of paranoia, trained at the hands of Lady Rhea, burned within her as though her blood itself were acid. She had to find some way to outwit a Force-user several times her age, renowned for his skills.

She needed to go someplace where Force-users were relatively commonplace. Otherwise, any Force use on her part would stand out like signal beacons to experienced Jedi in the vicinity. There weren’t many such places. Coruscant was the logical answer. But if her trail began to lead toward the government seat of the Galactic Alliance, Skywalker could warn the Jedi there, and Vestara would face a nearly impossible-to-bypass network of Force-users between her and her destination.

The current location of the Jedi school was not known. Hapes was ruled by an ex-Jedi and was rumored to harbor more Force-sensitives, but it was such a security-conscious civilization that Vestara doubted she could accomplish her mission there in secrecy.

Then the answer came to her, so obvious and so perfect that she laughed out loud.

She doubted the destination she’d thought of would be on a galactic map as old as the one in the antique yacht she commanded. She’d have to go somewhere and get a map update. She nodded, her pride, sense of loss, and paranoia all fading as she focused on her new task.

Transitory Mists

Jedi Knight Leia Organa Solo sat at the Millennium Falcon’s communications console. She frowned, her lips pursed, as though she were solving an elaborate mathematical equation, while she read and re-read the text message the Falcon had just received via hypercomm.

The silence that had settled around her eventually drew her husband, Han Solo, to her side; his boyish, often insensitive persona was in part a fabrication, and he well knew and could sense his wife’s moods. The chill and silence of her complete concentration usually meant trouble. He waved a hand between her eyes and the console monitor. “Hey.”

She barely reacted to his presence. “Hm.”

“New message?”

“From Ben.”

“Another letter filled with teenage talk, I assume. Girls, speeders, allowance woes—”

Leia ignored his joking. “Sith,” she said.

“And Sith, of course.” Han sat in the chair next to hers but did not assume his customary slouch; the news kept his spine rigid. “They found a new Sith Lord?”

“Worse, I think.” Finally some animation returned to Leia’s voice. “They’ve found an ancient installation at the Maw and were attacked by a gang of Sith. A whole strike team. With the possibility of more out there.”

“I thought Sith ran in packs of two. Vape both of ’em and their menace is ended for all time, at least for a few years, until two more show up.” Han tried to keep his voice calm, but the last Sith to bring trouble to the galaxy had been Jacen Solo, his and Leia’s eldest son. Though Jacen had been dead for close to three years, the ripples of the evil he had done were still causing damage and heartache throughout the settled galaxy. And both his acts and his death had torn a hole in Han’s heart that felt like it would last forever.

“Yes, well, no. Apparently not anymore. Ben also says—and we’re not to let Luke know that he did—that Luke is exhausted. Really exhausted, like he’s had the life squeezed out of him. Ben would like us to sort of drift near and lend Luke some support.”

“Of course.” But then Han grimaced. “Back to the Maw. The only place gloomy enough to make its next door neighbor, Kessel, seem like a garden spot.”

Leia shook her head. “They’re tracking a Sith girl who’s on the run. So it probably won’t be the Maw.”

“Ah, good.” Han rubbed his hands together as if anticipating a fine meal or a fight. “Why not? After taking off with all those barvy Jedi that Daala wanted to deep-freeze, we probably have an arrest warrant waiting back on Coruscant anyway.”

Finally Leia smiled and looked at Han. “One good thing about the Solos and Skywalkers. We never run out of things to do.”

Jedi Temple, Coruscant

Master Cilghal, Mon Calamari and most proficient medical doctor among the current generation of Jedi, paused before hitting the console button that would erase the message she had just spent some time decrypting. It had been a video transmission from Ben Skywalker, a message carefully rerouted through several hypercomm nodes and carefully staged so as not to mention that it was for Cilghal’s tympanic membranes or, in fact, for anyone on Coruscant.

But its main content was meant for the Jedi, and Cilghal repeated it as a one-word summation, making the word sound like a vicious curse: “Sith.”

The message had to be communicated throughout the Jedi Order. And on review, there was nothing in it that suggested she couldn’t preserve the recording, couldn’t claim that it had been forwarded to her by a civilian friend of the Skywalkers. Luke Skywalker was not supposed to be in contact with the Jedi Temple, but this recording was manifestly free of any proof that the exiled Grand Master exerted any influence over the Order. She could distribute it.

And she would do so, right now.

Deep Space Near Kessel

Jade Shadow, onetime vehicle of Mara Jade Skywalker, now full-time transport and home to her widower and son, dropped from hyperspace into the empty blackness well outside the Kessel system. She hung suspended there for several minutes, long enough for one of her occupants to gather from the Force a sense of his own life’s blood that had been in the vicinity; then she turned on a course toward Kessel and vanished again into hyperspace.

Jade Shadow, In Orbit Above Kessel

Ben Skywalker shouldered his way through the narrow hatch that gave access to his father’s cabin. The auburn-haired teen was a little shorter than average height, but he was well muscled in a way that his anonymous tunic and pants could not conceal.

On the cabin’s bed, under a brown blanket, lay Luke Skywalker. Similar in build to his son, he wore the evidence of many more years of hard living, including old, faded scars on his face and the exposed portions of his arms. Not obvious was the fact that his right hand, so ordinary in appearance, was a prosthetic.

Luke’s eyes were closed, but he stirred. “What did you find out?”

“I reached Nien Nunb.” Nunb, the Sullustan co-owner and manager of one of Kessel’s most prominent mineworks, had been a friend of the Solos and Skywalkers for decades. “That yacht did make planetfall. The pilot gave her name as Captain Khai. She somehow scammed a port worker into thinking she’d paid for a complete refueling when she hadn’t—”

Luke smiled. “‘The Force can have a—’”

“Yeah, so can a good-looking girl. Anyway, what’s interesting is that she got a galactic map update. Nunb looked at the transmission time and determined that the download was pretty comprehensive. In other words, she didn’t concentrate on any one specific area or route. No help there.”

“But it suggests that she did need some of the newer information. New hyperspace routes or planetary listings.”

“Right.”

“And she’s gone?” Luke asked.

“Headed out as soon as her yacht was refueled. By the way, its name is She’s a Chancer.”

“Somehow appropriate.” Finally, Luke did open his eyes, and Ben was once again struck by how tired his father looked, tired to the bone and to the spirit. “I can still feel her path. I’ll be up in a minute to lay in a course.”

“Right. Don’t push yourself.” Ben backed out of the cabin, and its door slid shut.

Continues...

Excerpted from Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Backlash by Aaron Allston Copyright © 2010 by Aaron Allston. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Aaron Allston is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Outcast; the Star Wars: Legacy of the Force novels Betrayal, Exile, and Fury; the Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines adventures Rebel Dream and Rebel Stand; novels in the popular Star Wars X-Wing series; and the Doc Sidhe novels, which combine 1930s-style hero-pulps with Celtic myth. He is also a longtime game designer and in 2006 was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design (AAGAD) Hall of Fame. He lives in Central Texas. 

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Star Wars Fate of the Jedi #4: Backlash 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 258 reviews.
FirstGeer More than 1 year ago
With Fate of the Jedi starting to get into the middle part of the storyline, it was good to see in this book that we got back to some locales that held some promise and saw the characters doing some of the behaviors they are famous for. Han cracking wise and showing off his piloting skills, Luke showing what truly makes him the Grand Master, and Ben being the eager, growing, but still making mistakes jedi Knight/apprentice. And done in a way with some humor in the nods to the "expected" lines, but also in some new ways where it wasn't just a regurgitation of items that had appeared in the movies or previous books. This book seemed to move along at a faster pace than the previous books in this series, and the fights seemed very well paced. I liked how this booked moved the storylines along a little more than had been in the last couple books. I am excited to read the next book in the series again!
geoffro2011 More than 1 year ago
This is Allston's second book in the Fate of the Jedi series and is a great continuation of the series. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any Star Wars fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently read the book "Backlash" by Aaron Allston and found that I was quite impressed. The plot line was a continuation of the previous novels of this series as well as The New Jedi Order and Legacy of the Force series'. Two of the main characters Luke and Ben Skywalker, after having been exiled from Coruscant and the Gallactic Alliance, have fought their way through many obstacles to find the cause of Luke's nephew, Jacen Solo's fall to darkness. Which subsequently plunged the Star Wars galaxy into a bloody and devastating civil war. The ruthless and dangerous Jacen Solo, trnsformed into the sith lord Darth Caedus, ruled with an iron fist and cause irreparable damage to the image of the jedi order and the stability of the damaged citizens of the galaxy so soon after the invasion of an alien species bent on extermination and enslavement. They were the Yhuzhan Vhong and were defeated, but the cost was billions of lives and some of which were Jacen's brother Anakin Solo and the ever famous Chewbacca. If not for Jacen the Gallactic Alliance would not have found an end to the war that did not involve genocide and the root cause of the invasion, Onimi, would never have been defeatd. This story finds us at the planet of Dathomir in the Hapes Consortium years after Jacen Solo/Darth Caedus(son of Han Solo and Leia Organa Solo) was killed by his own twin sister Jaina Solo, also a main character in the novel. Father and son Skywalker have tracked a sith apprentice to this planet after a fierce battle in the previous story in which they won but this apprentice escaped. This sith, Vestara Khai, is part of an ancient sith tribe that crash landed on a remote low-tech planet thousands of years before and have recently made a push to gain more resources and try to take on the galaxy to create a sith ruled galaxy. This book is action packed and full of surprises and i highly recommend reading it, but i would like to suggest starting at the beginning of this series. I also recommend that you my want to take a look ot the Legacy of the Force and New Jedi Order series' if you like Star Wars and you like this book as I do.
Rogueld007 More than 1 year ago
Backlash and the whole Fate of the Jedi series so far has been a great addition to the Star Wars legacy. Backlash is a good story of two societies coming together for a common goal. The interaction between Luke and Ben is what every good father would want. I also love the trouble that the Solo clan always seems to get into, they always find a way to get the job done. I'm not entirely fond of the Jaina/Jag portion but I'm glad that there is a little danger/romance for her. I can't wait to see what happens with the Sith and learn more about how they have been able to hid their existence from the Jedi all this time. I am a huge Star Wars fan and I can't wait to get the next book to keep the legacy going.
DannyDA More than 1 year ago
this book is part of a series that I suggest you read in order to fully understand it. it is a book that you never want to put down, it is exciteing, thrilling, mysterious and action packed! i suggest this book to any starwars fans out there just like me!!!!!!!
Amp_Lightfisher More than 1 year ago
"Backlash," by Aaron Allston, is the fourth book in the Fate of the Jedi series, and is a delightful addition to this ongoing story arc. Although this book is highly entertaining and a good read on its own, this reviewer recommends reading the preceding excellent books of the series first, before picking up this one, just so the reader does not miss a single ounce of context or setting before embarking on this latest part of the story. Allston does a commendable job of not only capturing the flavor of the well-known characters from Star Wars lore, such as Han and Leia, C3PO and R2, Luke and Ben, Jaina and Jag (among others), but of also introducing (in some cases re-introducing) the reader to a delicious array of supporting characters to cheer or jeer, while moving the interesting plot threads along at a sprightly clip. One of this reviewer's favorite plot tangents is the development of the young "Amelia" Solo, in this book a now 8-year-old girl with whom readers of other recent Star Wars novels may be familiar, who plays an integral part in this volume's contribution to the storyline. The way Amelia handles her piece of the story brought smiles and even giggles to this reader, and it was never too soon when Allston returned the focus to her part of the plot. Readers of this latest novel will be treated to astounding uses of the force, close encounters with the dark-side, nicely spaced displays of wry wit coupled with heartbreak and suspense, all mixed and delivered with crisp dialogue and intriguing exposition; it could truly be said there is something here for almost everyone who enjoys the Star Wars universe. The biggest problem readers may encounter with this book is that once the last page is turned the next part of this series won't be out for likely a few months, so read slowly . . . if you can.
Jedidude More than 1 year ago
I really feel this series started with Omen. Omen introduced the Lost Sith Tribe a new threat to the Skywalker family and the New Jedi Order and a possible rival for Darth Krayt's One Sith Order from Star Wars Legacy. To put in plainly Abyss was the best Star Wars book released last year and Backlash builds off it perfectly. The book is divided between two storylines the Coruscant storyline with Jaina Solo and the New Jedi Order Daala and the GA and Jagged Fel and the Empire and the other storyline on Dathomir with the surviving Skywalker family and the now masterless Sith Apprentice of the Lost Sith Tribe Vestara Khai. Dathomir is a strange planet populated by Force wielding witches that have not been seen since the Courtship of Princess Leia. The Couscant storyline continues to be the weak link in this series. As in the last two books the story surrounding the Skywalkers and Vestara makes up for it, just about everybody gets to shine in this book Han and Leia as in Abyss get a decent part and are not just a waste of page space unlike the first two books in this series which is good. Jagged Fel gets some good action scenes. Jaina Solo and the New Jedi Order get a great action scene against some Mandilorians even Allana Solo gets to shine in this book. Luke Skywalker is awesome as always. Vestara Khai continues to grow as a character. Sith fans will love her here. She shows her darker side and it is difficult to figure out whose side she is on and that makes her interesting and a Sith in truth and not just in name. The best character in this book however is the one who is on the cover of this book Ben Skywalker. Ben Skywalker has been developing into an awesome character in the last several books and that does not change here. Ben shows those great detective skills from the last series as well as great leadership and this is easily my favorite of Ben's appearances so far and it is nice that Ben is becoming a great character in his own right which is nice considering he is likely the future of the Star Wars EU. The plot on Dathomir is the best part of the book as Luke Ben and Vestara get caught in the middle of a war between the Dathomir Witches and the Night Sisters. These battles are easily the best action scenes in the book. Ben's interaction with Vestara is interesting as he tries to figure out why she is on Dathomir. I will be curious to see how their relationship develops over the course of this series especially considering what is revealed in the teaser for Allies the next book in the series. Backlash is an action packed story with enough mystery in the plot to keep readers guessing until the very end. FOTJ fans and Star Wars fans in general should check out Backlash and prepare for Allies which should be very interesting
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This area is unsafe. Wanderers are often assaulted by small groups of Sand People. The sand crawlers thay pass through this area are often raided by Sand People, but it may be rewarding to search the wreckages for droid parts.
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