Star Wars The Dark Nest #2: The Unseen Queen

( 48 )

Overview

The epic Star Wars odyssey enters a new frontier as the heroes of the New Jedi Order confront a monstrous evil–insidious, unseen, and insatiable. . . .

Despite being given new worlds to populate, the insectoid Killiks have not found peace. An unknown enemy has been attacking the new nests–and the Killiks hold the Jedi responsible. Traveling back to the Unknown Regions to unravel the mystery, the Skywalkers and Solos discover an evil far more ...

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Star Wars The Dark Nest #2: The Unseen Queen

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Overview

The epic Star Wars odyssey enters a new frontier as the heroes of the New Jedi Order confront a monstrous evil–insidious, unseen, and insatiable. . . .

Despite being given new worlds to populate, the insectoid Killiks have not found peace. An unknown enemy has been attacking the new nests–and the Killiks hold the Jedi responsible. Traveling back to the Unknown Regions to unravel the mystery, the Skywalkers and Solos discover an evil far more familiar than they ever expected . . . and even more terrifying. Why does the Dark Nest want to kill Mara? Will Jacen’s apocalyptic vision trigger another galactic war or prevent one? And perhaps most ominous of all, what deadly secret are the Killiks hiding?

To find out, Luke, Mara, Han, and Leia mustembark on a perilous journey into the uncharted void between right and wrong. The ferocious Unknown Terrors are only the beginning of the awesome challenges that lie ahead in their quest to fathom the unfathomable. For an obscure dispute is about to explode into chaos, pitting Jedi against Jedi–and threatening the very galaxy itself.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345463036
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/27/2005
  • Series: Star Wars: The Dark Nest Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 252,448
  • Product dimensions: 4.16 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Troy Denning

Troy Denning is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Tatooine Ghost, Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Star by Star, and the Star Wars: Dark Nest Trilogy, as well as Pages of Pain, Beyond the High Road, The Summoning, and many other novels. A former game designer and editor, he lives in southern Wisconsin with his wife, Andria.

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Read an Excerpt

One

Woteba.

The last time Han Solo had been here, the planet had had no name. The air had been thick and boggy, and there had been a ribbon of muddy water purling through the marsh grass, bending lazily toward the dark wall of a nearby conifer forest. A jagged mountain had loomed in the distance, its pale summit gleaming against the wispy red veil of a nebular sky.

Now the air was filled with the aroma of sweet membrosia and slow-roasted nerf ribs, and the only water in sight was rippling down the face of an artificial waterfall. The conifer forest had been cut, stripped, and driven into the marsh to serve as log pilings beneath the iridescent tunnel-houses of the Saras nest. Even the mountain looked different, seeming to float above the city on a cushion of kiln steam, its icy peak almost scraping the pale-veined belly of the Utegetu Nebula.

“Interesting, what the bugs have done to the place,” Han said. He was standing in the door of the glimmering hangar where they had berthed the Falcon, looking out on the nest along with Leia, Saba Sebatyne, the Skywalkers, and C-3PO and R2-D2. “Not so creepy after all.”

“Don’t call them bugs, Han,” Leia reminded him. “Insulting your hosts is never a good way to start a visit.”

“Right, we wouldn’t want to insult ’em,” Han said. “Not for a little thing like harboring pirates and running black membrosia.”

He crossed a spinglass bridge and stopped at the edge of a meandering ribbon of street. The silver lane was packed with chest-high Killiks hauling rough lumber, quarried moirestone, casks of bluewater. Here and there, bleary-eyed spacers—human and otherwise—were staggering back to their ships at the sore end of a membrosia binge. On the balconies overhanging the tunnel-house entrances, glittered-up Joiners—beings who had spent too much time among Killiks and been absorbed into the nest’s collective mind—were smiling and dancing to the soft trill of spinning wind horns. The only incongruous sight was in the marshy, two-meter gap that served as the gutter between the hangar and the street. A lone insect lay facedown in the muck, its orange thorax and white-striped abdomen half covered in some sort of dull gray froth.

“Raynar must know we’ve arrived,” Luke said. He was still on the bridge behind Han. “Any sign of a guide?”

The bug in the gutter lifted itself on its arms and began to drum its thorax.

“I don’t know,” Han answered, eyeing the bug uncertainly. When it began to drag itself toward the bridge, he said, “Make that a maybe.”

The Killik stopped and stared up at them with a pair of bulbous green eyes. “Bur r rruubb, ubur ruur.”

“Sorry—don’t understand a throb.” Han knelt on the street’s glimmering surface and extended a hand. “But come on up. Our protocol droid knows over six million—”

The insect spread its mandibles and backed away, pointing at the blaster on Han’s hip.

“Hey, take it easy,” Han said, still holding out his hand. “That’s just for show. I’m not here to shoot anybody.”

“Brubr.” The Killik raised a pincer-hand, then tapped itself between the eyes. “Urrubb uu.”

“Oh, dear,” C-3PO said from the back of the bridge. “She seems to be asking you to blast her.”

The bug nodded enthusiastically, then averted its eyes.

“Don’t get crazy,” Han said. “You’re not that late.”

“I think it’s in pain, Han.” Mara knelt on the street beside Han and motioned the insect to come closer. “Come here. We’ll try to help.”

The Killik shook its head and tapped itself between the eyes again. “Buurubuur, ubu ru.”

“She says nothing can help,” C-3PO said. “She has the Fizz.”

“The Fizz?” Han echoed.

The Killik thrummed a long explanation.

“She says it is very painful,” C-3PO said. “And she would appreciate it if you would end her misery as soon as possible. UnuThul is waiting in the Garden Hall.”

“Sorry,” Han said. “I’m not blasting anyone this trip.”

The Killik rumbled something that sounded like rodder, then started to drag itself away.

“Wait!” Luke extended his hand, and the Killik rose out of the mud. “Maybe we can rig an isolation ward—”

The rest of the offer was drowned out as Saras porters turned to point at their nest-fellow’s frothy legs, drumming their chests and knocking the loads out of one another’s arms. The Joiner dancers vanished from their balconies, and startled spacers staggered toward the gutter, squint- ing and reaching for their blasters.

Luke began to float the Killik back toward the bridge. It clacked its mandibles in protest and thrashed its arms, but its legs—hidden beneath a thick layer of froth—dangled motionlessly beneath its thorax. A steady drizzle of what looked like dirt specks fell from its feet into the gutter.

Han frowned. “Luke, maybe we’d better leave—”

A blaster bolt whined out from down the street, taking the Killik in midthorax and spraying a fist-sized circle of chitin and froth onto the hangar’s milky exterior. The insect died instantly, but another uproar erupted on the street as angry spacers began to berate a wobbly Quarren holding a powerful Merr-Sonn Flash 4 blaster pistol.

“Ish not my fault!” The Quarren waved the weapon vaguely in Luke’s direction. “Them Jedi wash the ones flyin’ a Fizzer ’round.”

The accusation diverted the angry looks toward Luke, but no one in the group was membrosia-smeared enough to harangue a party that included four beings dressed in Jedi robes. Instead the spacers staggered toward the hangar’s other entrances as fast as their unsteady legs could carry them, leaving Han and the Jedi to stare at the dead Killik in astonished silence. Normally, they would have at least taken the killer into custody to await local law enforcement, but these were hardly normal circumstances. Luke just sighed and lowered the victim back into the gutter.

Leia seemed unable to take her eyes off it. “From the way those spacers reacted, this is fairly common. Did Raynar’s message say anything about an epidemic?”

“Not a word,” Mara said, standing. “Just that Unu had discovered why the Dark Nest attacked me last year, and we needed to discuss it in person.”

“I don’t like it,” Han said. “Sounds more convenient all the time.”

“We know—and thanks again for coming,” Mara said. “We appreciate the backup.”

“Yeah, well, don’t mention it.” Han returned to his feet. “We’ve got a personal interest in this.”

Strictly speaking, the pirate harboring and membrosia running in which the Killiks were engaged was not Han and Leia’s concern. But Chief of State Omas was using the trouble as a pretext to avoid keeping his side of a complicated bargain with the Solos, saying that until the nests of the Utegetu Nebula stopped causing so much trouble for the Galactic Alliance, he could not muster the votes he needed to give the Ithorians a new homeworld.

Han would have liked to believe the claim was just a big bantha patty, but someone had leaked the terms of the deal to the holopress. Now both the Solo name and the Ithorian homeworld had become linked in the public mind with the pirate raids and “tarhoney” dens that were blighting the frontier from Adumar to Reecee.

Once the street traffic had returned to normal, Luke said, “We seem to be out a guide. We’ll have to find Raynar ourselves.”

Han started to send C-3PO into the street to ask directions from a Killik, but Luke and the other Masters simply turned to Leia with an expectant look. She closed her eyes for a moment, then turned down the street and confidently began to lead the way deeper into the shimmering nest. Fairly certain that she knew exactly where she was going, Han fell in beside C-3PO and R2-D2 and followed the others in silence. Sometimes hanging out with Jedi was almost enough to make him feel inadequate.

For a quarter of a standard hour, the nature of Saras nest did not change. They continued to meet long lines of Killik porters coming in the opposite direction, to crave the roasted nerf they smelled in the air, to marvel at the iridescent sheen of the sinuous tunnel-houses—and to gasp at the purling beauty of the endless string of fountains, sprays, and cascades they passed.

Most of the Killik nests Han had visited had left him feeling creepy and a little sick to his stomach. But this one made him feel oddly buoyant and relaxed, perhaps even rejuvenated, as though the most pleasant thing in the galaxy would be sitting on a tunnel-house balcony, sipping golden membrosia, and watching the Joiners dance.

It made Han wonder what the bugs were up to now.

Gradually, the streets grew less crowded, and the group began to notice more froth-covered bodies in the gutter. Most were already dead and half disintegrated, but a few remained intact enough to raise their heads and beg for a merciful end. Han found himself torn between the desire to stop their suffering and a reluctance to do something so drastic without understanding the situation. Fortunately, Luke was able to take the middle road, using the Force to render each victim unconscious.

Finally, Leia stopped about ten meters from an open expanse of marsh. The street continued, snaking through a brightly mottled sweep of bog flowers, but the road surface turned dull and frothy ahead, and the ends of the nearby tunnel-houses were being eaten by gray foam. In the center of the field stood a massive spinglass palace, its base a shapeless mass of ash-colored bubbles and its crown a braided tangle of iridescent turrets swimming with snakes of color.

“Tell me that’s not where Raynar was waiting,” Han groaned. “Because there’s no way we’re going—”

“Raynar Thul could not be waiting there,” a gravelly voice said from a nearby tunnel-house. “You should know that by now, Captain Solo. Raynar Thul has been gone a long time.”

Han turned around and found the imposing figure of Raynar Thul standing in the tunnel-house entrance. A tall man with regal bearing, he had a raw, melted face with no ears, hair, or nose, and all of his visible skin had the shiny, stiff quality of a burn scar. He wore purple trousers and a cape of scarlet silk over a breastplate of gold chitin.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 48 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2005

    Best Part Deux of all time

    I've read a lot of trilogy stuff, everyone wants to write a three book series, especially if its in the star wars universe, Cha-Ching. Out of every 3 part series book 2 all ways lacks somewhere cause you have everyone hooked into reading the 3rd and you don't want to blow it. These books so far are similar but so different, its like reading a solo novel each time. Good Read. Kick a Killik you'll feel better

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2012

    Awsome

    Hi

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Book

    I enjoyed this book. I was happy to see Leia finally become a jedi. The bugs were gross. It was interesting to see jaina and Zekk to have such a close connection. A couple suprises in this book. You might even see a certain jedi start down a certain path. I enjoyed the book and will probably read it again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2007

    awesome book yet compelling trilogy

    awesome book it still contiues the story from the joiner king i actually read both the joiner king and the unseen queen in one night but before i could finish joiner king i finished the unseen queen first then i finished the joiner king both books are awesome and great

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2005

    Great Book! Lots of Favorite Characters!

    I really enjoyed this book. All of the favorite characters are in it and some new ones too! Highly recommend. Join the Skywalkers and Solos as they battle the dark nest and the Chiss! Awesome!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2005

    3 Cheers for 'Unseen Queen'!!!

    I just finished reading this one and couldn't be more pleased! Thank you, Mr. Denning, for continuing to make these characters surprise and interest me...: Leia is finally fully embracing her Jedi heritage, intertwining this with her diplomatic and 'born leader' skills making a very interesting 'new' character to read about. Jacen is growing up - in good and bad ways! - and his character becomes more and more fascinating. It also seems that Luke and Han are realizing they're getting older and that sometimes Life's 'bigger' problems require more than a blaster and a lightsaber to deal with personal relationships! Looking forward to the next story in this trilogy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2005

    Great second book of the Dark Nest Trilogy

    Star Wars Dark Nest II: The Unseen Queen is a brilliant entry into the Dark Nest Trilogy, it takes place one year after The Joiner King and shows that while a war between the Killiks and the Chiss was halted it was only a temporary solution. The Killiks have been relocated to the Utegeta Nebula however they are now causing trouble for the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances and Luke and Co go back to meet with Raynar Thul to see what is going on. This is the setup of The Unseen Queen and it again has great characterisations by Troy Denning with Luke, Han and Leia all acting spot on perfect. The Unseen Queen shows that during the one year since The Joiner King Luke Skywalker has been showing the Jedi Order through his example the path back to being less severe and agressive in the way they tackle situations. However there is a very good subplot that shows that there is still room for a stronger leadership within the Jedi Order, for during the book with Luke being out of contact from the Masters Council the Jedi Order is split on what course they should take with regards to the Killik situation. Leia also is shown progressing with her Jedi studies under the guidance of Jedi Master Saba Sebatyne, with lots of humour and action it is a very enjoyable part of the book. These are just two of the plots of the book with many more intersting parts, including a startling revelation for Jacen Solo and Ben Skywalker which is obviously a large plot point to be developed in future books. Troy Denning delivers a very enjoyable middle installment to the Dark Nest Trilogy, full of humour, intrigue, action and setup for the books to follow in the final book of the Trilogy and the 9 book Legacy of The Force series. Bring on Star War Dark Nest III: The Swarm War which is coming out soon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2005

    Denning Triumphs Once Again

    Once again Denning has delivered a well thought out, well rounded, and well written Star Wars novel. Like Star by Star this is a nail bitting cliff hanger that makes me re-read it in hopes that the next time I finish it the book will be longer. I bought this book on the first day it came out and had it finished two days later, and I plan on doing the same with the conclusion. Read and enjoy.

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    Posted March 26, 2011

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