Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Chronicles the further adventures of the characters from the Star Wars movies; a five-week PW bestseller. (Dec.)
Hard on the heels of the emperor's death, the Alliance receives word of an outpost planet beseiged by a new alien invader, a lizardlike race of creatures bent on conquest of the galaxy. Flushed with their recent victory and stunned by the revelation of their parentage, Luke and Leia travel to the edge of the Empire to join forces with their erstwhile enemies to combat an even deadlier foe. Set prior to the events of Timothy Zahn's ``Star Wars'' cycle, Tyers's first foray into the Star Wars universe captures the feel of space opera while attempting a three-dimensional portrayal of the forces of a decaying empire. A worthwhile addition to a popular sf subgenre.
This involved tale follows the Rebel victory over the Empire in George Lucas' 1983 "Return of the Jedi". Bakura is an almost terrestrial planet at a far reach of the galaxy; as the novel begins, it's being invaded by the unpronounceable Ssi-ruuk, a race of--well, of lizards. The Ssi-ruuk enjoy "enteching" people. That's a process where the enslaved human's energies are electronically transferred into androids. It's an awful thing to happen to anybody, so Luke Skywalker--after Ben Kenobi counsels him from the shadow-world--heads up his battle-weary force for a showdown. Meanwhile, on the surface of Bakura, there's a political wrangle going on, and in all of that Luke sort of falls for the aura of Senator Gaeriel Captison, but not, quite, for the senator herself. When's that boy going to settle down? Han Solo, Princess Leia, and various lovable robots are here, too, in small doses; mostly, this is Luke's book. The Force is with him, of course. Sort of a mix of Edgar Rice Burroughs (without Burroughs' humor), Robert Heinlein (as in "Starship Troopers", say, but Tyers, a point in her favor, isn't as gung ho), and a lot of New Age notions, hiding inside the Force. Tyers' novel doesn't rival anything in the "Star Trek" series, but prequels and sequels to Lucas' films are in the works, so fans will make off with this like bandits.
Read an Excerpt
On an outer deck of a vast battle cruiser called the Shriwirr, Dev Sibwarra rested his slim brown hand on a pioneer's left shoulder. "It'll be all right," he said softly. The other human's fear beat at his mind like a three-tailed lash. "There's no pain. You have a wonderful surprise ahead of you." Wonderful indeed, a life without hunger, cold, or selfish desire.
The prisoner, an Imperial of much lighter complexion than Dev, slumped in the entechment chair. He'd given up protesting, and his breath came in gasps. Pliable bands secured his forelimbs, neck, and kneesbut only for balance. With his nervous system deionized at the shoulders, he couldn't struggle. A slender intravenous tube dripped pale blue magnetizing solution into each of his carotid arteries while tiny servopumps hummed. It only took a few mils of magsol to attune the tiny, fluctuating electromagnetic fields of human brain waves to the Ssi-ruuvi entechment apparatus.
Behind Dev, Master Filwirrung trilled a question in Ssi-ruuvi. "Is it calmed yet?"
Dev sketched a bow to his master and switched from human speech to Ssi-ruuvi. "Calm enough," he sang back. "He's almost ready."
Sleek, russet scales protected Firwirrung's two-meter length from beaked muzzle to muscular tail tip, and a prominent black V crest marked his forehead. Not large for a Ssi-ruu, he was still growing, with only a few age-scores where scales had begun to separate on his handsome chest. Firwirrung swung a broad, glowing white metal catchment arc down to cover the prisoner from midchest to nose. Dev could just peer over it and watch the man's pupils dilate. At any moment . . .
"Now," Dev announced.
Firwirrung touched a control. His muscular tail twitched with pleasure. The fleet's capture had been good today. Alongside his master, Dev would work far into the night. Before entechment, prisoners were noisy and dangerous. Afterward, their life energies powered droids of Ssi-ruuvi choosing.
The catchment arc hummed up to pitch Dev backed away. Inside that round human skull, a magsol-drugged brain was losing control. Though Master Firwirrung assured him that the transfer of incorporeal energy was pxunless, every prisoner screamed.
As did this one, when Firwirrung threw the catchment arc switch. The arc boomed out a sympathetic vibration, as brain energy leaped to an electromagnet perfectly attuned to magsol. Through the Force rippled an ululation of indescribable anguish.
Dev staggered and clung to the knowledge his masters had given him: The prisoners only thought they felt pain. He only thought he sensed their pain. By the time the body screamed, all of a subject's energies had jumped to the catchment arc. The screaming body already was dead.