Aftermath (Star Wars Aftermath Trilogy #1)

Aftermath (Star Wars Aftermath Trilogy #1)

by Chuck Wendig

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345511621
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/04/2015
Series: Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy Series , #1
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 145,196
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)
Lexile: HL630L (what's this?)

About the Author

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He’s the author of many novels, including Blackbirds, Atlanta Burns, Zer0es, and the YA Heartland series. He is co-writer of the short film Pandemic and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, son, and red dog.

Read an Excerpt

“We have to turn around,” Norra says. “Plot another course—”

“Whoa, whoa, no,” Owerto says, half laughing. He looks up at her—one half of his dark face burned underneath a mottled carpet of scars, scars he claims to have earned with a different story each time he tells it: lava, wampa, blaster fire, got blitzed on Corellian rum and fell down on a hot camping stove. “Miss Susser—”


“Now that I’m home, I’m going by my married name again. Wexley.”


Norra. You paid me to get you onto the surface of that planet.” He points out the window. There: home. Or was, once. The planet Akiva. Clouds swirling in lazy spirals over the jungles and mountains. Above it: Two Star Destroyers hang there like swords above the surface. “More important, you ain’t the only cargo I’m bringing in. I’m finishing this job.”

“They told us to turn around. This is a blockade—”


“And smugglers like me are very good at getting around those.”

“We need to get back to the Alliance—” She corrects herself. That’s old thinking. “The New Republic. They need to know.”

A third Star Destroyer suddenly cuts through space, appearing in line with the others.

“You got family down there?”
She offers a stiff nod. “That’s why I’m here.” That’s why I’m home.

“This was always a risk. The Empire’s been here on Akiva for years. Not like this, but . . . they’re here, and we’re gonna have to deal with it.” He leans in and says: “You know why I call this ship the Moth?”

“I don’t.”

“You ever try to catch a moth? Cup your hands, chase after it, catch it? White moth, brown moth, any moth at all? You can’t do it. They always get away. Herky-jerky up-and-down left-and-right. Like a puppet dancing on somebody’s strings. That’s me. That’s this ship.”

“I still don’t like it.”

“I don’t like it, either, but life is full of unlikable things. You wanna see your family again? Then we’re doing this. Now’s the time, too. Looks like they’re just getting set up. Might could be more on the way.”

A half-mad gleam in his one good eye. His other: an implacable red lens framed in an ill-fitting O-ring bolted to the scarred skin. He grins, then: crooked teeth stretched wide. He actually likes this.

Smugglers, she thinks.
Well, she paid for the ticket. Time to take the ride.

The long black table gleams with light shining up from it—a holo-graphic schematic of the Vigilance’s docking bay and surrounding environs. It incorporates a fresh droid scan and shows damage to two of the TIE fighters, not to mention the bodies of the stormtroopers— those left there as a reminder to others what can happen when you tussle with rebels.

The pilot of the Starhopper? Most definitely a rebel. Now the question: Was this an attack? Did he know they were here? Or is this some confluence of events, some crass coincidence that led to this intersection?

That, a problem for later. The problem now is figuring out just where he went. Because as she thought, the ship contained no body.

Best she can figure, he rigged the proton torpedoes to blow. Before they did, however, he . . . what? She taps a button, goes back to the Starhopper schematic she pulled off the Imperial databases. There. A stern-side door. Small, but enough to load small parcels of cargo in and out.

Her new pilot friend ducked out the back. Would’ve been a considerable jump. Jedi? No. Couldn’t be. Only one of those out there—and zero chance the rebels would send their golden boy, Skywalker.

Back to the bay schematic—


She spins it. Highlights the access ducts.


That’s it. She pulls her comm. “Tothwin. Our pilot is in the ducts. I’ll bet all my credits you’ll find an open vent—”


“We have a problem.”


The problem is that you interrupted me, she thinks but does not say. “What is it?”


“We have a blockade-runner.”


“Another terrorist?”


“Could be. Looks like a bog-standard smuggler, though. Flying a small Corellian freighter—an, ahh, let’s see, an MK-4.”

“Dispatch the TIEs. Let them deal with it.”
“Of course, Admiral.”

Everything feels like it’s in slow motion. Norra sits, frozen in the navigator’s chair next to Owerto Naiucho, the scar-faced smuggler—flashes of light on his face, green light from the incoming lasers, orange light blooming from a TIE fighter meeting its untimely end. Outside, ahead of them, a swarm of TIEs like a cloud of insects—the horrible scream as they pass, vibrating the chair beneath her and the console gripped in her white-knuckled hands. In the moments when she blinks, she doesn’t see darkness. She sees another battle unfolding—

“It’s a trap!” comes Ackbar’s voice over the comm. The dread feeling as Imperial TIEs descend upon them like redjacket wasps from a rock- struck nest. The dark of space lighting up with a crackling beam of viridian light—that coming from the half-constructed Death Star, just one more shovelful of dirt on the Alliance’s grave as one of their own capital ships is gone, erased in a pulse of light, lightning, and fire—

The freighter dives toward the planet’s surface. Turning like a screw. The ship shuddering as laserfire scores its side. The shields won’t hold forever. Owerto’s yelling at her: “You need to handle the guns! Norra! The guns.” But she can’t get up out of that chair. Her bloodless hands won’t even leave the console. Her mouth is dry. Her underarms wet. Her heart is beating like a pulsar star before it goes dark.

“We want you to fly with us,” Captain Antilles says. She objects, of course—she’s been working for the rebels for years now, since before the destruction of the first Death Star, but as a freighter pilot. Carrying message droids, or smuggling weapons, or just shuttling people from planet to planet and base to base. “And that doesn’t change the kind of pilot you are,” he says. “You outran a Star Destroyer. You forced two TIE interceptors to crash into each other. You’ve always been a great pilot. And we need you now for when General Solo gets those shield generators down.” He asks her again: Is she in? Will she fly with the red and the gold? Yes. She says yes. Because of course she does—how could she say otherwise?

Everything, gone dizzy. Lights inside the cabin flashing. A rain of sparks from somewhere behind their chairs. Here in the Moth, everything feels balanced on the head of a pin. Through the glass, the planet. The clouds, coming closer. TIE fighters punching holes through them, vapor swirling behind them. She stands up, hands shaking.

Inside the bowels of the beast. Pipes and hissing steam. Skeletal beams and bundles of cord and conduit. The guts of the resurrected Death Star. The shields are down. This is their one chance. But the TIE fighters are everywhere. Coming up behind them, hawks nipping at their tail feathers. She knows where this goes: It means she’s going to die. But that’s how things get done. Gold Leader comms in—Lando’s voice in her ear, and his Sullustan copilot’s just behind it. They tell her what to do. And again she thinks: This is it, this is how I die. She accelerates her fighter. The heat signature of the core goes left. She pulls her Y-wing right—and a handful of the TIEs break off and follow her deeper. Away from the Millennium Falcon. Away from the X-wings. Laserfire frying her engines. Popping the top off her astromech. Smoke filling the cabin. The smell of ozone—

“I’m not a gunner,” she says. “I’m a pilot.”

Then she pulls Owerto out of his pilot’s chair. He protests, but she gives him a look—a look she’s practiced, a look where her face hardens like cooling steel, the look of a raptor before it takes your eyes. The smuggler gives a barely perceptible nod, and it’s good that he does. Because as soon as she’s down in the chair and grabbing the stick and throttle, she sees a pair of TIE fighters coming up fast from the front—

Her teeth clamp down so hard she thinks her jaw might break. Lasers like demon fire score the sky ahead, coming right for them.

She pulls back on the stick. The Moth ceases its dive toward the planet’s surface—the lasers just miss, passing under the hind end of the freighter, continuing on—

Boom.

They take out two of the TIE fighters that had been following close behind. And even as she continues hauling back on the stick, her stomach and heart trading places, the blood roaring in her ears, she loopty-loops the ship just in time to see the remaining two TIEs clip each other. Vertical wing panels smashing together, prying apart— each of the short-range Imperial fighters suddenly spinning away, pirouetting wildly through space like a pair of Republic Day firecracker pinwheels.

“We got more incoming!” Owerto hollers from somewhere behind her—and then she hears the gears of the Moth’s twin cannons grinding as the turret spins into place and begins barking fire.

Clouds whip past.


The ship bangs and judders as it kicks a hole in the atmosphere.

This is my home, she thinks. Or was. She grew up on Akiva. More important, Norra then was like Norra now: She doesn’t much care for people. She went off on her own a lot. Explored the wilds outside the capital city of Myrra—the old temples, the cave systems, the rivers, the canyons.

She knows those places. Every switchback, every bend, every nook and cranny. Again she thinks, This is my home, and with that mantra set to repeat, she stills her shaking hands and banks hard to starboard, corkscrewing the ship as laserfire blasts past.

The planet’s surface comes up fast. Too fast, but she tells herself that she knows what she’s doing. Down there, the rise of lush hills and slick-faced cliffs give way to the Canyon of Akar—a winding serpentine valley, and it’s there she takes the Moth. Into the rain-forested channel. Drizzle speckling her view, streaking away. The wings of the freighter clip branches, tearing up a flurry of leaves as she jukes left and jerks right, making the Moth one helluva hard target to hit.

Laserfire sears the canopy ahead.


Then: a bank of fog.


She pushes down on the stick, takes the freighter even lower. Here, the canyon is tighter. Trees stretching out like selfish hands, thrust up from rocky outcroppings. Norra deliberately clips these—again on the left, then on the right. The Moth’s turrets belt out cannon fire and suddenly a TIE comes tumbling end-over-end like a flung boulder— she has to bank the ship hard to dodge it. It smashes into a tree. A belching fireball.

The freighter shudders.


More sparks. The cabin goes dark. Owerto: “We’ve lost the turrets!”

Norra thinks: We don’t need them.
 

Because she knows what’s coming. One of the oldest temple complexes—abandoned, an artifact of architecture from a time long, long ago, when the Ahia-Ko people dwelled here still. But before that: a cascading waterfall, a silver churn of water leaping over a cliff ’s edge. A cliff they call the Witch’s Finger for the way it looks like a bent and accusing digit. There’s a space underneath that bridge of stone, a narrow channel. Too narrow, she thinks. But maybe not. Especially not with the turret gone. Too late to do differently now—

She turns the freighter to its side—

Ahead, the gap under the rock. Waterfall on one side. Jagged cliff face on the other. Norra stills her breathing. Opens her eyes wide.

That mantra comes one last time, spoken aloud:


“This is my home.”


The freighter passes through the channel.


It shakes like an old drunk—what’s left of the turret shears off. Clangs away, spinning into the waterfall spray—

But they’re out. Clean. Alive.


On the console, two blinking red blips.


TIE fighters. Behind them.

Wait for it.
 

Wait . . . for it . . .
 

The air claps with a pair of explosions.


The two blips flicker and are gone.


Owerto hoots and claps his hands. “We’re clear!”


Damn right we are.
 

She turns the freighter and sets a course for the outskirts of Myrra.

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Aftermath (Star Wars Aftermath Trilogy #1) 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
edengrey More than 1 year ago
What happens to the soldiers after the Empire is destroyed? War isn't cut and dry, and the galaxy must recover from the aftermath of decades-long war, while dealing with a new threat on the horizon. Chuck Wendig explores this tumultuous period in the galaxy's history in his blockbuster "Aftermath" series. The story follows a group of ragtag soon-to-be rebels are thrown together by fate and must find a way to survive many dangerous adventures. This book is a must-read for Star Wars fans, and I also highly recommend it for sci-fi readers. The action is fast-paced, the characters are nuanced, and the depth of the world-building is astounding. While the staccato and inventive writing style might not be for everyone, the wealth of new information on the Star Wars universe more than makes up for that and any other qualms readers might have with this book. The audiobook is particularly amazing. It features sound effects and music straight out of the Lucasfilm vaults, and Marc Thompson's voices are spot-on. You'll love recognizing returning favorite characters like Leia Organa, Han Solo, and learn to love new ones like Sinjir Rath Velus and Mister Bones.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am extremely unhappy with Barnes and Noble. You sent the WRONG book! I ordered Star Wars Aftermath and you sent the second book of the trilogy that I already have!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Strong, well-crafted story that takes place not long after the events of Return of the Jedi.
PainFrame More than 1 year ago
We don’t have any plan, pal. It hurts my heart a little bit, but I really don’t like this book. It’s weird, I’ve loved Star Wars my whole life, and every classic Star Wars book I read seemed great to me. Then Disney bought Star Wars and threw out all of the expanded universe. I don’t like it, but okay, let’s see what they are going to do. So then they make The Force Awakens, a good movie, one that gets better with each watching, but it also left me with a lot of questions. So like many, I thought, why don’t I read the book that bridges the gap between episodes six and seven? Here’s the problem: This book has no answers for me, it also has no main characters from the Star Wars universe (no, Admiral Ackbar on a holodeck, or Han & Chewie for 3 pages does not count) and instead introduces all kinds of new characters which really do not seem to matter in any way. I suppose they will factor into future book sequels, which I do not plan to read. If you know this going in you may be able to enjoy it, but since I expected some backstory, such as what happened to the main character, you know Luke Skywalker? Remember him? I found this book to be frustrating and annoying. This is the only Star Wars book I have bought that I will not keep. No thanks. I will check these new ones out of the Library befo
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the worst books I have ever read. Wendig can't write his way out of a wet paper bag. Don't waste your money or the time you'll never get back.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The entire series was poorly presented and written in manner thst did not mesh with characters nor did it fit the Star Wars universe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable read with lots of action and intrigue. The story captures the spirit of Star Wars and is aligned with the original trilogy and the prequels while also hinting toward the latest movie trilogy (character Temmen Wexley is a boy in this story and is a peripheral character - pilot for the resistance- in Episode 7). Excellent character development. Its a shame Rian Johnson didn't read these novels to get a clue of what Star Wars is all about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont know why people hate the series so much this is five stars star wars rules!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author is clearly an inexperienced writer and it is very obvious that he must not have passed his high school L.A. classes... Within the first few chapters, I noticed numerous grammatical errors as follows: incorrect usage of colons, incomplete sentences, incorrect indentation, and various spelling errors. He even spelled tiny wrong - he spelled it with two letter n's! Also, the chapters jumped from one character to another and from first person to third. The author also ruins the reputation Dengar and the Empire. Lastly homosexuals have no place within Star Wars. It is clear that the author forces the reader to know that many of the characters in the book are homosexuals! Why would the reader want to know that irrelevant characters, or some of the main characters, are homos!? By the way, my younger brother could have written a better book than this trash. The pages in this book aren't even worth wiping my butt with! Complete, total, and utter garbage.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know if this was pushed by Disney or the author. I would have enjoyed the book more without it. These characters were obviously written to promote the gay agenda, as there isn't any value to the plot line. Remember, Star Wars is enjoyed by young and old. This is not the place for social statements.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The aftermath books have received significant criticism from readers as being some of the least accessible of the new Canon and in some ways the least engaging of the new Canon. However this characterization may be unfair. Aftermath introduces us to the events that take place immediately following the destruction of the second death star and help tell the story of how we move from the victory at the Battle of Endor to the eventual downfall of the Republic and the rise of the first order. It is told through both the perspective of a rebel pilot and (in my opinion more intriguingly) the perspective of an imperial officer who commands the remains of the Imperial Fleet. Some of the slow pacing of this novel is due to the local nature of the initial conflict that drives the plot. However this local conflicts does eventually develop into a plot with Galactic implications. The book introduces a large number of new characters who can be initially difficult to empathize with and keep track of, but as the story progresses they do become more three-dimensional and engaging. Moreover these characters provide a much richer experience once they move from the small-scale conflict at the beginning of the book to the war Galactic conflict scene towards the end of the book and the end of the sequel novel.
madogvelkor More than 1 year ago
A good, enjoyable adventure set shortly after the Battle of Endor. The action is mostly limited to a single planet, but it does give glimpses of the wider galaxy as Imperial rule crumbles. Don't expect some galaxy-spanning epic that gives all of the detail of what happens leading up to Episode VII. Just a fun, easy to read adventure.