Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Dark Force Rising

Just finished book two in the Thrawn Trilogy. Another epic spin through the New Republic. More Han. More Leia. More Lando, Thrawn, Mara Jade, and Luke.

In this installment we learn that there were a total of 12 Grand Admirals in the Empire. We also never learn any names of the pilots with Wedge in Rogue Squadron. The best we get is a call sign here or there ("Cut the chatter, Rogue Seven"). A bit strange to be so anonymous, coming from my recent history of reading the "X-Wing: Rogue Squadron" comics. We also see a poisonous grass, deliberately planted on the Noghri homeworld by the Empire. I think we see a similar scheme in the recent Ahsoka book. Can't recall the name of the grass in that newer tome, but might be a cool nod to the past by the Disney canon.

Two things I remember thinking about Zahn as I read this one. 

First: Zahn's big (perhaps a bit too big, in my opinion) on intelligence. Everyone from Thrawn and Karrde to Lando and Han to Garm bel Iblis and famous ship-jacker (who has yet to actually jack a ship 'on-screen') Niles Ferrier trades in information. People know things. A lot of things. And other people know who knows these things. And people know who knows who knows things. And there are double-crosses. And fake-outs. Everyone is very "information rich" in these books.

Second: the action (rightly so) focuses squarely on our favorite characters. This is a sweeping tale, but definitely told on the human scale. This can lead to Shakespeare-like plot devices (antagonists and protagonists frequently wind up in the same place at the same time, unbeknowst to one side or the other). Sometimes people are hiding in a closet peeking at the enemy, sometimes they're shacked up in an out building when the main bad guy arrives, sometimes Friend A is present, not knowing Friend B is also present. Highly entertaining, in its way.

All in all a very nice read. Wrapping up the trilogy will be bittersweet. After that I will have to move onward to re-reading the first four books in the X-Wing novel series by Stackpole.

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