X-Wing: Isard's Revenge
[Michael A. Stackpole, Bantam Books, 1999]


Allston's Book #7 in this series ended with the start of "Courtship of Princess Leia", while Book #8 [return of his predecessor Stackpole] starts with the battle for the Bilbringi shipyards ["The Last Command"]. The Rogues have a small part in the battle, a refreshing look at them cut down to size again after they took over the "Big 7"'s role as "centre of the universe".

Thrawn dies, the Rebels win, and all is right in the Galaxy.

This time the New Republic's military does not face a terrible new threat - it IS a terrible new threat!

Yes, the major block to peace, prosperity and all-round happiness in the Star Wars Universe is now the former Rebel Alliance. :(

However, not to fear; the Rebel Scum have not won yet! An old adversary is back "from the dead" and may well pose a threat to them.

Yeah, right!


This time the Rebel fascists attack a peaceful, neutral group of star systems, with the intent of forcing New Republic rule on the inhabitants - a clear case of, well, "Imperialism".

Today's U.N. will only "invade" in extreme circumstances, usually Genocide and at the very least "Ethnic Cleansing" - and for evidence to exist then by that stage the crimes have already been committed. The Rebels, on the other hand, are very keen to "liberate" even unwilling worlds! Their excuses - the ruler is a former Imperial Officer [as are all the best Rebels - Madine, Cracken, Han Solo!] - and they mutter something about encouraging "species integration". Unlike "Bacta War" we are not given details of nonhuman natives being exploited, and even in that book the Rebels' attacks were morally and legally dubious to say the least.

On a similar note, Gavin Darklighter and his Bothan GF want to adopt children - they cannot breed naturally, although Gavin notes "the parts line up fine" [page 90]. Yes, Lucasfilm has condoned a book where a human mentions intercourse with a non-human sentient species!

Wedge, after all his years of slaughtering his opponents [not even ENEMIES this time!] actually feels a glimmer of ... remorse? Doubt? Well, he feels SOMETHING - which [for the millisecond it lasts] raises him above the level of the self-righteous killing machine Stackpole has always portrayed him as. Other writers have their protagonists perform acts of violence out of necessity; Stackpole [and Allston, to a lesser extent] let their characters do it out of a smug sense of self-satisfaction. Blech!

Corran expresses similar thoughts to Wedge when he captures 2 stormtroopers - then slaughters their comrades without hesitation, warning or mercy. Anyway, it was nice while it lasted.

Of course, I am not saying anything I have not stated in previous reviews of this series. Which is in itself a pointer to the fact that this book contains very little that is new.

Bringing characters back from the "dead" - with Fett it was believable, as we never saw him die. Palpatine's clones were less than believable; Veitch definitely messed up.

IMHO a good villain should not get killed in the first place. Contrast the two "Darths" in their film roles; one is open-ended, the other is a loose end that gets tied up. If Vader had only appeared in a couple of scenes, then been bisected, he would not be revered today as an all-time great bad-guy.

If only Thrawn had lived, and used Corran Horn's beard to ..... Ah well.

Rating: 65%

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