X-Wing: Rogue Squadron
[Michael A. Stackpole, Bantam Books, 1996]


Rogue Squadron is the spearhead of the 's campaign for the capture of Coruscant. 3 years after the events portrayed in Return of the Jedi, the capital of the Galaxy is still in the hands of the remnants of the Empire.

Stackpole's protagonist, Corran Horn, is the standard maverick loner, ace pilot type. The antagonist - in a twist that [like the majority of WEG character backgrounds] makes an unlikely coincidence and shrinks the entire million-system galaxy to the size of a High School reunion - is Kirtan Loor, Corran's foe from his early days in CorSec, the Corellian equivalent of the Customs Service.

Wedge Antilles finally gets to play a more central role than he's been allowed in any of the books by other authors.

Relatives of Biggs Darklighter [Luke Skywalker's boyhood friend, shot down by Darth Vader in the trench run] and Nien Numb [Lando Calrissian's Co-pilot in Return of the Jedi] are also members of the squadron.

Stackpole isn't shy to kill off members of the squadron - he has chosen not to lumber himself with the movie characters, so he can do as he likes.

There is an ongoing rivalry between the pilots, as well as a certain amount of tension between them. It becomes apparent that there is a traitor among their number - the main suspect is Captain Tycho Celchu, Wedge's number two, but as in all stories of this type, the real traitor is not always the most obvious one.

By the end of the book Rogue Squadron has made a lot of progress towards their goal, but every step forward they take allows the Empire to regroup and strengthen itself. The traitor still lurks among the squadron's ranks, and there is more than enough material in place for the next three books in the series to continue.


Stackpole's previous credits on FASA's "Battletech" series do him proud - he has produced a set of "Star Wars" books second only to those of Zahn. This time Stackpole's work is based on "X-Wing" and "TIE Fighter" computer games instead of FASA's battlegames.

Stackpole is a masterful writer, and has written some great space combat scenes. He's added slang to the pilots' dialogue, a touch which makes the characters that much more realistic. One slip, however, is a reference to "Colonel" Thrawn - a reference as confusing as that of "General" Lando Calrissian in Return of the Jedi, the reference that no doubt inspired it.

There is nothing much else to be said. The book lacks the plot-packed intensity of Zahn's trilogy, but in every other way is the equal of his works.

Rating: 80%

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