X-Wing: Wraith Squadron
[Aaron Allston, Bantam Books, 1998]


Just returned from garrison duty on Thyferra, Wedge Antilles leaves the Rogues in the hands of his fellow veteran officers while he organises the creation of a new elite fighter squadron that will complement the Rogues. As the Rogues are pilots who sometimes perform commando missions, the new unit is a commando team that doubles as a fighter squadron when needed. And instead of Stackpole's Ubermensch, Allston uses Dirty Dozen-style washouts and losers.

The Imps aren't lying down to be kicked, however. Now Isard is out of the way, Warlord Zsinj holds the main power base, and he takes the X-Wing squadrons more seriously than she did. His temporary ally, Admiral Trigit, is dispatched with newly-developed secret weaponry to hunt down and destroy the new squadron.


This book is a refreshing break from the superhuman antics of the incredible unkillable Corran Horn and his blaster-bolt-bouncing buddies. The humour is an excellent touch, and the freshness the new author brings to the series has rejuvenated it from a level of mediocrity to which few SW books had descended.

Allston and Stackpole have been criticised as being "Role-Playing Game writers" - well, as an RPG player myself I have to say that in Allston's case it shows through. The plots and plans the Wraiths come up with are so unconventional and in many cases downright crazy that, as a fellow player of my acquaintance would say, "only a RPG player could come up with that!"

The only complaint I have is that Allston's Dirty Dozen AREN'T - they're really just a bunch of goody-two-shoes types. After the "Greedo shoots first" debacle [he DOESN'T shoot first in the books, even if he does in the remakes - oops, "Special" Editions] it seems like the Han Solo daredevil mercenary spirit has dropped out of SW - and we are the poorer for it.

Also, Allston DOES include the compulsory "five-second blink-and-you'll-miss-it" character, something so gratuitous and pathetic it makes the "Tales of" books' coincidences seem like everyday happenstance.

However, nothing prevents this book from being a first-class read, highly recommended to anyone who liked Stackpole's books [and even to those who, like myself, feel Stackpole's material has gone stale]!

Rating: 80%

Purchase this novel at ORB-Store.com