Barbara Hambly is the author of Patriot Hearts and The Emancipator's Wife, a finalist for the Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction. She is also the author of Fever Season, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and the acclaimed historical Benjamin January series, including the novels A Free Man of Color and Sold Down the River. She lives in California.
Luke Skywalker battles more intergalactic villains.
This latest entry in Bantam's successful Star Wars series is a transitional novel. Its pace may be slow enough to disappoint some of series's many loyal readers, but Hambly's (Those Who Hunt the Night) retreading of familiar ground provides a more variegated perspective than usual on several major characters. She offers several solid, well-wrought adventures as well, but they never cohere into a whole worthy of its parts. The subplots are frequently more interesting than the main story line, in which the ruling houses of the recently fallen Empire attempt to revitalize their way of life with the aid of a new type of Jedi knight. A particularly compelling subplot concerns the effort to determine whether the now machine-based consciousness of Nichos, a Jedi Apprentice whose body has died, is still human. While Hambly creates some fascinating alien life forms and plot complications (fans of Luke Skywalker will be especially delighted by a couple of the plot twists here), what she finally offers is more a promise of things to come than a realization of them. Major ad/promo; audio rights sold to BDD Audio Cassette. (May)