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Outcast (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi, Book 1) by Aaron Allston
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Del Rey Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345509062
Date: 24 March 2009 List Price $27.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Outcast opens a new chapter in the Expanded Universe. This new series will help bridge the gap between the Legacy of the Force series and the adventures of Cade Skywalker. Darth Cadeus is dead, but the legacy of his actions will affect the Star Wars universe for years to come. The fall of Jacen to the dark side and the inability of Luke Skywalker or the other Jedi Masters to recognize that threat put the whole Jedi Order under a dark cloud of suspicion.

Placed on trial for the crimes of Jacen, Luke accepts responsibility and shows that the Jedi can work with the government. For these crimes, Luke is removed as the Grand Master of the Jedi Order, and exiled from Coruscant for ten years. Even with this punishment, the Galactic Alliance wants additional restrictions placed on Jedi Masters and Knights. Observers are assigned to Jedi to ensure that the actions of the Jedi are within the Galactic Law. Some Jedi chafe at the very idea of this restriction and work to get out from it.

Han and Leia head out to help Lando on Kessel before Leia's observer arrives. While there, they agree to help figure out why there are so many tremors that are causing cavern collapses and stopping the collection of Spice.

On top of all of the distrust, some Jedi are falling to an unknown affliction that causes them to act strangely. Valen Horn, the son of Master Corran Horn, believes that every Jedi has been replaced by an imposter. These erratic Jedi are a source of additional friction as their actions endanger public safety. With Luke in exile, the Jedi must learn to act on their own while trying to improve their public image.

This is a pretty typical Star Wars novel. There is good and evil and a hidden enemy. The big issue facing the Jedi is the lack of trust. The Jedi often act like they are above the law. The Jedi contend that because they have a connection with the Force, they do know better and act on behalf of the galaxy and not any one particular government or people. I can understand the fear of any government that has a group operating outside its jurisdiction, on the other hand as a fan of the Jedi I don't enjoy their honor being questioned.

This novel also does a great job of maintaining continuity. The references to prior events are right on the mark. The events also portend what is revealed in the Cade Skywalker adventures in Darkhorse comics. The Empire now has an Emperor Fel, and the groundwork is being laid for the creation of alternatives to the Jedi as well.

Aaron Allston is a regular contributor to the Star Wars universe. His X-Wing and Wraith novels are some of the best entries in the Extended Universe. His consistent quality is one of the things that Star Wars fans can count on. Fortunately this book isn't from long ago and far away, it is available at your local book store.

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