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Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Abyss by Troy Denning
Review by Drew Bittner
LucasBooks Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345509185
Date: 18 August 2009 List Price $27.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

The heroes of the long-ago Rebellion are scattered across the galaxy, as new dangers threaten the Jedi Order and the Skywalker family in particular. Confronting perils that range from the political to the metaphysical, Luke and his family have rarely been pushed this hard--or had to dig so deep inside if they hope to survive.

In Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Abyss, author Troy Denning hammers the Jedi with multiple threats: to their independence, to their leadership, to their sanity itself.

To start, Jedi Knights are succumbing to madness, a condition that their healers cannot understand (much less treat). A number of Knights have already been frozen in carbonite to protect society from the danger they represent. Only Han and Leia Solo, with their daughter Jaina, are fighting against the groundswell demanding more freezings and more restrictions on the Jedi. Their work might be helped if Luke were around, but...

Luke and his son Ben are off to the Maw Cluster, a region packed with black holes and famous for the planet Kessel (and it's infamous "Run"). They are searching for clues to what turned Jacen Solo (Jaina's deceased twin brother, who was briefly Darth Caedus) from a Jedi Knight into a Sith Lord. Their search brings them to the Mind Walkers, a group with strange new Force abilities. If Luke is to find the answers he seeks, he will have to learn new skills--but he had better work fast, as there is a team of Sith assassins on his and Ben's trail.

Meanwhile, Han, Leia, and Jaina have troubles of their own. Contending with the hostility of Chief of State Daala (a former Imperial admiral), they must uncover the source of the affliction--but they are also beset by enemies, in the form of Mandalorian mercenaries aiming to kill the old enemy of Boba Fett. Or is there something more going on? Although this could simply be settling an old feud, there's something more at work that makes Han and Leia suspect ulterior motives.

Denning's deep experience in the Star Wars universe serves him well in Abyss; the characters' voices ring true, the use of even minor characters is well handled, and the diversity of strange and exciting new worlds provides new imaginary vistas for the readers. New enemies, such as the Sith Lady Rhea and Lord Xal, provide fresh blood in the ongoing battle of Jedi vs. Sith, with new and more complicated motives than Darth Vader or the Emperor.

All in all, this is a fine inclusion in the Star Wars canon, propelling the story of the extended Skywalker/Solo family into all new and hazardous terrain. Given where the characters are left at the end of this installment, readers will be holding their breath wondering what happens next.

Recommended.

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