Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Book Review: Wedge's Gamble (Star Wars)- Michael Stackpole

"Wedge's Gamble" is the second novel in the nine part X-Wing series set as part of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. It is set just after the first book, "Rogue Squadron" which began approximately two years after the events of "Return of the Jedi". Michael Stackpole had a lot to live up to with "Rogue Squadron" and he does an admirable job here and continues the X-Wing story.

With the military successes of Rogue Squadron in the first book, the leadership of the Alliance feels that it is now time to make a strike on the heart of the Empire itself, Coruscant. To do so, the rebels need some intelligence on Coruscant so they will be able to strike and pass through the planet's defenses and still be able to defend the planet should they prove successful. Thus begins a different sort of mission for the Rogues. The Rogues are sent undercover on Coruscant to gather intelligence and also to set up for the invasion force. Meanwhile the ruler on Corsuscant, Ysanne Isard, is setting a nasty trap for the Alliance. She is having her scientists work on a very deadly, and very contagious virus that acts similar to what we know as Ebola. The trick here is that this virus will only be effective on non-humans, which is a major backbone of the Alliance. Isard knows she can't hold Coruscant, but she wants to leave a surprise that may very well destroy the Alliance's ability to function. Nasty, indeed.

As in "Rogue Squadron", we still get exciting space battles, and the comraderie of the Rogues. Corran Horn, still the lead character, is becoming torn between two women: one is a Rogue, the other is a pirate. The romance angle here is told extremely well and should not put off the core fanbase of the series (younger males). We are introduced to an additional angle of intrigue, both with Isard and the Empire as well as a potential traitor in the midst of the Rogues. Stackpole is continuing a Star Wars series that is shaping up to be one of the best things in the Star Wars Universe. A Star Wars fan should start with "Rogue Squadron", but there is no need to stop there. There is great action and an interesting storyline.

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