THE NEXT CHAPTER IN THE EXTRAORDINARY HISTORY OF THE STAR WARS GALAXY BEGINS HERE. . . .
After a violent civil war and the devastation wrought by the now-fallen Darth Caedus, the Galactic Alliance is in crisis–and in need. From all corners, politicians, power brokers, and military leaders converge on Coruscant for a crucial summit to restore order, negotiate differences, and determine the future of their unified worlds. But even more critical, and far more uncertain, is the future of the Jedi.
In a shocking move, Chief of State Natasi Daala orders the arrest of Luke Skywalker for failing to prevent Jacen Solo’s turn to the dark side and his subsequent reign of terror as a Sith Lord. But it’s only the first blow in an anti-Jedi backlash fueled by a hostile government and suspicious public. When Jedi Knight Valin Horn, scion of a politically influential family, suffers a mysterious psychotic break and becomes a dangerous fugitive, the Jedi become the target of a media-driven witch hunt. Facing conviction on the damning charges, Luke must strike a bargain with the calculating Daala: his freedom in exchange for his exile from Coruscant and from the Jedi Order.
Though forbidden to intervene in Jedi affairs, Luke is determined to keep history from being repeated. With his son, Ben, at his side, Luke sets out to unravel the shocking truth behind Jacen Solo’s corruption and downfall. But the secrets he uncovers among the enigmatic Force mystics of the distant world Dorin may bring his quest–and life as he knows it–to a sudden end. And all the while, another Jedi Knight, consumed by the same madness as Valin Horn, is headed for Coruscant on a fearsome mission that could doom the Jedi Order . . . and devastate the entire galaxy.
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Aaron Allston is the New York Times bestselling author of the Star Wars: Legacy of the Force novels Betrayal, Exile, and Fury; the Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines adventures Rebel Dream and Rebel Stand; novels in the popular Star Wars X-Wing series; and the Doc Sidhe novels, which combine 1930s-style hero-pulps with Celtic myth. He is also a longtime game designer and was recently inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design (AAGAD) Hall of Fame. He lives in Central Texas.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
“COME TO COURSE TWO-SIX-NINE.
” Han, following his wife’s directions, banked the Falcon around and headed toward the government district. Leia, in the copilot’s seat, had her personal comlink to her ear.
The Falcon’s comm board was alive with Coruscant Security and traffic monitors warning Han to return to designated ship traffic lanes or be subject to arrest. He growled and switched the thing to silent mode. “They found him?”
“They found him. He’s in an X-wing with a hole in the cockpit.”
“Fifty—fifty chance. It was in the Senate Building, so it’s either a fully functional security vehicle or some Senator’s unarmed memoriesof- youth vehicle. I’m hoping for the second option.”
“Come to two-five-nine.”
“Nah.” Han put the Falcon into a dive. His stomach fluttered, and the sensor screen filled up with tiny objects getting larger–small- vehicle traffic at and below building-top level. Flashing down at terrifying and illegal speed, he twitched the controls right and left, nimbly dodging the much smaller civilian vehicles.
“Han, what do you think–”
Then he was fully among them, streams of traffic above as well as below. He pulled out of his dive two hundred meters below the average height of the buildings.
“This way, we’re off the major sensor boards. Only vehicles with line of sight on us will complain.”
“I understand that. I mean, why not turn to two-five-nine?”
“His course changes are just to jerk us around, to confuse us. I know where he’s going.”
“The spaceport, right at the edge of the government district. He stole a starfighter; that means he wants to make space. It’s damaged, so he can’t. He needs another one. Right?”
“When it comes to piloting and pilots, I’m all-knowing.”
Leia put an artificial sweetness into her voice. “I’ll never argue with you again.”
Han snorted and increased velocity. A Coruscant Security speeder following in his wake dropped back, left behind as though it were suddenly standing still.
Luke and Ben, in Ben’s nimble red airspeeder, received the transmission with Han’s guess about the spaceport.
Luke, at the controls, shook his head, not pleased. The spaceport, comparatively flat and built at a much lower altitude than the surrounding residential, business, and government zones, was not, as most supposed, actually situated at bedrock level. Below it were many levels of machinery, repair hangars, Empire-era emergency bunkers, spaceport employee facilities, and repair accesses.
If Han was right and Valin was headed that way, even if he was unsuccessful at stealing another spaceworthy vehicle he might escape into those subterranean regions, making it hard or impossible to find him before he detected his tracking device and destroyed it.
Their speeder emerged from the skytowers and was abruptly out over the flatter region surrounding the spaceport. It was mostly given over to speeder parking, though it had decorative elements, including tree-spotted grassy regions and a small artificial lake.
And sensor stations. Almost immediately, the speeder’s comm board began blaring with instructions for them to turn back, to stay away from restricted airspace.
“Tell them who we are.” Luke had to raise his voice to a shout to be heard.
“I bet it doesn’t work. Who’s on the news as a criminal suspect? You are.”
“Do it anyway.” Luke put the speeder into a holding pattern, keeping close to the ring of skytowers, not approaching the port itself. The authorities might well decide to shoot down a suspicious speeder– piloted by a suspected criminal or not–heading straight toward an invaluable government and civilian transportation resource. Sabotage and terror attacks had taken place as recently as the war, two years earlier.
Ben looked up from the comm board, startled. “We’re not the only ones.”
“What?” Luke scanned the airspace above the spaceport.
There were a lot of small vehicles there now, most of them airspeeders of one size or another. Some were bigger business vehicles, many with lettering and symbols on the sides.
From the utility compartment, Ben pulled out a pair of macro - binoculars and held them to his eyes. “That one’s a press vehicle. Turret-mounted holocam on top. That one–hey, that’s Jaina. The big green one–oh, kriff.”
“Language. What is it?”
“It has an oversized driver’s cab and that Skakoan is in it.”
Luke frowned. Suddenly everyone knew that Valin was coming here, including press and bounty hunters. That meant open comm channels were being monitored, and people with no business being here were up to date. Daala’s people had to be doing this.
Then he saw it, almost at ground level, an X-wing painted in classic First Galactic Civil War grays. Its running lights were off; it was illuminated only by the glows from parking area pole lights–it flew beneath the altitude of the lights themselves.
“Hold on.” Luke pushed his control yoke forward, sending the speeder into a precipitous dive.
Ben’s lips were drawn back in a grimace–perhaps because no teenager wants anyone else to endanger his vehicle recklessly, that being the teenager’s own prerogative–but said, “ Falcon’s incoming.”
“Good.” Luke put the speeder on an intercept course, or a collision course if anything went wrong, and switched the autopilot on. He unlatched his seat restraints and slid toward Ben. “Take the controls.”
He was gratified to see his son’s eyes open wide, but Ben did as he was told; the boy unbuckled, slid under his father, grabbed the controls, disengaged the autopilot.
Luke stood up in the seat, drawing on the Force to keep him pinned in place despite the rush of wind threatening to tear him free.
He counted on Ben to know what to do, and his son did not let him down. Ben leveled off at the same altitude as the X-wing, completing his maneuver just meters behind the starfighter, and drew alongside that vehicle’s port side.
Luke sprang across the gap separating his seat from the cockpit. The wind threatened to whip him away, but a boost of Force energy carried him to the fuselage just as Valin Horn was realizing he had a pace vehicle. Luke landed astride the nose, facing astern, staring straight down into Valin’s startled features.
Valin yanked up on the X-wing’s armrests. The canopy was suddenly open, snapping backward, and gone, and Valin hurtled into the sky, his pilot’s chair propelled by a crude one-use rocket.
“Stang! He punched out.” Han pounded his steering yoke. Leia looked as aggravated as Han felt. “Can the cargo tractor beam–”
“Not strong enough. Can’t compensate for a fast-moving target.”
“We have to go after Valin, then.”
Han shook his head. “The ejection won’t have left enough controls for Luke to land the X-wing. He may be able to lift it or push it down with the Force . . . but land it with no controls? No. We have to help him.” He heeled over, diving toward the X-wing.
“He punched out.” Jaina reluctantly turned her attention from Luke, disappearing toward the spaceport on the uncontrolled X-wing, and returned it to Valin, still ascending in his ejection seat. She banked and headed toward the rogue Jedi.
In the passenger seat, Master Kyle Katarn, about Luke’s age, darkhaired and dark-bearded, stretched as if coming out of a nap. “You plan to maneuver underneath and catch him?”
Katarn pointed toward another speeder, a large, flatbed cargo hauler with figures standing in the cargo bed. This vehicle rose toward Valin’s position from a much nearer position. “So do they.”
Valin’s seat reached its maximum altitude and began dropping. Immediately the short-term repulsor within the seat activated, slowing his descent. He felt as though he’d taken a tremendous blow to the top of his head, doing no damage to it but compressing the spine beneath. Ejections were always like that–bad, but better than the alternative.
And he’d always relish the look...
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Buchbeschreibung Del Rey / Ballantine, New York, 2009. fester Pappband. Buchzustand: guter Zustand. 318 S., Pp. mit OU, Gr. 8° (23,5 cm) Sprache: eng. Artikel-Nr. 6984