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Star Wars: Allegiance by Timothy Zahn
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Star Wars: Allegiance (edition 2007)

by Timothy Zahn

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5291219,057 (3.56)10
Member:tsaavik
Title:Star Wars: Allegiance
Authors:Timothy Zahn
Info:Del Rey (2007), Hardcover, 336 pages
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Allegiance by Timothy Zahn

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Excellent work from Timothy Zahn, as always. He has a delightful blend of intrigue, humor, and action that keeps the pages turning, and it plays out well in this book as with his others.

I will note that there were, perhaps, too many characters in the book. Some of them were not as fleshed out as they could have been. Even so, the book flowed together well and even managed a few twists that couldn't be nailed down until the very end.

I also enjoyed the expert use of irony as Zahn foreshadowed events of the films and stories to come in the characters' future; this was especially noticeable with the relationship between Han and Leia, as well as with herein-Captain Ozzel's impending demise.

All in all, a very enjoyable book and a great addition to the Expanded Universe (not to mention its classic Original Trilogy setting). ( )
  Versor | Sep 7, 2013 |
Timothy Zahn does it again! Loved it. ( )
  JekDanson | Jul 11, 2013 |
Star Wars: Allegiance (2007) is set immediately after Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (once upon a time simply known as "Star Wars"), and has, at this late date, been followed by a sequel novel, Star Wars: Choices of One (2011). Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear when Luke was still romantically interested in Leia, Han hadn't officially joined the Rebellion, Darth Vader was still a mystery man, Emperor Palpatine's Sith abilities were still a matter of speculation, and Luke hadn't yet made the pilgrimage to Dagobah to improve his skills with the Force under the tutelage of Yoda.

What we have here is a young Mara Jade, the Emperor's Hand -- and of congruent rank, in Palpatine's eyes, to Vader -- off on a secret mission to ferret out treasonous high officials in the Empire; Leia off on a diplomatic mission to try to bring more worlds into the Rebel Alliance; Han, Luke, and Chewbacca off on a fact-finding mission among assorted lowlifes haunting various wretched hives of scum and villainy, to try to get a handle on some hijacked (and very illicit) shipments of armaments intended for the Rebels; and five stormtroopers suddenly and unexpectedly detached from regular service thanks in part to their strong dissatisfaction with the policies and procedures of their civilian and military superiors (i.e., a massacre of unarmed civilians on the planet Teardrop). Yes, these separate plot threads are drawn together -- more or less -- by book's end.

Given that Star Wars: Allegiance was written by the man who essentially jump-started the line of original novels set in the Star Wars shared universe, this book is a major disappointment by the standards that Zahn set for himself in his phenomenal Hand of Thrawn trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command). Zahn does manage to subtly fill in some of the white space between the original Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back movies -- a realistic (well, for the Star Wars shared universe, at any rate...) look at how the Empire lost supporters and the Rebels picked them up; a more-or-less believable demonstration of how, at this juncture, the Empire was effectively compartmentalized, with the full-on Nasty McEvil parts of it effectively hidden from view of the general public and the rank and file alike -- but he also downplays a rather major element of those movies, to wit: Luke's attraction to Leia.

To many of us who saw the movies of the original trilogy as they were released to theatres, one of the major flaws of the third movie, Return of the Jedi, was the way that Luke (cheerfully! unquestioningly!) accepted the news that Leia was his twin sister, never once cursing the fact that their shared paternity blew a quasar-sized hole through his putative romantic designs on her, even in a time long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. "Your feelings do you credit, Luke," my mother's mustache. While it's nice to see how Zahn shows Han and Leia gingerly exploring their attraction for each other, that he toes the Lucas line by soft-soaping Luke's amorous feelings for Leia is disappointing.

While Mara Jade is a major player in Star Wars: Allegiance (as Luke, Han, and Chewie, and, yes, even Lord Vader himself, are not), she doesn't make as big of an impression here as she did in the Hand of Thrawn trilogy. (Mara Jade is one of the characters that Zahn created for said trilogy, in addition to the better-than-Vader main villain for whom the trilogy is named, Grand Admiral Thrawn.) And, given how important the very idea of stormtroopers -- stormtroopers, for Kashyyk's sake! -- deserting is, it's frustrating that Zahn was apparently incapable of making the five idealistic stormtroopers featured here more distinctive than they are: it's one thing to have them function as five fingers of the same hand; it's quite another that, personality-wise, they're essentially the same bland, generic person.

Still, even Zahn phoning it in is better than the work of all too many of the hirelings toiling in Lucas's sandbox: as a f'rinstance, I call your attention to the 17-paged excerpt from Drew Karpyshyn's Star Wars: Darth Bane: Rule of Two, in the back of the mass market paperback edition of Star Wars: Allegiance.... ( )
2 vote uvula_fr_b4 | Jul 31, 2012 |
Another valiant Zahn effort with more focus this time on original characters. In this case, he has rogue stormtroopers and introduces Mara Jade, who is in his Thrawn series and other books as well. This is a lead in to his "Choices Of One" which just came out and which features the same characters. He does have the core regulars as well and it is a period between the first two original movies. Interesting story and good space opera, good feel. Well done. ( )
  BryanThomasS | Nov 7, 2011 |
The beginning of Mara Jade's career is interesting and there is a robust plot running through this novel but the pulpy style repelled me. On the first page a character "gazes out" with "a mixture of anticipation and dark brooding swirling through him. As far as he was concerned the entire planet was a snake pit, crawling with smugglers, third-rate pirate gangs, and other dregs of society." If this sort of thing is acceptable then you will enjoy this novel far more than did I. ( )
1 vote TheoClarke | Oct 11, 2009 |
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In memory of Katie,
and for her sisters Allie and Emily,
for their love and courage and strength.
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The Imperial Star Destroyer Reprisal slipped silently through the blackness of space, preparing itself for action against the Rebel forces threatening to tear the galaxy apart.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345477391, Mass Market Paperback)

Never before has the incendiary mix of action, politics, and intrigue that has become Timothy Zahn’s trademark, been mmore evident that in this new Star Wars epic. On the heels of the stunning events chronicled in Star Wars: A New Hope, the newly minted heroes of the Rebellion–fledgling Jedi Luke Skywalker, smuggler turned reluctant freedom-fighter Han Solo, and Princess Leia Organa, a bold leader with a world to avenge–must face the harsh realities of the cataclysmic conflict into which they have so bravely plunged. From this point forward, legends will grow, treachery will abound, and lives will be irrevocably altered, in the long, hard fight to counter the fist of tyranny and restore hope to a galaxy too long in darkness.

The destruction of the Death Star by the Rebel Alliance was a decisive blow against the Empire, but Palpatine and his monstrous enforcer, Darth Vader, are no less of a threat. The brutal extermination of Alderaan not only demonstrated the magnitude of their murderous power, but served as a chilling testament to their resolve to crush the Rebel uprising. Standing against them, Skywalker, Solo, and the Princess remain uncertain opponents. Luke is gifted and brave, but unschooled in the power he possesses. Han has doubts about waging someone else’s war–and his contentiousness is one more burden for Leia to bear as she struggles to help keep the Rebellion alive. The three have been sent to mediate a dispute between Rebel Alliance factions in Shelsha Sector–agitating matters by forcing Han to deal not only with pirates, but with his more dreaded enemy, politics. At the same time, Mara Jade–all of eighteen and years away from her fateful meeting with Luke–is serving her evil master, Palpatine, well in her role as the Emperor’s Hand: tracking suspected treachery in the Empire to what may be high places–while trying to stay out of Darth Vader’s way.

But the Rebels will prove to be only one of the Empire’s concerns. For Imperial Stormtrooper Daric LaRone, his faith in the Empire shaken by the wanton destruction of Alderaan, will commit a sudden and violent act of defiance, and take four other enforcers with him, in a desperate bid to elude their masters’ wrath.

Each of these fateful actions, whether sanctioned, secret, or scandalous, will expose brutality and corruption, spur upheavals destined to shake the Empire to its core, and shape momentous events yet to come.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:53 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Luke Skywalker is learning about the Force while Han Solo struggles with the decision to join the Rebel Alliance, Leia helps run the rebellion while dealing with her feelings for Han, and Mara Jade is doing the Emperor's dirty work.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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