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Book Review

Book Cover

Star Wars


Author: Jeff Drubb
Arrow Books / Lucas Books
RRP: £7.99, US $12.99
ISBN: 978 0 099 54266 7
Available 03 May 2012

Jedi Master Mander Zuma is a gifted man, though not the sort of Jedi which most people would imagine. As an archivist, he is more at home sorting through old records, than wielding his Lightsaber. He is forced out of his insular life when his newest student gets killed while trying to obtain shipping coordinates. Mander travels to Makem Te to discover how his student died, only to find Toro’s sister, who likewise has come to find out what had happened to her brother. The two discover that drugs had played their part, a new spice which is highly addictive and destructive…

Star Wars: Scourge is a new novel by Jeff Grubb. The book is a standalone novel and for once it does not contain any of the core characters from the films.

It’s a nice idea to have a novel based around a completely different type of character. Normally, Star Wars characters have all the heroic mettle of a Saturday matinée idol, which makes a lot of the books feel a bit samey. Mander does not lack technical ability, but he does lack confidence and his self-doubt makes the character stand out from the gung-ho heroes which normally populate these novels.

When Mander arrives on planet he disconcertingly discovers that Jedi Toro Irana had not been poisoned as he first thought, but had been given an overdose of a spice which it appears he had been taking for some time. Tracking the spice to a warehouse Mander finds himself in a fire fight with the Bomu family, aided by Toro’s sister Reen.

With the basic set up complete, we are in for an enjoyable ride through the corridors of Hutt power, fans of Hutts will be pleased with the prominence the species has in the story.

Now, I don’t know if I have read too many books, but it was pretty easy to spot the bad guy, even if, at this point in the book, it remained unclear how and why. Grubb plays his cards close to the chest, so the reader gets to see the plot unfold at the same time as Mander, the mark of a good mystery/detective novel.

Grubb threads the character development throughout the narrative, so it never slows the pace. Long term Star Wars fans will be blown away by the opening chapter. Toro, although we don’t know it at the time, is in the full blown throws of a spice overdose and behaves in a very un-Jedi matter, being aggressive, racist and generally the complete opposite to how you would expect a Jedi to think and act. I did spend the first chapter thinking the author had never seen a Star Wars film, as the portrayal was powerful, but for fan, for all the wrong reasons. Only when Mander arrives and discovers what has happened does the first chapter fall into place.

The book is well written, with a pleasing focus, as much on character as on action, the pacing never seems off and more importantly it introduces us to a Jedi which is more than a cardboard action figure.


Charles Packer

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