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Book Review

Book Cover

Star Wars
Choices of One


Author: Timothy Zahn
Arrow Books / Lucas Books
RRP: £7.99, US $12.99
ISBN: 978 0 099 54263 6
Available 28 June 2012

Star Wars: Choices of One by Timothy Zahn has previously been published as a hardback a little over a year ago. If you didn’t catch the story the first time around, the story slips seamlessly between A New Hope and The Empire Strike Back. With the rebellion in need of a new base, an offer from Governor Ferrouz of Candoras sector seems like an opportunity too good to pass up. However, the emperor has sent Mara Jade to deal with the Governor, who is playing a dangerous game.

Zahn has, through his ingenuity as a writer, been the person who has had the most impact on Star Wars's expanded universe, adding such memorable characters as Thrawn, Mara Jade and Pellaeon. To be honest the Thrawn trilogy was a hell of a lot better than most things which came out of the expanded universe.

What makes Zahn's writing so good is his ability to create believable multifaceted characters, with realistic motivations which are shrouded in shades of grey, this holds true for both the rebellion and the imperialists.

Too many writers create Star Wars works where good and evil are too diametrically opposed and the characteristics are taken to be either black or white. This is generally due to the source material which was designed as a Saturday morning picture writ large, so nuance wasn’t really on the cards. The good guys were absurdly good, even if we ignore Luke’s attempts to bed his sister, which was odd enough to give any committed Freudian's sleepless nights.

Zahn carries over many of the characters he has created and used in the past which allows him to explore and grow them, moreover he is able to take the established characters, reflect their idiosyncrasies. Luke, sister issues aside, is still not the powerful Jedi that he will become and is out of his depth when sent on an important mission, his propensity to talk, when silence would be preferable, remains from the films. Han, well, Han is Han; boisterous and bombastic, convinced that Leia has the hots for him, which we know she does. Incidentally the story also explains how Han goes from being a smuggler to being part of the rebellion military.

I think I preferred the book, reading it for the second time. Even stripped of its frippery it presents a well-constructed thriller. This time around the paperback gets a new and better cover featuring Mara Jade which should give fourteen year old boys something to think about.


Charles Packer

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