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Star Wars: Tatooine Ghost
Troy Denning
Del Rey / LucasBooks, 403 pages

Star Wars: Tatooine Ghost
Troy Denning
Troy Denning graduated from Beloit College with BAs in Sociology and English Composition. He started working as an editor in the adventure gaming industry then moved into the design department. Over the next ten years he served as a creative supervisor for several game companies (TSR, Pacesetter, and Mayfair), and designed more than two dozen game titles including the Dark Sun role-playing world (with Tim Brown). His first book was the New York Times bestseller Waterdeep, written under the pseudonym Richard Awlinson.

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A review by David Maddox

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It has been a little over five years since the Battle of Endor. Han Solo and his new bride Leia Organa Solo are on route to Tatooine to recover one of the last surviving relics of Alderaan, a unique moss-grown painting called Killik Twilight. But sinister forces plot to claim the painting for their own and Leia must travel down a dark path that will lead to a new revelation about her father... before he became Darth Vader.

Troy Denning's Star Wars: Tatooine Ghost is a pleasantly surprising addition to the Star Wars Novel Universe which falls into the Classic era, shortly after events in Dave Wolverton's Star Wars: The Courtship of Princess Leia. Chewbacca is alive and well and Han and Leia, recently married, take the foreground for this adventure with C-3P0 tagging along.

The book serves as a wonderful bridge between Episode I and the Classic Trilogy. In their attempt to outbid the Imperials who are equally interested in the painting (though not for the same reasons), Han and Leia encounter Kitster Banai, Anakin Skywalker's childhood friend. Leia then begins to discover that the monster she remembers as Darth Vader had at one time been an innocent little boy.

Through the course of the story they meet a number of Anakin's acquaintances, like the Rodian Wald, spend time with Beru Whitesun's sister and even visit the Darklighter farm, which used to belong to the Lars clan. They see how Anakin inspired the slaves of Tatooine to make the most of their lives and strive for freedom. But it is the discovery of Shmi Skywalker's journal that really opens Leia's eyes.

What would a Classic Star Wars book be without the Empire? Our heroes are pursued by Imperials every step of the way, but unlike the greedy warlords that have popped up since Emperor Palpatine's demise, these soldiers are well trained and frighteningly efficient. Indeed, the mysterious Grand Admiral with the haunting red eyes who resides on a ship called the Chimaera is a force to be reckoned with.

Unfortunately Star Wars: Tatooine Ghost suffers from some irritating little rodent creatures called Squibs with whom Han strikes a bargain. There does NOT need to be cute, cuddly creatures in EVERY adventure. C-3P0 works best when he's paired with R2-D2 so one questions why Threepio's on this trip, as he just takes up space and complains. No one even lets him translate much of anything. Luke Skywalker only appears for a few minutes to lend some advice, but this is a Han and Leia tale after all. Then there's the Jar Jar cameo... it's small, but it's there.

However these are trifles. Chewbacca is boisterous and loud as ever, and it's great to see the relationship between him and Han again. He is a character severely missed in the New Jedi Order novels. Fans will get to find out what happened to some Podracers, like Ody Mandrell and Teemto Pagalis and there's even some strange insight into Watto's character. Not to mention the story of how Shmi was eventually "sold" to Cliegg Lars. Plus there's a visit to Obi-Wan's hut, the "haunted" Tusken Raider village Anakin massacred in Episode II, swoop races and Jawas!

Overall the book is a fun, fast adventure that presents Anakin Skywalker in a new light to Princess Leia, which, in turn, lets the reader see things in a new way. LucasBooks and LucasFilm continue to do a fine job of linking the individual films into one grand space opera adventure.

Copyright © 2003 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been many things, including Star Trek characters and the Riddler in a Batman stunt show. He holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories as well as acting in any venue he can. Residing in Los Angeles, he continues to be part of this wacky business called show.


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