agents of chaos 1James Luceno
Del Rey
2000

Merciless attacks by an invincible alien force have left the New Republic reeling. Dozens of worlds have succumbed to occupation or annihilation, and even the Jedi Knights have tasted defeat. In these darkest of times, the noble Chewbacca is laid to rest, having died as heroically as he lived–and a grief-stricken Han Solo is left to fit the pieces of his shattered life back together before he loses everything: friends, family, and faith. Refusing help from Leia or Luke, Han becomes the loner he once was, seeking to escape the pain of his partner’s death in adventure…and revenge. When he learns that an old friend from his smuggling days is operating as a mercenary for the enemy, he sets out to expose the traitor. But Han’s investigation uncovers an even greater evil: a sinister conspiracy aimed at the very heart of the New Republic’s will and ability to fight–the Jedi. Now Han must face down his inner demons and, with the help of a new and unexpected ally, honor Chewbacca’s sacrifice in the only way that matters–by being worthy of it.

Book number four in the overall New Jedi Order saga focuses on everyone’s favorite intergalactic smuggler-turned-Rebel-hero-turned-husband and father to Princess Leia and three next generation Jedi, respectively: Han Solo. It’s been hard for the lug since his lifelong best bud Chewbacca died months earlier in the book Vector Prime (in the most METAL way possible); at the funeral ceremony on Chewie’s home world of Kashyyyk, Han decides to take the intergalactic equivalent of a walkabout to try and gain some perspective, to finally let go and move on. The galaxy is being invaded and slowly conquered, and it would be nice if he focused sooner rather than later, after all. This brings him across an old smuggling friend of his, who talks Han into investigating the goings-on of a group calling themselves the “Peace Brigade”, human collaborators with the Yuuzhan Vong. Meanwhile, a female Yuuzhan Vong priest and her bird-like companion defect to the New Republic, but like everything else involved with the Vong, not everything is what it seems. The Jedi are in desperate need of new PR, as well as unity within their ranks, and a remote space station that both Han Solo and Leia happen to be on is attacked by a giant space snake dispatched by the Yuuzhan Vong, and by the end of this first parter Han has gained a new buddy…at least temporarily, much to his chagrin.

As the first part in this duology in the New Jedi Order maxi-series, this one pushes the overall story forward nicely, giving some closure and further substance to Han Solo’s plight since the controversial death of Chewbacca earlier, and there are some nice call-backs to the Han Solo trilogy and the events in the novel The Truce at Bakura, not to mention the Outbound Flight Project and the Black Fleet Crisis. Yes, I realize how big of a nerd I am, here. Regardless, plenty of action and duplicitous subterfuge abound, and the Yuuzhan Vong are by far one of the more terrifying and daunting enemies the Jedi and New Republic have faced. So far, so go. And on to the next installment in the series.

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