I've come to appreciate Aaron Allston's contributions to the Star Wars universe over the years starting from his time with the X-Wing series of books. He's become quite the key author in the new Star Wars books ever since the events of the New Jedi Order marked a big change in the overall narrative. I do sincerely appreciate the decision to enforce a stronger meta-plot across the Star Wars books as opposed to the isolated (yet still loosely interconnected) adventures of the past.
This book marks a return to the more "strategic" action that we've come to expect based on prior Star Wars books but has not been consistently in play in this particular series. Maybe it's just my perception, but I strongly feel that we had a lot more fleet action before that did result in some pretty impressive maneuvers and strategems. Thus it was nice to have more of that plus more of the growing sense of conflict and urgency as the rival forces try to take out the other side.
Synopsis: Star Wars: Fury is the seventh novel in the Legacy of the Force series of novels. This book was written by Aaron Allston and was originally released November 2007.
We begin by following Han and Leia Solo in the Millennium Falcon as they aid with the continued fire-fighting efforts on Kashyyyk. But things take a surprising turn when a much-healed Alema Rar turns up inside the Falcon as she attacks Leia and the others. It isn't until much later than they suspect that Alema Rar was never truly on the ship, but instead was using some sort of a force projection just like Lumiya did before. Thus the Alema Rar task force of Jagged Fel, Jaina Solo and Zekk certainly have their work cut out for them as they try to track down the mad Jedi.
In the meantime Darth Caedus - once Jacen Solo - continues to try to find a way to end the civil war and ensure that the Galatic Alliance survives with himself as its leader. And key to this is gathering more resources to their cause, including trying to strongarm the Hapes Consortium to take a more active role in the conflict. Thus in order to achieve this goal and for more personal reasons, Caedus decides to kidnap his daughter Allana and thus use her as leverage against Queen Mother Tenel Ka.
As cool as it was to see that Jedi finally take a firmer stand at the end of Inferno, it's not like they had much of a chance to do anything overly solid. This time around we have the Jedi finally getting their act together and actually organizing distinct missions against Jacen, and thus Allston's experience with telling these types of commando mission stories really comes to the fore. But the stakes are certainly a lot higher given the sheer power that Jacen now commands as Darth Caedus, making all missions that much harder.
I do appreciate the fact that this book saw a return to Han and Leia in the adventures beyond the mere glimpses of them between efforts to run away from Galactic Alliance forces. This time they're back in the action since their plot line has once again merged with that of the Jedi, and thus we have our core protagonist finally working together against a common foe. And to be fair, it seems more and more forces within the GA are also trying to help out the Jedi cause as Jacen continues to become more and more like his grandfather, Darth Vader.
I also liked the continued evolution of Ben Skywalker's character as he deals with his mother's death, the belief that Jacen killed her and no one else and of course trying to repair his relationship with his father, Luke. It's not any easy road for anyone, what more a boy his age and yet he perseveres and shows remarkable maturity. Plus he is now trying to apply the very skills in policework that he learned while with the Galactic Alliance Guard against his former commander. Whether or not his efforts will truly pan out is anyone's guess, but it certainly presents an interesting angle in this whole adventure.
Fury helped bring the story much closer to the eventual conclusion of things and I certainly like how the pacing of things has stepped up. Characters are fully exploring their potential more and more, story lines make more sense and the military leaders are being a lot smarter about how things are being managed. Thus the book gets an admittedly generous 5 surprise strategems out of a possible 5, because we like snazzy tactics like that.