Science Fiction

Star Wars: Survivor's Quest

Author: Timothy Zahn

Published By: The Ballentine Publishing Company

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            In response to fans who asked for novels set between Return of the Jedi and Vector Prime, and armed with new information supplied by the prequel movies, Star Wars writers (old favorites and new) have been writing a score of novels that serve two purposes. They give the fans what they want and they fill in gaps in the Star Wars timeline.

            Survivor's Quest is set three years after the marriage of Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade. The two have been approached by the alien race, the Chiss, and asked to join them on a mission to recover the remains of Outbound Flight. Believed to have been destroyed 50 years ago by Grand Admiral Thrawn, Outbound Flight was a Jedi-sponsored expedition that sought to explore galaxies outside of their own. They never quite made it that far. Luke and Mara are intrigued, since they had been led to believe that all six of Outbound Flight's dreadnaught-class starships had been disintegrated. Luke agrees to join the expedition in an effort to discover possible clues as to the disciplines of the Jedi of the Old Republic and how they might be applied to his own rebuilt Jedi Academy. Mara has a more personal that has been lying dormant and has only begun to make itself felt. But is this discovery a reality, or is it a trap laid out by the Chiss in an effort to destroy the Skywalkers? To confound matters, random acts of sabotage take place throughout the flight - someone doesn't want the other members of the expedition to make it to Outbound Flight.

            Timothy Zahn is a perfect choice to write this novel, as he created many of the characters that star in it. The popularity of The Thrawn Trilogy, written by Zahn and introduced to the public in 1991, showed the powers that be that Star Wars was still just as popular then as it was in the 70's and 80's. With that trilogy making it to the bestseller list, a new line of Star Wars novels was planned and the Expanded Universe continues to grow to this day. One of my favorite Expanded Universe characters, Mara Jade, was created by Timothy Zahn, and it is my firm belief that, although many have tried, no one can truly write that character the way Zahn can.    

             Survivorís Quest, like all Zahn books, has an air of mystery to it.  Each character involved in the expedition of the Outbound Flight remains has their own hidden agenda.  There are many an unexpected turn of events once the members of the expedition reach their destination.  One of the things I love about Zahnís writing is that just when you think you know who the villain is, Zahn turns the world on its ear, changing directions and taking you completely by surprise.  This novel is no exception.  Here you are thinking you know exactly how Survivorís Quest will pan out and Ė KABOOM! Ė you never saw that twist in the road coming!

             As enjoyable as the mystery and intrigue found in this novel is the relationship between Luke and Mara.  Itís interesting to watch them grow as a couple and to become more certain of their relationship, getting over their fears and moving forward toward their destinies.  It was also nice to see the return of other characters created for the Star Wars Expanded Universe by Timothy Zahn, including Talon Karrde, Booster Terrik, the Empire of the Hand and more.  Personally, I want to read more about the new characters that Zahn created specifically for this novel.  Zahn has a way of getting the reader vested in his characters in such a way that we are always asking for more.

             Survivorís Quest is a must read for any fan of the Star Wars Expanded Universe.  Luke and Mara fans will hail Timothy Zahn for his flawless portrayal of their favorite characters.  Star Wars fans with a love for action and suspense will also be pleased with this novel, as action is plentiful and often of an impressive nature.  Still more will be intrigued by the mystery and subterfuge abundant throughout the novel.  Timothy Zahn has done it again!  Survivorís Quest is a brilliant star in the universe that is Star Wars.


For more about Luke and Mara Skywalker, check out:

Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy
Star Wars: Allegiance
Star Wars: Judge's Call
Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice

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