Science Fiction

Star Wars: Tatooine Ghost

Author: Troy Denning

Published By: The Ballentine Publishing Company

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Star Wars book fans have been clamoring for more books written about events taking place after Return of the Jedi and before the New Jedi Order series.  They want books that fill in the gaps between the rise and fall of the New Republic.  Most of all, they want to read more about their favorite heroes – heroes from the original trilogy.  Enter Tatooine Ghost, a first attempt at answering the pleas of the many Star Wars book fans all around the world. 

            Writer Troy Denning is well-versed in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.  He has penned at least six novels and short stories in the continuing Star Wars saga: The New Jedi Order: Star By Star , The New Jedi Order: Recovery (e-book), Tatooine Ghost, A Forest Apart (e-book), and The Dark Nest Trilogy.  A former game designer and editor, Denning has become an accomplished writer of science fiction and fantasy, having penned over 19 novels under his own name and under the pseudonym Richard Awlinson.

            Tatooine Ghost takes place a short time after the events of The Courtship of Princess Leia Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa have recently married.  Their newest adventure as a married couple takes them back to the desert planet of Tatooine, in search of an Alderaanian moss painting, once thought lost and now rediscovered at a Mos Espa auction.  The reasons behind Leia Organa Solo’s need to obtain this painting are tri-fold.  The first is that the moss painting Killik Twilight is one of the last surviving pieces of Alderaan, a planet destroyed by the first Death Star.  Second, the painting once hung in the Royal Palace of Alderaan, giving it some sentimental value.  Finally, and most importantly, hidden inside of the painting is a secret military code; a code that is used by every member of the spy network of the former Rebel Alliance.  The code is still used by the intelligence agents employed by the New Republic.  If this code were to fall into the wrong hands, it would mean disaster for the newly constructed government.

            However, Tatooine’s Ghost is not just a novel about rescuing a secret code from a historic painting.  Mos Espa is the former home of the late Anakin Skywalker, Leia’s father.  Arriving at Mos Espa has been somewhat of a shock to Leia, as Anakin Skywalker is revered as a hero by many in the city.  As the only human ever to win a podrace, Anakin is admired by racers everywhere.  His friends still live in the city and Leia is surprised to discover that they still hold Anakin in such high regard, considering what he later became.  In fact, it is quite hard for Leia to believe that Anakin Skywalker could have been the kind-hearted, heroic soul that is highly revered in Mos Espa.  Her knowledge of Anakin Skywalker is limited to what she witnessed in his latter incarnation, Darth Vader.  Since The Truce at Bakura, when her father appeared to her in a vision, asking for her forgiveness, Leia has been adverse to discussing the topic of Anakin Skywalker and now the issue is thrust full force in her face.  Add to this fact that the Force is becoming stronger within Leia, bringing on unwanted Force visions and “feelings”.

            Tatooine Ghost seems to be less of a novel about the further adventures of Han, Leia, Chewbacca and C-3P0 and more about tying together the novels of the Expanded Universe to the Star Wars prequel trilogy.  As a stand alone novel, Tatooine Ghost is an excellent read.  Troy Denning perfectly captures the relationships between Han and Leia and Han and his first mate Chewbacca.  Threepio is as prissy and comical as ever.  The banter between the characters is both believable and enjoyable.  Readers will enjoy reading about Anakin Skywalker’s friends – the novel is a veritable “Where Are They Now?” for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.  It is nice to see Leia come to terms with her parentage and with her Force abilities.  Star Wars fans will also enjoy discovering just what it was that encourage Han and Leia to begin a family of their own.  The antics of the newly introduced characters of the Squibs serve as comic relief for the more intense moments in the novel.  The action is highly worthy of a Star Wars novel.  Starship battles, fire fights, explosions, speederbike chases, and more combine to create one action packed novel. 

            However, what Tatooine Ghost does as a stand alone, it destroys as a part of the Expanded Universe continuum.  In all of the novels of the Expanded Universe, Luke Skywalker and his sister are basically in the dark as to the origins of their father.  They know very little, if nothing about his childhood.  They are hard pressed to tell what it was that sent him moving toward the Dark Side of the Force.  Then, along comes this novel and suddenly, they’ve known everything about little Anakin all along.  So far, it hasn’t totally destroyed the continuum – Leia only learned information regarding Anakin’s upbringing on Tatooine.  She learned nothing of the history of her mother.  Had this information been discovered this early in the game, it could very well have made The Black Fleet Crisis Trilogy a waste of paper.

            And yet, the merits of Tatooine Ghost outweigh the problems.  It’s an enjoyable read from cover to cover, supplying answers to many Star Wars fans’ questions, and giving us further insight into the relationship between Han Solo and Leia Organa.   


For more Star Wars, check out:

Star Wars: Book One

Star Wars: Book Two

Star Wars: Allegiance

Star Wars: Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor

Star Wars: Survivor's Quest

Dark Nest

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