Star Wars: Fool's Bargain
Author: Timothy Zahn
Published By: Del Rey
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I couldnít believe it! A Star Wars story by Timothy Zahn that I hadnít read yet (other than the new novel, Choices of One)? Not possible! But, alas, I discovered it was true. Star Wars: Foolís Bargain is an ebook short featuring the 501st Legion and I only just recently got my hands on it.
Vaderís Fist, as the 501st has been called, has been called upon to perform many a seemingly impossible mission and has always succeeded. Their most recent mission leads them to Kariek, a planet with a long history of violence brought about by tribal factions and their power struggles. The 501st has been called upon to depose the most recent ruling factor, an oppressor known as Warlord. Together with his mercenary forces, Warlord has wreaked irreparable harm upon the planetís natives, a reptilian race known as the Eickarie.
As the 501st Legion prepares to assault the Warlordís stronghold, Unit Aurek-Seven is waylaid by a group of rebel Eickarie. Striking a deal with this rebel faction, the Eickarie agree to show the members of Aurek-Seven a secret way into the stronghold in exchange for assistance in freeing several prisoners from the Warlordís dungeons. But as the group enters the secret passageway, it becomes apparent that the Eickarie havenít been completely honest in representing themselves. Could it be that Aurek-Seven has allied itself with the enemy it has come to eradicate?
Timothy Zahn is an excellent writer and I love his Star Wars adventures. Despite this being a short story featuring characters I have never really met before, I have to say that Foolís Bargain was quite enjoyable. In very little time, I became invested in the lives of the members of Aurek-Seven and their survival. I was thoroughly immersed in their mission and found myself yearning for its success. For a short story, this tale had quite a few twists and turns designed to keep the reader off balance until the very end.
My only complaint was with the ending. Somehow, I find it hard to believe, no matter how good a soldier, that an Eickarie would have been accepted into the Empire of the Hand. True, Thrawn and his people were accepted into the Empire, but they were a humanoid species, despite being of a blue tint. According to description, the Eickarie are a reptilian species and I doubt they would have been accepted so readily into this elite force.
I did, however, enjoy the tribal language as it pertains to lying - left being lies and right being truth. This meaning goes back many years and has significance in many cultures. It would probably explain why so many people used to associate left-handed people as having consorted with the devil somehow. Makes one wonder where this idea sprung up - does it have something to do with the low probability of someone being left-handed? It could be that this prejudicial view of left-handedness comes from the simple lack of people who were left-handed at the time. Ignorant people tend to hate the things they donít understand and therefore declare them evil. Thus, left becomes dishonest and deceitful and right becomes honest and truthful. Interesting.
To sum things up, Star Wars: Foolís Bargain by Timothy Zahn is a short story packed with action and intrigue that is also designed to make you think a little. It makes a nice addition to the Star Wars Expanded Universe and a must read for fans of the 501st Legion.