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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
There can be no surrender.
There will be no mercy.
It’s not just the future of the galaxy at stake—
It’s the destiny of the Force.
In the stunning finale of the epic Fate of the Jedi series, Jedi and Sith face off—with Coruscant as their battlefield. For the Sith, it’s the chance to restore their dominance over the galaxy that forgot them for so long. For Abeloth, it’s a giant step in her quest to conquer all life everywhere. For Luke Skywalker, it’s a call to arms to eradicate the Sith and their monstrous new master once and for all.
In a planetwide strike, teams of Jedi Knights take the Sith infiltrators by swift and lethal surprise. But victory against the cunning and savage Abeloth, and the terrifying endgame she has planned, is anything but certain. And as Luke, Ben, Han, Leia, Jaina, Jag, and their allies close in, the devastating truth about the dark side incarnate will be exposed—and send shock waves through the Jedi Order, the galaxy, and the Force itself.
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Troy Denning is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi novels: Abyss, Vortex, and Apocalypse; Star Wars: Tatooine Ghost; Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Star by Star; the Star Wars: Dark Nest trilogy: The Joiner King, The Unseen Queen, and The Swarm War; and Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Tempest, Inferno, and Invincible—as well as Pages of Pain, Beyond the High Road, The Summoning, and many other novels. A former game designer and editor, he lives in western Wisconsin with his wife, Andria.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The starliner swung into orbit around the planet Coruscant, and beyond the observation bubble appeared the glittering expanse of a billion golden lights. Through a thousand centuries of strife, those lights had continued to shine. Nothing had dimmed their brilliance— not the Rakatan enslavement, not the tyranny of the Empire, not the chaos of civil war. And they continued to shine now, in this new age of creeping shadow, when enemy impostors ruled the Galactic Alliance and Sith Lords slept in the Jedi Temple itself. But all those gleaming lights made Jaina Solo wonder whether Coruscant’s trillion residents actually cared who won the coming war—whether it mattered that they were living under Sith rule, so long as those billion lights continued to shine.
The answer came to her almost instantly, in the form of a dark tinge in the Force that could only mean Sith. Jaina shifted her gaze to the interior of the starliner, where a teeming mass of passengers hung floating in their transit harnesses, tethered to the walls of the EconoClass hold. Floating down the central access aisle was a Coruscanti Immigration inspector, his zero-g motility pack emitting small hisses as he twirled in slow-motion cartwheels, demanding identichips and ten- credit “expediting fees.” Behind him followed a pair of Bothan escorts, their snouts wrinkling in disdain each time their superior solicited another bribe.
Jaina would have liked to believe the inspector was merely a greedy Sith Saber trying to line his pockets, but she knew better. Vestara Khai, newly defected from the Lost Tribe of Sith, had warned the assault teams to take nothing for granted. In her briefings, Vestara had emphasized that the Sith were not stupid. After insinuating themselves in the Galactic Alliance Senate, they would have moved quickly to take control of the Coruscanti Immigration Service and other key bureaucracies. They would expect the Jedi to be coming, and they would be on the lookout for infiltrators—and petty extortion was an ideal cover for someone trying to identify enemy agents.
The inspector stopped near a pair of human siblings in their late twenties. Both were slender and good-looking, with wary eyes and small expressive mouths. The sister’s hair was reddish brown, the brother’s merely brown. Their fierce loyalty to each other showed in the way they remained shoulder-to-shoulder when they turned to face the immigration team.
The inspector oriented himself to the same attitude as the siblings— head-down relative to Jaina—and studied the pair without speaking or reaching for their travel documents. The unexpected change of routine sent a cold ripple through Jaina, but she quickly let out a calming breath and forced herself to relax. Allowing her alarm to permeate the Force would only confirm to the inspector that he had found some- thing worth investigating.
The siblings, Jedi Knights Valin and Jysella Horn, continued to hold their documents, doing a good job of looking like ordinary passengers who were a little bit nervous. The inspector narrowed his eyes and waited, giving them a chance to betray themselves by doing some- thing foolish. Jaina would probably never learn exactly what had caught the Sith’s attention, but she did know that it pointed to the one weakness of the Jedi Masters’ attack plan. These Sith were both careful and capable, and they outnumbered the Jedi ten to one.
Finally, the inspector said, “Documents.”
Valin and Jysella extended their hands, each holding a small packet containing a fare receipt, a forged identichip, and the expediting fee. The inspector took Jysella’s packet, then slid her chip into a handheld reader and compared it with the point of origin listed on the fare receipt.
“You were born on Kalla Seven?” the inspector asked. “That’s right,” Jysella lied. “My brother and I both.”
The inspector glanced at Valin, then asked him, “Is this a family trip?”
Valin shook his head. “No, my sister and I are traveling alone.”
“Is that so?” The questions were the mundane sort that customs officers all over the galaxy used to probe for story discrepancies. But the real test would be taking place on another level, Jaina knew, with the inspector searching their Force auras for the sour hint of a lie. “Then you’ve come to visit family?”
“No,” Jysella replied confidently. Like every Jedi on the assault
force, she had spent weeks perfecting her ability to lie without betraying herself in the Force. “We’re tourists.”
“I see.” The inspector glanced at her fare receipt again, then spoke to Valin in a casual voice. “Four thousand credits is a lot of money to visit a few monuments and museums. You should have used the HoloNet instead.”
“And spend our lives stuck in lower management?” Valin retorted. “I think not.”
“If you haven’t been to Coruscant,” Jysella added, “you go nowhere
“UHI?” the inspector asked.
“Unlimited Horizons Incorporated,” she explained, managing to sound just astonished enough to imply that she thought everyone knew what the acronym stood for. “You know—the UHI that controls most of the pallodenite reserves in the Corporate Sector?”
“Ah . . . that UHI.” The inspector had clearly been put off balance by the tactic—just as Vestara had predicted. The Lost Tribe’s greatest weakness lay in their inexperience with the greater galaxy. Vestara had said that the quickest way to put a Lost Tribe impostor on the defensive would be to play on that ignorance. “There are so many.” When the inspector pocketed the bribe and returned Jysella’s documents, Jaina finally began to breathe easier. She turned her gaze back to the observation bubble and saw that the Plain Lady was crossing the terminator line into Coruscant’s daylight side. It would not be long now, she knew, before she was on the surface, fighting to save her homeworld . . . again.
Bazel Warv was “Jade Masher,” a celebrated Ramoan float wrestler. Seff Hellin was his human manager, and Vaala Razelle was Seff ’s Arcona assistant. The three had just arrived from a series of grudge matches in the Bothan system, and they were passing through the Galactic Center Spaceport on their way to a championship match at the Iblis Globe. All Bazel had to do was remember all that—and believe it. Belief was the key to defeating a Force-user’s ability to detect lies. As long as Bazel truly felt like Jade Masher—the newest, greatest rising star in the Pan-Galactic Float Wrestling Syndicate—he would have no trouble fooling Coruscant’s new immigration inspectors. His friend Yaqeel Saav’etu had assured him of that.
Bazel glanced across the sea of heads that were in Arrival Lobby
757 and found Yaqeel three lines over. She was already at her inspection station, standing alongside another Bothan Jedi, Yantahar Bwua’tu. Wearing the ash-gray tabards of businessbeings, the two Jedi Knights were at the front of a long line of passengers waiting to be formally admitted onto a planet that had once greeted visitors with open arms. So far, the Coruscanti populace seemed willing to believe that these new precautions were due to an influx of spice lords, and Bazel was glad. There was no need for the citizens of Coruscant to get hurt—not when the Jedi were coming to save them.
But first the Jedi had to get past the inspection stations, and that part of the plan wasn’t going well for Yaqeel and Yantahar. Their Duros immigration inspector had been joined by his captain, a narrow-eyed blond whom Bazel judged to be fairly beautiful for a human. She was firing questions at the Bothans faster than they could answer. Meanwhile, a squad of body-armored Galactic Alliance Security guards were standing ready at a nearby security post. Clearly, something was wrong.
Bazel cocked an ear in Yaqeel’s direction, consciously tuning out the general din of the lobby and opening himself to the Force. A cool haze of fear permeated the line a few meters behind him, but he had been sensing that off and on since debarking the starliner. There did not seem to be anything menacing in the aura, so he ignored it and focused on the conversation between his friends and the blond immigration captain. His thick hide began to prickle with the bitter margin of a dark side Force aura. Suddenly he understood why his Bothan friends were having trouble.
Ignoring the growing press of the crowd behind him, Bazel ex- tended his Force awareness toward the security post. To his relief, he felt only the weak auras of non-Force-sensitive guards. The immigration captain was the only Sith in the area—probably just a Saber, as- signed to keep watch on the arrival lobby.
“. . . all the way to Coruscant to place an order you could have filled anywhere in the galaxy?” the impostor-captain was asking. “United Hydrologic Institute is hardly the only Tibanna gas supplier in the Mid Rim.”
“But it is the only one with access to Hutt space,” Yantahar replied in his gravelly Bothan voice. “And since Nar Kagga will be the closest inhabited system to our operation, naturally we want to be certain of our supply chain.”
“And your operation will be . . . what, exactly?” the blond impostor asked.
“A trade secret, I’m afraid.” Yaqeel glanced around the inspection
station, then added, “There are spies everywhere, Captain. I’m sure you understand.”
The Sith’s reply grew inaudible when Bazel’s human “manager” grabbed the huge Ramoan’s wrist and asked, “Masher, you awake up there?” Seff Hellin started forward, trying to pull Bazel into the gap that had opened in the line ahead of them. “We’re holding things up.” Bazel paid no attention, for over at the station where his friends were being questioned, the impostor-captain was looking over Yaqeel’s shoulder toward the security post. When the Sith gave a slight nod, the guards drew their stubby Merr-Sonn Urban blaster rifles and started toward the inspection station.
Vaala grabbed Bazel by the other wrist. “Mighty Masher, sir.” The Arcona’s voice was soft and bubbly. “We really should keep moving.” Bazel shook his head, then stepped through the cordon-beams that marked the edge of the queuing area. With matching sighs, Seff and Vaala stepped out of line behind him, each pulling a pair of expensive
Levalug travel cases that were large enough for Vaala to sleep inside.
“Masher!” Seff growled, putting just enough frustration into his voice to sound like a weary manager at the end of his wits. “There’s no time for your temper right now. We have only two hours before the weigh-in.”
They wouldn’t be making the weigh-in, Bazel rumbled in his native Ramoan. He could speak Basic when necessary, but his large mouth had trouble shaping the common language’s delicate vowels and subtle consonants, and he needed to make himself clearly understood. Yaqeel was in trouble, he explained, and he was not going to leave until she was safe.
Seff groaned and carefully avoided looking toward Yaqeel and Yantahar. “Drawing attention to ourselves won’t help anyone, Masher,” he said. “Our friends can take care of their own problems.”
As Seff spoke, the GAS guards shouldered their blaster rifles and fanned out behind Yaqeel and Yantahar. The two Bothans reluctantly opened their tabards, and the Sith impostor-captain stepped forward to frisk them. Bazel knew the woman wouldn’t find a lightsaber or anything else to identify his two friends as Jedi Knights. The assault team’s equipment had been shipped ahead, and it would be returned to them later, by an operative from the Club Bwua’tu resistance society. But Bazel also knew the impostor wouldn’t be searching his friends at all if she hadn’t sensed that something was amiss. He had to find a way to distract her before she confirmed her suspicions . . . a way that wouldn’t seem like it was a distraction.
Vaala clamped a three-fingered hand around one of Bazel’s stubby fingers and quietly bent it back against the joint. “Mighty Masher, sir, we need to focus on our match.” She tried to lead him through the cordon-beams back into the processing line. “The, uh, championship is still on, even if a couple of competitors can’t make it to the arena.” Balling his hand into a fist to stop Vaala from hurting his finger,
Bazel remained where he was. If a pair of clever Bothans couldn’t make it past the immigration inspectors, he replied quietly, there was no reason to think he could. Besides, they didn’t know how many of their peers had already been captured, and if the Sith caught even two teams of infiltrators trying to sneak onto the planet, the Jedi would find themselves attacking without the advantage of surprise, and the battle would grow very big very fast. A lot of innocent civilians would get caught in the crossfire, maybe a million of them, and Bazel wasn’t going to allow that. He was going to find another way.
Seff exhaled in exasperation. “What other way?”
Bazel wasn’t sure. Maybe he could go on a rampage. That would draw attention away from Yaqeel and Yantahar.
“Don’t you think that would be a bit obvious, Mighty Masher, sir?”
Bazel nodded. Tactical planning wasn’t his strong point, he re- minded them, but he could tell that Seff and Vaala just wanted to follow orders, and that meant he had to develop his own idea. Maybe he could just bull ahead to the front of the line and try to push past the processing station.
“And get yourself arrested instead?” Seff lowered his voice to a whisper. “Do you really think you can outwit an interrogator better than a pair of Bothans?”
Bazel had to admit that was unlikely. What he needed was to present the impostor-captain with another reason for the anxiety she seemed to be sensing in Yaqeel’s and Yantahar’s Force auras. He thought for a moment, then turned back toward the line he had just left and opened himself to the Force.
Soon he felt the same cool haze of fear he had noticed earlier, a cloud of uncertainty and dismay centered on a small cluster of amphibious Ishi Tib who had clearly not been informed of the new security procedures on Coruscant. The three females were shuffling forward reluctantly, propelled by the pressure of the crowd at their backs, while their male escort was slowly swiveling his eyestalks about, trying to appear casual as he searched for a way to bypass the inspection station. All four carried identical luggage—large kaadu-hide traveling cases with matching satchels slung over their shoulders—and it was obvious by their reluctance to set their baggage on the floor that they were as worried about losing it as they were about being caught with the contents.
Bazel stepped back through the cordon-beam. Using the Force, he gently opened a path in front of him, then began to work his way toward the pod of smugglers. Seff and Vaala followed close on his heels, Seff grabbing for his sleeve.
“Masher, the inspection station is the other way.”
Bazel growled that Seff and Vaala should go on. He had a better plan.
“I’m not sure changing plans is a good idea at the moment,” Vaala objected. “The promoters are counting on you.”
The promoters were counting on them all, Bazel reminded her, and if he saw a way to save Yaqeel and Yantahar, he was going to try it. He came to an Aqualish couple who had taken advantage of the path he had opened to sneak forward. The pair glared at him defiantly, daring him to object. He merely shouldered them aside and stepped over to the Ishi Tib, who instinctively shied away and looked as though they were going to flee.
Bazel distracted them by raising his stubby-fingered hand in a calming gesture, then spoke in Basic, warning them about the securit...
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Book Description LucasBooks, 2012. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0345509226
Book Description Del Rey, 2012. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0345509226
Book Description Condition: New. NEW. Seller Inventory # WR 62
Book Description Del Rey, 2012. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110345509226