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Star Wars: Choices of One
 
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Star Wars: Choices of One [Format Kindle]

Timothy Zahn

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Extrait

CHAPTER ONE

The last hyperspace jump had been a tricky one, starting as it did in one minor star system barely on the charts and ending in another even more obscure one. But the ISD Chimaera’s officers and crew were the finest in the galaxy, and as Commander Gilad Pellaeon looked over the repeater display he confirmed that they’d made the jump precisely.

He strode down the command walkway, gazing at the Chimaera’s long prow, wondering what in space they were doing here. The Chimaera was an Imperial Star Destroyer, a kilometer and a half of heavy armor and awesome weaponry, the very symbol and expression of Imperial power and authority. Even the arrogant anarchists of the Rebellion hesitated before going up against ships like this.

So with that same Rebellion boiling ever more loudly and violently across the Empire, with Lord Vader himself tasked with tracking down and destroying their leadership, what in the name of Imperial Center was the Chimaera doing on passenger transport duty?

“This is insane,” Captain Calo Drusan muttered as he came up beside Pellaeon. “What in the galaxy is Command thinking of?”

“It does seem a bit odd,” Pellaeon said diplomatically. “But I’m sure they have their reasons.”

Drusan snorted. “If you believe that, you’re a fool. Imperial Center has gone top-heavy with politicians, professional flatterers, and incompetents. Reason and intelligence went down the garbage chutes a long time ago.” He gestured at the starlit sky in front of them. “My guess is that someone’s just trying to impress everyone with his ability to move fleet units around.”

“Could be, sir,” Pellaeon said, a small shiver running up his back. In general, Drusan was right about the way the Imperial court was going, though even a ship’s captain shouldn’t be discussing such things out loud.

In this case, however, Drusan was wrong . . . because this particular order hadn’t come from some flunky at Imperial Center. That was how it had looked, and how it was clearly intended to look.

Unlike the captain, though, Pellaeon hadn’t taken the order at face value, but had taken the time to run a backtrack. While it had indeed come through proper channels from Imperial Center, it hadn’t originated there. It had, in fact, come from an undisclosed location in the Outer Rim.

According to the top-secret dispatches Drusan had shared with his senior officers, that was where Grand Admiral Zaarin was right now, quietly touring the edge of Imperial space aboard the ISD Predominant.

Which strongly implied that the Chimaera’s orders had come from the Grand Admiral himself.

“Incoming ship, Captain,” the sensor officer called from the starboard crew pit. “Just jumped into the system. Sensors read it as a Kazellis-class light freighter.”

Drusan whistled softly. “A Kazellis,” he commented. “That’s a rare bird--they stopped making those years ago. We have an ID yet?”

“Yes, sir,” the comm officer called from the portside crew pit. “Code response confirms it’s the Salaban’s Hope.”

Pellaeon cocked an eyebrow. Not only had their mysterious passenger arrived, but he’d arrived within minutes of the Chimaera’s own appearance. Either he had a highly developed sense of timing, or he was remarkably lucky.

“Vector?” Drusan asked.

“Directly starboard,” the sensor officer called. “Range, eighty kilometers.”

Not only practically on top of the Chimaera in time, but in position, as well. Pellaeon’s estimation of the freighter’s pilot went up another couple of notches.

Of course, not everyone saw it that way. “Kriffing fool,” Drusan grunted. “What’s he trying to do, run us down?”

Pellaeon took a few steps forward and peered out the starboard viewport. Sure enough, the glow of a sublight drive was just barely visible out there against the background stars.

Except that the glow shouldn’t have been visible. Not at that distance. Not unless the pilot was hauling his sublights for all they were worth, and then some.

And the only reason someone would do that . . .

“Captain, I recommend we go to full alert,” Pellaeon said urgently, turning back to Drusan. “That ship’s running from something.”

For a moment Drusan didn’t reply, his eyes flicking past Pellaeon’s shoulder to the approaching freighter. With an effort, Pellaeon forced himself to remain silent, letting his captain work through the logic in his own unhurried, methodical way.

Finally, to his relief, Drusan stirred. “Full alert,” the captain called. “And reconfirm that identity code. Just in case he’s not running from anyone, but is thinking of ramming us.”

Pellaeon turned back to the viewport, hoping he’d been able to keep his bewilderment from showing before the captain could see it. Did Drusan honestly believe anyone would be stupid enough and suicidal enough to try such an insane stunt? Even the lunatics of the Rebellion knew better than that. Still, as long as Drusan’s paranoid assumption got the shields up and the turbolasers charging--

“Incoming!” the sensor officer snapped. “Six unidentified ships jumping in, bearing in sweep-cluster pattern behind the Salaban’s Hope.”

“Come about,” Drusan said, his voice taking on an edge of eagerness. The captain loved it when he had a chance to fire the Chimaera’s turbolasers at something. “All turbolasers to full power.”

Pellaeon grimaced. As usual, Drusan was following standard combat procedure.

Only in this case, standard procedure wasn’t going to work. By the time the Chimaera was ready to fire, the attackers would have caught up with the Salaban’s Hope and be swarming it.

But if the Chimaera threw power to its sublight engines and headed straight toward the freighter, they might scare off the attackers, or at least give them a moment of pause. Closing the distance would also mean getting to the turbolasers’ effective range a little sooner. “Captain, if I may suggest--”

“No, you may not, Commander,” Drusan cut him off calmly. “This is no time for your fancy theories of combat.”

“Captain, the Salaban’s Hope is hailing us,” the comm officer called. “Lord Odo requests your immediate attention.”

Pellaeon frowned. Lord Odo was the sort of name that belonged in the Imperial court, not way out here in the Outer Rim. What would a member of the court be doing this far from Imperial Center?

“Put him through,” Drusan ordered.

“Yes, sir.” There was a click--

“Captain Drusan, this is Lord Odo,” a melodious voice said from the bridge speaker. “As you may have noted, I’ve come under attack.”

“I have indeed, Lord Odo,” Drusan said. “We’re charging the turbolaser batteries now.”

“Excellent,” Odo said. “In the meantime, may I request you shunt all other available power to the tractor beams and pull--”

“Not a good idea, my lord,” Drusan warned. “At this range, a full-power tractor beam could severely damage your hull.”

“That you shunt all power to the tractor beams,” Odo repeated, a sudden edge to his voice, “and pull the two endmost attackers toward you.”

“And if we breach--” Belatedly, Drusan broke off. “Oh. Yes. Yes, I understand. Ensign Caln, tractors on the two endmost raiders--lock up, and reel in.”

Pellaeon turned back to the viewport, a lump in his throat. The engine flares of the attacking ships were visible now, blazing against the stars as they drove hard on the Salaban’s Hope’s stern. Drusan had been right about the dangers of full-power tractor beams at this range. Clearly, that was what Odo was hoping for, that the Chimaera’s tractors would be strong enough to crack or even shatter the raiders’ hulls.

But if the attackers’ ships were stronger than Odo thought, all the maneuver would accomplish would be to pull two of the raiders forward into close-fire range faster and easier than they could manage on their own.

At which point the Salaban’s Hope would have enemy lasers behind it and on both flanks, and it was unlikely that it would have enough shield capacity to handle all three. Hissing softly between his teeth, Pellaeon watched.

Abruptly, the two pursuing ships on the ends began corkscrewing violently, their drive trails spinning like children’s windsparklers. “Tractors engaged,” the tractor officer called. “Attackers locked and coming toward us.”

“Any signs of hull fractures?” Drusan asked.

“Nothing registering, sir,” the sensor officer reported.

“Acknowledged,” Drusan said. “So much for that,” he added to Pellaeon.

“Well, at least they can’t fire on the Salaban’s Hope,” Pellaeon pointed out. “Not with that helix yaw.”

“Difficult to get a stable targeting lock that way,” Drusan agreed reluctantly. “But not impossible.”

And then, suddenly, Pellaeon got it. Odo wasn’t just hoping the Chimaera’s tractors would tear the attacking ships apart. He was letting the Imperials pull the raiders up alongside him, banking on the helix yaw to interfere with their own firing long enough--

He was still working through the logic when the Salaban’s Hope’s lasers flashed to either side, bl...

Présentation de l'éditeur

2011 marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Star Wars: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn, the #1 New York Times hardcover bestseller that relaunched the entire Star Wars publishing program. To celebrate this historic event, Zahn returns to Star Wars with a brand-new novel of adventure, action, and intrigue starring the young Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa, and the beloved Mara Jade!

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 807 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 450 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0099542633
  • Editeur : Cornerstone Digital (31 mars 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B007BLOCL4
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°49.111 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  140 commentaires
56 internautes sur 56 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Another great Zahn adventure 19 juillet 2011
Par Shane - AFR - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Star Wars: Choices of One, reintroduces Timothy Zahn back to the Star Wars universe and does so with his usual stellar storytelling and intricate story arcs. Set nearly a year after the events of the battle at Yavin, Zahn brings us back to a time when Luke Skywalker is still a young man trying to find his way in the vast and sometimes dark galaxy he calls home. Along with fan favorites Han Solo, Princess Leia and the now fallen Mara Jade and Chewie, Luke Skywalker sets forth to find a new base to stage their next moves against the Imperial armament.

Tim Zahn has always been a compass within the Expanded Universe as to how Star Wars books should be written. With storylines that weave together several story arcs Zahn leaves the reader hanging by a thread until the very end when he weaves them all back together leaving the reader stunned.

In this book Zahn writes the main characters spot-on, capturing their personalities and verbal qwips just as they where when they appeared on the big screen. Zahn also builds on his previous creations written over the last few decades to advance the characters involvement with each other. I found the book to be very well written and incredibly smooth. There was very little filler usually found in some Star Wars books and I was very happy that there was so much story within the covers. Why books have become 264 page short stories is beyond me.

The story was very fun and action packed. It was nice to see Mara Jade once again kicking butt and taking names. All-in-all a great read and worth the hardcover sticker price. My advice, pick it up and enjoy.
36 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I haven't had this much fun in the Star Wars EU for far too long! 4 août 2011
Par Crystal Starr Light - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I haven't had this much fun in the Star Wars EU for far too long!

A new villain at the edges of Unknown Space is rising: Nuso Esva. He is gathering alien races together with the intent of toppling Thrawn and the Empire. Meanwhile, Han, Luke, and Leia have a mission: the world of Candoras, on the edge of Known Space, ruled by Governor Ferrouz, is extending an offer to join the Rebel Alliance. But can they seal the deal before the Emperor's Hand, Mara Jade, and the Hand of Judgement get to him first?

Timothy Zahn is my absolute favorite author, and this book just showcases all the reasons why I will buy pretty much anything he produces in hardcover.

In Zahn's hands, the characters flourish. This time around, I felt Mara Jade was better (not so "super-powered" as I found in "Allegiance"). Sure, she is still really powerful and highly competent, but she makes mistakes and is duped like anyone else. Thrawn also appears and is great. I only have two complaints about him: 1) he was not in the book enough and 2) it was slightly confusing WHERE he was (though that might have been done on purpose, and if that is the case, then it was well done). Luke Skywalker is so well-done in this book! He is just a dorky, naive kid! Zahn perfectly captures his awkward "not yet a Jedi" stage, his innocence, his idealism--basically, all the attributes we saw in "A New Hope". Han is back with a flourish and I loved how he chaffed at not being informed of all of Rieekan's plans. Leia is likewise great, nice and snappy, but never treading into b!tchy territory. And the sparks these two have...WOWSER! The stormtrooper deserters of Hand of Judgement are superb and are really beginning to become their own. I felt like Zahn is doing for the stormtroopers what Traviss did for the clonetroopers, and I am loving it. Each character is really blossoming--I adored how Brightwater had a lucky gold coin, how trigger happy Grave was, etc.

As for newcomers, Axlon and Ferrouz COMPLETELY stunned me. Both of these men refuse to be put into Star Wars EU stereotypes. I can't really say a whole lot more than that as it would completely blow the surprise and spoil the hell out of the novel, but when I got to the big revelation, I wanted to cry tears of joy. Just when I thought that new ideas, that unstereotypical characters were never going to appear in EU, Zahn comes in.

I happen to be a huge Empire Junkie, and I really loved how Zahn refused to make the Empire the Bad GuysTM. Sure, they oppose our heroes, but never once does Zahn make his Imperials goofy villains, chuckling about how powerful they are only to fail when faced against overpowered Luke, having Imperials undermine each other at every cost only for the power, and having the Imperials have little regard for human life. It's something I've said time and again: While I can 100% buy that SOME Imperials are trigger-happy, power-hungry mongrels, you can't have an Empire last for any length of time when all of its citizens are biting at each other to get on top. If there is NOTHING good about the Empire, how come it wasn't overthrown Day Two after "Revenge of the Sith"?

The plot this time was much more cohesive and interesting. I loved how Zahn pulled in all the characters on something seemingly unrelated, only to have it tie together in the end. Now, I will admit there were tons of times where I was wondering what was happening, and even at the end, I asked myself, "So...why did X happen?" Fortunately, Zahn had a little "Summary of What the Enemy Did", which normally I didn't like, but this time I appreciated.

One minor quibble I had was on the words, or should I say, the overusage of words. Zahn very much relies on "Point", "winced", "grimaced", and more in his writing, and I'd be lying if I said that it didn't bug me or at least jump out at me. All these diverse characters, and they all "wince" and "grimace" when something bad happens? Another somewhat closely related complaint I have is how pretty much everyone makes the "right", "intelligent" choice that leads to a perfect outcome in the end. For example, if Mara makes a plan, she hopes that Bad Guy A will move left, so she can do X, which will do Y. And whaddya know? Bad Guy A moves left. After a while, it was a bit crazy.

I came down a bit hard on "Allegiance" (maybe it didn't seem that way, but I am a Zahn fan girl, and I didn't give it a glowing review, as I have with his other works), and I wasn't sure if I would really want to read more of Mara Jade, the Hand of Judgement, and our Big Three (Han, Luke, Leia). But Zahn has restored my faith in him; this book is a joy to read, reminiscent of "A New Hope" and all the things I adore about Star Wars. Definitely recommended!

Brought to you by:
*C.S. Light*
15 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Seems Like Old Times! 25 juillet 2011
Par Jacen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I enjoyed Choices of One more than Allegiance, it's predecessor. In fact I enjoyed it more than the past couple of FOTJ books. Perhaps all of them. Yes Zahn contradicted and kind of embellished some of Mara's abilities with the lightsaber but I could brush it off. I'm not married to the exactitude of the finer details of canon at the expense of a good story. Especially when it's Zahn. And this was a good story that was well executed. Sure, Mara could have used the lightaber less and I'd have been happier but this was one dense little pot boiler with a lot going on. I even appreciated how Luke wasn't the Force demigod that he is in most post ROTJ novels. He wasn't the centre of the novel at all. He was just where he would be at this point in the timeline. It was nice to see what will probably be the last of Luke portrayed as such an inexperienced novice. And I finally appreciated Han and Leia again! I mean I HATE them from LOTF on but this was classic Han, Chewie and Leia. Han was utterly indispensable in this book and his cockiness and insight weren't the rantings of an old man long past his prime. Next to Thrawn and maybe Mara Jade, Han is the most intelligent character in the book. He did stuff that mattered and didn't bore me. Who'd a thunk?

The Thrawn stuff wasn't overly complicated. It was easy to figure out a few reveals but some still made their way to surprise me. All in all a great old fashioned Star Wars story that is leaps and bounds more interesting than Allegiance.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 choices of none 2 août 2012
Par Enjolras - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Timothy Zahn's Star Wars books are the only ones I read nowadays. I was excited for Choices of One because the concepts of the Rebellion's search for a new base and Thrawn facing an alien warlord sounded like a surefire combination for a book. Unfortunately, something about this book just didn't gel for me. The two plot threads seem forced together, as if Zahn felt like he couldn't write a book just about the Rebels looking for a new base or just about Thrawn facing an alien warlord. There's too much going on, and as such the book feels shallow.

First, the plot of the Rebels looking for a base. Ideally this could have been a great chance to explore the characters of key Rebel characters in between ANH and ESB. Zahn handled Han, Luke, and Leia so beautifully in the Heir to the Empire series and I loved some of the character development in Allegiance, particularly the early flirtation between Han and Leia. Allegiance also used General Carlist Rieekan to good effect.

Choices of One started off well in this regard. We see Han feeling left out of command decisions and wanting to take a greater role in the Rebellion. Zahn handles Han's motives deftly, throwing in a combination of impressing Leia, wanting the respect of his officers, and pure inertia. Han really does grow in this book and I feel like I finally understand why he stuck around with the Rebels after the Battle of Yavin. Also, the dynamic between Rieekan and Han is wonderful, something I wish Zahn explored a bit further.

Unfortunately, the other characters don't get their due. Leia and Chewbacca are almost non-entities in this book. At least in Allegiance, Leia was used as the chief negotiator. Here, that role is taken up by a professional diplomat. There's a good reason for this - which I won't spoil here - but it means Leia's thrown into a bunch of odd situations, including as gunner for a snowspeeder, where she doesn't quite fit.

Luke really suffers in this novel. I know he isn't yet the confident Jedi Master we see after ROTJ, but even so he comes across as naive and almost doddering. He barely knows how to use a lightsaber and doesn't even seem to be able to use the force to improve his accuracy with a blaster. In several scenes he practically just stands around unsure of what to do. The Hand of Judgement stormtroopers and Mara both even comment on his apparent ineptitude. Fans of Luke will be sorely disappointed with this book.

Perhaps even more surprising, Zahn's very own Mara Jade has several moments of ineptitude and silliness as well. Mara and Luke are in the same room fighting a bunch of thugs, but Mara doesn't seem to sense that Luke is Force sensitive. Moreover, she knows his last name is Skywalker, but doesn't even think to check if this is the same Force sensitive Skywalker who blew up the Death Star. For the Empire, Luke around this time was like Osama bin Laden in October 2001 and to think that Mara would not have even checked into his identity, much less do everything possible to capture him, strains belief.

The other part of the story focuses on a confrontation against an alien warlord, Nuso Esva. Nuso Esva is the Moriarty to Thrawn's Sherlock Holmes. I love the idea of Thrawn nearly meeting his match in an alien warlord. Nuso Esva does remind me of Moriarty, resorting to kidnapping, extortion, and bribes to get others to do his bidding. Zahn plays off our expectations with Thrawn to good effect and around three-quarters of the way into the novel we get an absolutely brilliant plot twist.

While I generally enjoyed this part of the book, the motivations of some of Nuso Esva's underlings are a bit unclear. Despite the title of the book, many of the characters seems to make foolish choices, trusting the vague promises of an alien warlord. I can't say more without spoiling the plot, but I'll just say that there are one or two points where the plot doesn't seem well thought out.

Unlike a lot of fans, I thought the Hand of Judgment in the first book brought a fun new dimension to Star Wars. Getting to know the stormtroopers made the Empire seem more real and the Empire's treatment of loyal men with a conscious shows the roots of its corruption. Choices of One gives the Hand of Judgment an even larger and more interesting role. We see the stormtroopers grow to respect aliens. I also love Zahn's depiction of the team during the heat of battle. Because we don't know the fate of these men, readers can actually worry about the fate of these characters. It's refreshing.

I've been a bit harsh on this novel partly because I still have faith in Zahn as the best writer in Star Wars. I absolutely love his willingness to explore the years in between ANH and ESB. Zahn also writes the best Han Solo of anybody in the EU. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, Choices of One suffers from uneven characterization and overly complicated plot with not enough payoff. Despite that, the book is still worth reading for fans of the Original Trilogy and Mara Jade. There are some fun moments. Just don't expect a classic.

Overall, 3.5 stars. That's low for a Zahn book, but still better than 90% of the Star Wars books out there.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 What Star Wars should be! 27 juillet 2011
Par Lisa - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat authentifié par Amazon
When an Outer Rim governor offers the Rebel Alliance a full-fledged base in return for help defending against an alien warlord the Rebels are left wondering if this is a genuine offer or an elaborate trap. Meanwhile, Mara Jade - the Emperor's Hand - is sent to the same sector to deal with its traitor governor.

I haven't truly enjoyed a Star Wars novel since the New Jedi Order series began and the only thought I had after reading the latest Fate of the Jedi book was "OK, I'm ready for a reboot" so, leave it to Timothy Zahn to make Star Wars fun for me again. Zahn has a grasp on Star Wars and its characters that no other author can compare to. This is a book about choices and how a choice made by a single individual affects the lives of others.

It was fun reading about naïve, inexperienced Luke opposed to the super-ultra-mega Jedi Luke of recent years. And it was nice to see Han making the not-so-smooth transition from smuggler to officer in Rebel Alliance. It wasn't until after I'd finished the book that I realized there wasn't any mentions of R2 or 3P0. And, even though it would've fit into the timeframe this novel takes place in, there is no Luke/Leia/Han love triangle to be seen. I've been quite bitter over Mara Jade's fate in the Legacy of the Force series so, as far as I'm concerned, the more Mara the better.

All in all, 'Choices of One' is a solid Star Wars story and makes me even more excited for the re-release of 'Heir to the Empire'. 4.5 Stars.
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