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1. The Domino Pattern
2. The Last Command (Star Wars: The
3. Dragon and Herdsman: The Fourth
4. Heir to the Empire (Star Wars:
5. Dragon and Thief: The First Dragonback
6. Cobra Alliance: Cobra War: Book
7. Dark Force Rising (Star Wars:
8. Odd Girl Out
9. Specter of the Past (Star Wars:
10. The Third Lynx (Quadrail SF Thrillers)
11. Triplet
12. Blackcollar: The Judas Solution
13. Manta's Gift
14. Outbound Flight (Star Wars)
15. Allegiance (Star Wars)
16. Conquerors' Heritage (The Conquerors
17. Terminator Salvation: From the
18. Survivor's Quest (Star Wars)
19. The Cobra Trilogy
20. Night Train to Rigel (Quadrail

1. The Domino Pattern
by Timothy Zahn
Mass Market Paperback: 384 Pages (2010-08-31)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765361930
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Frank Compton used to be an agent for the security forces of Earth, but that was a piece of cake compared to what he’s had to deal with working for the aliens who run the Quadrail, an interstellar transportation system connecting a dozen civilizations across the galaxy.

 He’s been trying to end the domination of an alien lifeform called the Modhri. This enormously powerful creature wants to rule the galaxy by controlling the thoughts of all its citizens. It does so by having parts of itself “infect” others on contact, and act as agents for it without them being aware they’re being manipulated. When Frank and his assistant Bayta journey to investigate a connection between the Modhri and the Filiaelians, they come up against a conspiracy on the Quadrail.

Passengers are being murdered…but something besides murder haunts the Quadrail. A plot is brewing that even the Modhri fears. And once again, Frank and Bayta may be the only ones who can stop it.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars A little tedious
Everything other reviewers have said about this being a combination of mystery and science fiction is true and in general it was well done.That being said, it was a slow read for me.I kept putting the novel down for something else and coming back to it later.The story just seemed to drag from one eliminated suspect to the next, with intermittent new murders offering clues that often contradicted the previous clues.Typical murder mystery in a locked room, I suppose, but I don't read a lot of those.The resolution was satisfying, but needs a familiarity with the previous novels in the series to be fully appreciated.And then the series is off on a new tangent, which I am looking forward to.Now that Zahn has done the murder in a locked room, maybe the next novel will be something different.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun murder myster in a rich universe
I have long enjoyed stories by Timothy Zahn.My favorite Zahn is a short story called "Pawn's Gambit."I have read his Cobra series and the Blackcollar series.I never got into his Star Wars books.

Recently I was browsing at the library in the new books section and came across a new Zahn book, The Domino Pattern. This is the forth book in another series.I had not read the other three.

The Domino Pattern is a murder mystery set on a train between stars.Our hero and his sidekick are humans struggling to survive in a hostile galaxy.Frank Compton, the hero, tries to figure who killed an alien, and why was the alien killed.Frank is also struggling with forces from highly antagonistic aliens who want to conquer the galaxy.

The solution is not the same, but I was frequently reminded of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express.

This is a pleasant book.I had trouble putting it down.It was captivating and satisfying.The conclusion was good.(Too often the solution for a murder mystery is weak.)I'll keep my eye out for more books in the Quadrail series.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Domino Pattern Delivers
Timothy Zahn's Quadrail series provides enjoyable popcorn reading. In the first three novels, Zahn seems to promise a train-bound murder-mystery, only to take the action off the train, returning just in time to wrap-up.

With The Domino Pattern, Zahn fulfills on this long-promised train-murder-mystery, delivering a focused, tightly-paced story. The Domino Pattern is a solid tribute to Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. As does Dame Agatha, Zahn keeps the reader close to his his detective, taking us along for a ride. And an enjoyable ride it is.

The Domino Pattern is my favorite Quadrail entry so far, to no little degree because Zahn capably captures one of my favorite genres. He would have earned my fifth star if he had invoked the surprise I felt at the end of Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. But that particular twist would better suit a final chapter rather than a middle act.

For both sci-fi fans and mystery buffs, The Domino Pattern delivers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Threat Realized
The Domino Pattern (2009) is the fourth SF novel in the Quadrail series, following Odd Girl Out.In the previous volume, Compton got Rebekah free from the Modhri.He then told the Chahwyn what he knew of their secrets.The Elder asked that Compton keep a secret from Bayta.

In this novel, Frank Compton is a former agent of Western Alliance Intelligence.Now he works for the Chahwyn, who created the Spiders and the whole Quadrail system.He is their chief operative against the Modhri.

Bayta is a hybrid of human and Chahwyn.She is telepathic on the spider wavelength and can communicate with them undetectably.So she is Compton's liaison with the Spiders.

Whitman Kennrick is an employee of Pelloran Medical Systems, escorting some aliens back home from a meeting.His charges are four Shorshians and four Filiaelians from the contact team negotiating the licensing of genetic manipulation techniques.

Witherspoon is a human doctor and passenger on the superexpress.He also works for Pelloran Medical Systems.

In this story, Compton and Bayta are taking the superexpress train to the other side of the galaxy.They have business within Filiaelian space.They are both concerned about being on the train for six weeks, although the other options would only take longer.Who knows how many Modhri Eyes and Walkers would be aboard.

Compton notices a human shepherding some Fillies into the train and wonders who he is.He doesn't have an opportunity to learn the man's name until two weeks later.Bayta awakens him with word that there has been a poisoning on the train.

Since the Spiders have very thorough sensing equipment in every station, no passengers should have been able to smuggle any poison aboard the train.Compton learns that the victim is a Shorshian, who are very susceptible to even slight amounts of poison. After reaching the dispensary, he notices Kennrick approaching.

Compton catches up with Kennrick and asks him who he is.He learns that Kennrick had been involved in a Westali case long ago.Then he learns that the Shorshian is one of Kennrick's charges.

Compton has problems discovering what poison had been used.At first the victim was unconscious and then died on the table.His closest kin refuses to let the doctors desecrate the body by taking samples.

After the second poisoning, Compton gets some samples and determines that the poison is cadmium.Although the Spider sensors would detect the pure metal, it is possible that the killer had removed the metal from a finished product.Yet Compton doesn't really know where it came from and such information is necessary to determine the identity of the killer.

Compton gets the Spiders to open a filtration unit in the compartment to check for cadmium in the atmosphere.Meanwhile, he tries to learn whether the victims could have ingested the cadmium in their food.In so far as he can determine, that method could not have been used.

Compton and Witherspoon answer an emergency call and are ambushed. Both are knocked unconscious.Later, Compton has the doctor make a thorough inventory of his medical bag contents and discovers that a hypodermic syringe is missing.

This tale takes Compton and Bayta into a different form of conspiracy.A Modhri mind is also aboard and even asks Compton to allow it to help in the investigation.Compton finds his plans changing many times during the trip.

Compton is forced to tell Bayta about the defender Spiders, but Bayta already knows about them.Now she is angry with Compton for not telling her before.And he is mad with the Chahwyn for asking him to not mention it to her.

The situation is much worst than they expected.The next installment in this series should be released sometime soon.Read and enjoy!

Highly recommended for Zahn fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of train excursions, alien societies, and human ingenuity.For anyone who is not familiar with this series, the initial volume is Night Train to Rigel.

-Arthur W. Jordin

4-0 out of 5 stars If the rest of the series is as good as this I'll be along for the ride.
This is the fourth novel of the Quadrail series. The plot in it's most basic form is quite simple. It's Murder on the Quadrail Express, literally, and our intrepid heroes hunt down the killer. I didn't give it the 5 stars the others did because I felt it did waffle on a little in the middle. That's only a minor whinge on my behalf though. The last twenty pages round off what is a very good book in it's own right, and adds a new twist to the overall story linking all four books so far. You'll have to read that twist for yourself, as to write it here would be a huge spoiler and ruin the book for those who haven't read it yet.

Is it worth reading? Most definately yes, but read the first three first! ... Read more

2. The Last Command (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 3)
by Timothy Zahn
Paperback: 496 Pages (1994-01-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553564927
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In the conclusion to the trilogy, Luke and Leia face personal danger as they defend themselves and the newborn Jedi twins against the twisted ambitions of the Dark Jedi C'baoth. 300,000 first printing. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (161)

5-0 out of 5 stars I loved it.
This book it self was really good and I love how this trilogy leads things for the other novels that come after it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece
I first read this book 15 years ago, and it hasn't lost its magic. While much of the rest of the Star Wars Expanded Universe has become bogged down with irrelevant characters and unrealistic plot twists, Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire Trilogy actually manages to recapture the feeling of the original Star Wars trilogy. The original characters all play great roles and the ploy is well paced. More important, this book introduced several of the Expanded Universe's most beloved characters, from Mara Jade to Grand Admiral Thrawn. I did think Zahn did go a bit overboard with C'baoth at the end. However, Thrawn's ending is easily one of the most dramatic of any in the Expanded Universe. Overall, this trilogy is required reading for any Star Wars fan (the other books - not so much). Too bad there hasn't been anything to match this since the early 1990s.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read for Long-time Fans and Newcomers Alike
Zahn was one of the first authors to come up with his own Star Wars plot, back in 1991. He's so great that many Star Wars authors will give him a nod in their "Acknowledgements" section. He deserves it.

This trilogy is thrilling. If you don't know anything about Star Wars, this is a great place to get started - just watch the original 3 movies and you'll be all right. If you're a well-read Star Wars fan, you must read this book - Zahn created the characters of Grand Admiral Thrawn, Mara Jade, and Talon Karrde - possibly three of the most interesting characters in the Star Wars cast.

The plot is fascinating. Though it's been 5 years since the destruction of the second Death Star and the death of Darth Vader and the Emperor, the New Republic is suddenly put on the defensive when Thrawn gathers what's left of the Empire's resources to subtlety bring down the New Republic. While you have to root for the "good guys", you are forced to respect Thrawn because he is such a tactical genius.

Zahn also does wonderfully in preserving the essence of all the movie characters - Threepio is still a priss, Han is still an incurably sardonic rogue, Lando is still a diehard businessman with a soft spot, and Luke and Leia are still... Luke and Leia. The writing is very good for this genre, and the books are perfectly paced.

Zahn takes you all around the galaxy of Star Wars, showing you just how big it really is. You get to see Chewie's home world of Kashyyyk, meet a new alien race - the Noghri, and discover a lost fleet of two hundred Dreadnaughts. This trilogy reads quickly, is authentic, and has crazy twists. You won't know who to side with - the New Republic or the remnants of the Empire and its Dark Side weapon.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Your destiny is in your heands...in the end you're the one who makes the decisions"
"Your destiny is in your heands...in the end you're the one who makes the decisions"
The final entry in the esteemed Thrawn Trilogy!
The Katana fleet is Thrawn's and he has been using it quite liberally--along with a new breed of clones--to slow take back all the ground lost to the New Republic.The New Republic is scrambling desperately, but to no hope.The Republic's only chance of warding off the Empire is to destroy the unending supply of Imperial clones.And it will take the collaboration of long-time enemies to win.
NOTE: Spoilers from the previous two novels may appear.

I Liked:
Another tough section to write as I want to include everything from the previous two novels!
In this third book, Zahn steps up the threat of Thrawn by allowing him to capture the Katana fleet and be successful in his takeover of worlds.Too often, a villain is "dangerous" or "evil" because the author writes it.But the villain never does anything that really threatens the heroes and makes the reader wonder who will come out on top.This is certainly not so with The Last Command.I was a bit worried earlier on in the trilogy, when Thrawn's expertise was lauded and yet he seemed to fail at every venue.While this was notable in making Thrawn fallible, it was also possibly hurting his reputation and believability as a true villain.I shouldn't have worried.Zahn followed up with a nice little win for Thrawn, and now the stakes are truly high and our heroes do have something real to worry over.
I've talked endlessly about the characters, Luke, Leia, and Han, so I won't really add anything, other than they are, as always, fabulous.I also love how Zahn gets the credit for creating the Solo twins, who would make such an impression in the New Jedi Order and the Legacy of the Force series.But I also love the path that Mara's story is taking.In many ways, the Thrawn trilogy is her trilogy.She grows, from a nomadic smuggler, running from her past, to a Rebel embracing her future.Mara realizes the Empire is dead and will never return, that the Emperor may not have always told the truth, and perhaps she doesn't want to kill Luke after all.Her growth in this trilogy is truly amazing.And while she does tread the Mary Sue line, well, I can handle it.
I really like how Zahn brought in the clones and references to the Clone Wars.While much of our knowledge of the Clone Wars has changed with the prequels, I like seeing how his ideas still fit or can be worked into the "new" universe.It's also interesting to think about how the Force behaves around clones.I hope someone gets a chance to talk about that.
Also, I applaud Zahn for his nice, crisp conclusion.Not too long and preachy, hopeful, yet tinged with solemnity.The universe has been saved...but the New Republic still has a long way to go.

I Didn't Like:
I really have to be nit-picky yet again in order to come up with anything for this section.
While I like the clones, Zahn doesn't give them much of a personality (apparently, a plague of being bred in an ysalamiri environment) nor does he give much indication of what happens to them afterwards.
The concept of the ysalamiri even seems to have changed since Heir.In Heir, Luke never senses the dark void the ysalamiri create, allowing himself to be captured.Here, Luke and Mara can sense that Mount Tantiss is shrouded in darkness, meaning they wouldn't be able to use the Force.
Petty, but I was a little perturbed that the Solo-Skywalker clan can jail-break Mara and receive no repercussions.Just another thing that makes me wonder if the New Republic is going to be quickly corrupted.

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
Leia gives birth to her twins and breast-feeds them.
Several characters die.Luke, Han, Lando, Chewie, and Mara are sent to Wayland to destroy the cloning facility.

Some things age well with time, others don't.I've read a few older Star Wars novels that just haven't quite stood the test of time.I can happily state that the Thrawn Trilogy isn't one of them.
As a review of both the last book and the series as a whole, the Thrawn Trilogy is in short brilliant.There is no doubt at all that this is Star Wars.Lightsaber battles, Jedis, Imperials, smugglers, new worlds, new aliens, new technologies, new characters, Han, Luke, Leia, the Force...all are here and are masterfully written.The minute you begin reading, you are enveloped in the world and are startled when you realize you are reading Star Wars and not watching the movies!I cannot give these novels enough praise.If you are a Star Wars fan, these need to be the first novels you read.

Brought to you by:
*C.S. Light*

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
Bought this for Husband he is working on it but is actually reading so, Im happy! ... Read more

3. Dragon and Herdsman: The Fourth Dragonback Adventure
by Timothy Zahn
Mass Market Paperback: 304 Pages (2007-05-29)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$2.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765352761
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Jack Morgan has had it rough. He was orphaned at three, then lost his Uncle Virgil ten years later. But the plucky fourteen-year-old didn't know what rough was until he met Draycos, sole survivor of an advance force of alien refugees that had been brutally ambushed over the world where Jack was in hiding from the authorities. The K'da poet-warrior needed to bond with a host, or he would die; the reformed boy thief and con artist needed a friend, someone he could depend on as he tried to clear his name. Since then they've formed a unique team, determined to find and expose those responsible for the slaughter of Draycos's team.
In the months since fate threw them together, they've been through a lot. But when Jack tries to hack the computer in an office of the notorious Malison Ring, their quest nearly ends in the jaws of that mercenary organization's trap.
Luckily, Alison Kayna, a girl Jack had worked with as a reluctant mercenary for another outfit, comes to his rescue. Evading pursuit, they escape to the primitive world of Rho Scorvi, where she's planned a rendezvous with friends.
But at the edge of Rho Scorvi's hundred-mile-wide forest, they make a shocking discovery: traveling with a group of the planet's native Erassvas is a small lost colony of Draycos's own race, the K'da. But unlike Draycos's people, these K'da--known as Phookas--are slow, lethargic, and unintelligent. When the Malison Ring tracks the Essenay to Rho Scorvi, Jack realizes that unless he and Draycos and a reluctant Alison can lead the Phookas to safety in the forest, these unfortunate creatures will become the latest victims of the genocide that threatens to wipe out their entire race.
Jack has already been a thief, a soldier, and a slave. Now he must become a herdsman, protecting the Phookas from danger as they travel deep into the unexplored forest. But even more importantly, he must protect from the mercenaries and Alison the dark secret of the herd and Jack's poet-warrior ally. Only if they succeed do they stand a chance of surviving Rho Scorvi to continue their quest . . .
... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

3-0 out of 5 stars And Jack ends up with a herd... of non-sentient K'da
Dragon And Herdsman is the fourth book in Timothy Zahn's Dragonback series, picking up some weeks after where Dragon and Slave left off. As readers of the first three books will know, Jack, an orphan con-artist/thief (reformed, he insists) and Draykos, a warrior/poet of the dragon-like K'da, are working against a deadline to find out who was behind the attack on the advance fleet of refugee ships that Draykos' people were traveling on, an attack that left Draykos the only survivor. They originally only had two clues -- that the attack was carried out by mercenaries, and that the mercenaries had aliens known as Brummgas in their ranks. But now, after Jack's having first joined up with a mercenary group and then later having himself sold as a slave to a prominent Brummga household that also dabbles in mercenaries, they have learned more about who carried out the attack and what their overall plan is.

Having learned the name of the specific group of mercenaries involved - the Malison Ring - Jack and Draykos attempt to break in to one of their offices to search their computer for more information, but things quickly go wrong and Jack ends up captured.Only to then be unexpectedly rescued by Alison Kayna, a girl he enountered when he was in the mercenary group in Dragon And Soldier, a tough and smart character who has an unknown agenda of her own. Turns in fortune end up with Jack agreeing to take Alison to a remote undeveloped world where she is expecting to meet up with friends, but once there they find that the mercenaries have been tracking them all along and they end up stranded on the ground and fleeing for their lives.

And as if all of these turns don't make things difficult enough, Jack and Alison end up making a startling discovery:a small group of natives called the Erassvas who live in symbiosis with a herd of what they call Phookas... that seem to be non-sentient K'da:

"Just stay here and keep an eye on them, okay?" Jack cut her off. Without waiting for more argument, he strode off toward the dragons.
--He was halfway there when it belatedly occurred to him that even if they _were_ K'da, they might not be civilized. "Draykos?" he muttered, slowing down his pace a little. "What do you think? Are they all right?"
--There was no answer. "Draykos?" he repeated. "Come on, buddy, wake up."
--"Look at them, Jack," Draykos murmured darkly.
--Jack glanced down into his shirt. "What?"
--"I said look at them," Draykos said, his voice growing even darker. "Lying around, not watching for danger or threat, digging grubs -- _grubs_ -- out of dead wood."
--A chill ran up Jack's back. He studied the multicolored dragons as they wandered around, trying to see in them the powerful, clever, deadly poet-warrior that was Draykos. "But they _are_ K'da, aren't they?"
--"No," Draykos said bitterly. "Not K'da. Not anymore."
--"They are _animals_."

The action is decently-paced as Jack, Draykos and Alison are hunted through the jungles and forests by the Malison Ring mercenaries. Zahn does a good job of realistically conveying the difficulties of trying to herd a group of Phookas and their Erassvas hosts over unfamiliar terrain with only two or three individuals available to do the work. And there are some interesting developments suggesting that the symbiotic relationship between a K'da andits host may affect them both in ways not previously seen.My only problem with the book is that the things learned about the Erassvas and the Phookas raise a number of questions that are never really answered and yet you feel like they should have been. That and, again, sometimes things seem to happen because of the needs of the plot even when it requires the characters to be, well, dumber or less observant or more trusting than they should be. For this reason, I'm rating this volume 3 stars instead of 4, which is what I gave to the first two Dragonback books.

All in all though, this is a still a good continuation of the series and we can see Jack and Draycos continuing to evolve as characters, and in this volume, Alison Kayna as well. Recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book!!!
My son is hooked on this series.I couldn't buy these books fast enough to suit him.

5-0 out of 5 stars Decent Series
This entire series is vetted as for "young readers" and while it is not a complex, deep philosophical book it kept my interest through out and I am 54 so this is one I have shared with my thirteen year old and we have been equally satisfied with it.

Me because it was entertaining enough and not in anyway condenscending in tone and to my thirteen year old as the main character is fourteen. LOL.

I recommend the entire series

4-0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as the others
Zahn has a great writting style, but the plot for this book was not as compelling as the others.Still good though.

5-0 out of 5 stars Characters Develop
In this, the fourth book of the Dragonback series Timothy Zahn takes the reader to a strange planet where Draycos and Jack are being hunted by the mercenaries that hold the the information the pair need to save Draycos' people from being ambushed. On this planet they find a race of beings called the Phookas who appear to be of the same race as Draycos, but they appear to be at the level of herd animals, which makes Draycos question where he himself may actually have come from. They are acoompanied by Alison someone who Jack metDragon and Soldier: The Second Dragonback Adventure (Dragonback) with her help they defeat the mercenaries, and escape to fight another day, but Alison seems to have her own agenda. Zahn does a great job in developing the relationship between Draycos and Jack. The series keeps getting better and better. ... Read more

4. Heir to the Empire (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 1)
by Timothy Zahn
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (1992-05-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553296124
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
It's five years after Return of the Jedi: the Rebel Alliance has destroyed the Death Star, defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor, and driven out the remnants of the old Imperial Starfleet to a distant corner of the galaxy. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting Jedi Twins. And Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of Jedi Knights. But thousand of light-years away, the last of the emperor's warlords has taken command of the shattered Imperial Fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the new Republic. For this dark warrior has made two vital discoveries that could destroy everything the courageous men and women of the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to build. The explosive confrontation that results is a towering epic of action, invention, mystery, and spectacle on a galactic scale--in short, a story worthy of the name Star Wars. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (391)

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome book.
I've been reading Star Trek for a long time and this is my first book for Star Wars.Great story and can't wait to read the other 2 books of the series.

5-0 out of 5 stars I loved it
This book is really good and I do thing the Thrawn Trilogy is the best set of Star wars books out but to each there own if you do not like it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece
I first read this book 15 years ago, and it hasn't lost its magic. While much of the rest of the Star Wars Expanded Universe has become bogged down with irrelevant characters and unrealistic plot twists, Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire Trilogy actually manages to recapture the feeling of the original Star Wars trilogy. The original characters all play great roles and the ploy is well paced. More important, this book introduced several of the Expanded Universe's most beloved characters, from Mara Jade to Grand Admiral Thrawn. I personally love how Zahn spends so much time with the Imperials, using Captain Gilad Pellaeon as a narrative device to explain plot twists to the reader. This allows readers to appreciate Thrawn as a character, but also deftly manages to preserve some surprises. Overall, this trilogy is required reading for any Star Wars fan (the other books - not so much).

5-0 out of 5 stars Must-Read for Long-time Fans and Newcomers Alike
Zahn was one of the first authors to come up with his own Star Wars plot, back in 1991. He's so great that many Star Wars authors will give him a nod in their "Acknowledgements" section. He deserves it.

This trilogy is thrilling. If you don't know anything about Star Wars, this is a great place to get started - just watch the original 3 movies and you'll be all right. If you're a well-read Star Wars fan, you must read this book - Zahn created the characters of Grand Admiral Thrawn, Mara Jade, and Talon Karrde - possibly three of the most interesting characters in the Star Wars cast.

The plot is fascinating. Though it's been 5 years since the destruction of the second Death Star and the death of Darth Vader and the Emperor, the New Republic is suddenly put on the defensive when Thrawn gathers what's left of the Empire's resources to subtlety bring down the New Republic. While you have to root for the "good guys", you are forced to respect Thrawn because he is such a tactical genius.

Zahn also does wonderfully in preserving the essence of all the movie characters - Threepio is still a priss, Han is still an incurably sardonic rogue, Lando is still a diehard businessman with a soft spot, and Luke and Leia are still... Luke and Leia. The writing is very good for this genre, and the books are perfectly paced.

Zahn takes you all around the galaxy of Star Wars, showing you just how big it really is. You get to see Chewie's home world of Kashyyyk, meet a new alien race - the Noghri, and discover a lost fleet of two hundred Dreadnaughts. This trilogy reads quickly, is authentic, and has crazy twists. You won't know who to side with - the New Republic or the remnants of the Empire and its Dark Side weapon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Really Great Book!!!!
This book was amazing. I thought that it started slow but quickly picked up and in the end it turned out to be one of the best books i have read so far. Timothy Zhan really delivers an adventure in this book and it is the beginning of a really really really, GOOD trilogy. ... Read more

5. Dragon and Thief: The First Dragonback Adventure (Dragonback (Quality))
by Timothy Zahn
Paperback: 256 Pages (2004-03-01)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$2.67
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765342723
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Fourteen-year-old orphan Jack Morgan is hiding out.

In a spaceship.

Falsely accused of a crime, he pilots his Uncle Virgil's spaceship to a remote and uninhabited planet hoping to escape capture. When another ship crashes after a fierce battle, Jack rescues the sole survivor-- a K'da warrior names Draycos. It turns out Draycos can help Jack clear his name. All they have to do is team up. No problem, right?

Until Jack learns that Draycos is not your average alien.

Ages 10 and up
... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

1-0 out of 5 stars A dragon is a dragon.
I purchased Dragon And Thief by Timothy Zahn along with Dragons Versus Dinosaurs by G. L. Strytler. Both are for teens and children. Dragon And Thief leaves way too many loop holes at the end. Dragons Versus Dinosaurs is slightly better. Oh well, some day, some day...

4-0 out of 5 stars Fast paced space opera at its very best - and who doesn't love a good orphan boy thief and his noble dragon warrior companion?
Timothy Zahn's Dragon And Thief, the first novel in what became a six-book series, is space opera at its very best. The pair of main characters are actually an old tradition in fantasy novels - a streetwise orphan boy thief and a chivalrous warrior who are thrown together by circumstances - but this time they're in a science fictional setting.

Jack Morgan is fourteen, alone and surviving by his wits - and the help of Uncle Virge, an AI left in his ship's computer by his now-deceased Uncle Virgil, a notorious interstellar con-man. and the warrior happens to be a dragon-like alien.Draykos is a K'da warrior/poet, the K'da being an alien race of dragon-like creatures who have the ability to become two-dimensional.Zahn adds an additional twist with the K'da being symbiotes who require a humanoid host in order to survive, spending part of their time as living tattoos on the host's skin.

Although Dragon And Thief might well be viewed as a juvenile novel, it is in fact a highly enjoyable read for readers of any age. Zahn starts things off at a fast pace and keeps them moving, with twists and turns thrown in to keep things from being predictable. Jack is on the run, framed for a crime he didn't commit, and is hiding out on a remote and uninhabited planet while he tries to think things through. Draycos ends up stranded on the same planet when he and his companions - fellow K'da and their Shontine hosts, all fleeing from a race called the Valahgua who are bent on their extermination - are ambushed in space above the planet.After his ship crash lands, Draycos finds he is the only survivor. And without a Shontine host to return to, his life expectancy has become a matter of hours. When they meet up, each quickly realizes they will need the other to suvive.

Zahn's characterizations are great, showing just how different his two protagonists are and the challenges they face in learning to trust each other. The chapters alternate between Jack's and Draykos' points of view and so you get to see how each views the other - the orphan teen who has been taught to look out only for himself, that he can't rely on or trust anyone, and the warrior/poet who lives by a code and whose own life is secondary to the need to save the remaining K'da and Shontine from annihilation by the Valahgua:

"Thoughts of Uncle Virgil flickered through Draycos's mind. Uncle Virgil, and his ghostly echo inside the Essenay's computer. That human had taught Jack to think only about himself, to do that which only benefited him. Was the boy even capable of thinking about higher things? Would he understand the idea of sacrificing something you valued, or something you cared about, for something even more valuable?
--Even if he did, would he think the K'da and Shontine were worth the sacrifice of his life?
-- Probably not. Given time, Draykos knew he could teach the boy about such things as honor and integrity and justice. Jack had the potential to stand with the very finest of the K'da and Shontine.
-- But he wasn't there yet. Would he be able to find the strength to calmly die so that the K'da and Shontine might live? Draykos didn't think so.
-- But if he did his job right, neither of them would have to find out."

I'm tempted to give this book 5 stars for sheer enjoyability, but in the end I settled on four.I can't say it's a must-read, but I can say that if you like space opera, and in particular if you like reading stories about streetwise orphan thieves who end up as companions to chivalrous warrior-types, then you will definitely enjoy this book. For myself, I am very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Dragon And Soldier. Highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Even Adults will Enjoy this
Fourteen-year-old Jack Morgan was raised by his Uncle Virgil to be a con man's assistant and a thief.Now that his uncle's dead, he's been on his own, traveling through space in Virgil's ship, assisted by his onboard computer.When Jack comes across the wreckage of a spaceship and decides to do a little scavenging, he discovers a survivor, a dragon-like K'da warrior named Draycos.A member of the vanguard of a colony fleeing its devastated homeworld, Draycos is a symbiot who can make his three-dimensional form into a two-dimensional one.Unable to live without his host, Polphir, who died in the crash, the dragon attaches himself (literally) to Jack, appearing as a colorful tattoo covering the boy's body.Jack isn't too happy about this but once he learns a symbiot can only live a few hours without a host, he glumly accepts his new role.He also agrees to help Draycos find the people who attacked his ship before the other colonists arrive.

When Jack discovers a conspiracy involving Braxton Universis, an all-powerful business conglomerate, the young thief and the dragon team up.Soon, the two are being chased by people who think Uncle Virgil is aboard Jack's ship because they need the elder Morgan to help them in their plot.Capturing Jack, they accept his story that he's going to meet his uncle elsewhere, and in order to ensure he doesn't double-cross them, they frame him for murder, callously gunning down two innocent bystanders.NowJack's on the run, with no one to help him but Draycos, and now, he's going to learn some things about his partner he never thought possible.

This is a Young Adult science fiction novel, though I didn't realize it at the time I bought it, but that didn't stop me from reading it.I found Jack a likable and quick-witted youngster who was also quite vulnerable when faced with violence-dealing adults.The contract between him and Draycos in the way they dealt with situation was sometimes comical, always interesting.Though the story was written more simply than what I'm used to reading, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and expect to check out more volumes in the series to see how the further adventures of Jack and Draycos turn out.

5-0 out of 5 stars My teen loved it
My thirteen year old is a voracious reader, but doesn't read just anything. It is one of his first sci-fi books and he polished it off the first night and immediatley wanted the second book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fun read for all ages
If you're interested enough in this book to visit this page, then I can't help but recommend it to you -- not just the first book but the entire series.
As an adult, I have enjoyed Timothy Zahn's science-fiction novels and had some reservations about trying his young-adult series. I was beyond pleasantly surprised. Taken as a whole, this was one of the most fun series I've read in a long time.
So try the first book, Dragon and Thief. If you like it only a little, then don't stop there. You'll love the whole series, whether you're 12 or 22 or 72.
... Read more

6. Cobra Alliance: Cobra War: Book I
by Timothy Zahn
Mass Market Paperback: 400 Pages (2010-11-30)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1439134049
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Earth had won its war with the Troft because of the Cobras, a guerilla force whose weapons were surgically implanted, invisible to the unsuspecting eye, yet undeniably deadly. The Moreau family were the most famous of the Cobra warriors, but their descendent, Jasmine “Jin” Moreau Broom, is worried about the current attitudes of the Cobra worlds and their leaders. Generations after the planets were settled, not everyone on the Cobra worlds thinks that the Cobras are worth their high cost, and favor cutting their funding.

        Then a new factor is thrown into the mix. Jin receives a message, sender unknown, delivered by a Troft messenger:

        To the Demon Warrior Jasmine Jin Moreau:

        Urgent you return at once to Qasama. Crisis situation requires your personal attention.

        Years ago, a Cobra team, including Jin, had gone to Qasama at the urging of the Troft to counter a threat to other planets, both human and Troft. Jin and her family cannot think of a reason why any Qasaman would want Jin or any other Cobra to return to their planet. Moreover, the Cobra worlds have prohibited any of their citizens from traveling to Qasama, and backed up the prohibition with stiff prison sentences.

        But the possibility of danger to the Cobra worlds is too important for Jin to ignore the message. She and her son Merrick, also a Cobra, book passage on a Troft ship to Qasama. But are they really going where their help is needed—or are they walking into a trap? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing effort from Timothy Zahn
Timothy Zahn continues his //Cobra// trilogy with //Cobra Alliance//. It picks up in the future, when the Cobras are not as respected as they once were. Jin gets a mysterious note from someone on the planet Qasama, where she is an enemy of the state. She decides to go and investigate the note, bringing along her son, Merrick. They meet old friends and new allies on Qasama. Caught in the middle of an invasion by the Trofts, they are forced to work with their enemies to survive.

This is your standard, run-of-the-mill action adventure story. Mr. Zahn seems to be merely going through the motions here. The book is simply not well done. The characters are a bit one-dimensional, and the political intrigue is weak. This is not his best work, whether compared to the first //Cobra// series or even his //Star Wars// books. A disappointment from Timothy Zahn.

Reviewed by: Kevin Winter

1-0 out of 5 stars JUST BECAUSE HE'S A NYTimes BEST SELLER...
...doesn't mean Tim Zahn knows how to write.He's one of these plotsters, whom speed readers love and careful readers sneer at.Wooden characters--stereotypes, stupid, interminable dialog that goes round and round and makes you dizzy.
Worse is the future human society he creates:we have space travel, yet on planets people drive cars and trucks.This is hard science?
No.It's drivel.And living, prosperous proof that H. L. Mencken was right:

Nobody every went broke underestimating the taste of the American Public.

5-0 out of 5 stars Swift military action evolves in a fine thriller
Timothy Zahn's COBRA ALLIANCE provides Book 1 in the Cobra War series and tells of a guerrilla force whose weapons were surgically implanted and deadly. Jasmine Jin is worried about the current attitudes of the Cobra worlds and their leaders - for dangers threaten the alliance. Swift military action evolves in a fine thriller.

4-0 out of 5 stars terrific military science fiction
Following the hostilities that led to the Troft claiming the human colonies of Adirondack and Silvern, the Earth leadership realized they could not win a sustained war against the superior enemy.They changed tactics from space battles to guerilla ground warfare and created the Cobra force of specialized warriors containing lethal nanotech weapons surgically placed on the body of the soldier.

Decades have passed with interplanetary warfare part of the history books and the Troft no longer hostile enemies.Leaders question the need for Cobra as it is costly and fears of losing freedom abound.However, that changes when a Troft force attacks Oasama.The next generations' warriors from families like that of the Moreau whose matriarch and oldest son step forward as Cobra comes to the rescue of a planet that has been vocal about eliminating Cobra.

This terrific military science fiction is a super return to the worlds of Cobra as the underlying conflicts are not just against the Troft.The Qasaman do not want Cobra on their planet, but also do not want the Troft, so they try to manipulate both.The characterizations are extremely emaciated except for the mother-son relationship in which mom is showing her age and her offspring is ready to take charge and put her in the home for old solders.Filled with personal courage and action, Timothy Zahn makes a case that the U.S. Army's seven values of LDRSHIP remain a strong core for future deployed in space military soldiers.

Harriet Klausner

5-0 out of 5 stars Return to Qasama
Cobra Alliance (2009) is the fourth SF novel in the Cobra series, following Cobra Bargain.In the previous volume, Jin, Daulo and Morin exposed the Mangus conspiracy on the human settled planet of Qasama and forced the Troft off the planet.The Aventine Directorate declared the mission to be a failure, but even they knew that Jin had made the first friendly contacts with Qasamans.

In this novel, Jasmine Moreau Broom is the daughter of Justin Moreau and the wife of Paul Broom.Jin is also the only female Cobra and the scion of a Cobra family.The Moreaus have given sons -- and a daughter -- to the Cobra service for a century.

Corwin Moreau is Jin's uncle.He had been a powerful politician until the Directorate had declared the Qasama mission a failure.Now he is a materials scientist working on less reactive ways of producing Cobras.

Merrick is Jin's oldest son.He is a Cobra in the Capitalia district.

Lorne is Jin's second son.He is a Cobra in the expansion regions, fighting spine leopards.

Jody is Jin's daughter.She is working on a research team trying to invent a trap that will work for spine leopards.

Daulo Sammon is a Qasaman.He is the heir of an influential family in the village of Milika.

Miron Akim is a Qasaman.He is an administrator for the Shahni, the ruling class of Qasama.

Moffren Omnathi is a Qasaman.He is an Advisor to the Shahni.He has had extensive experience with Cobras.

In this story, thirty-two years later, Corwin calls a family council to discuss a message sent to Jin.Merrick had received it from a Tlossie Troft who had seemingly mistaken him for his mother.The note states that an urgent situation requires Jin's presence on Qasama.

Although the note is unsigned, the family suspects that it came from Daulo.The courier had also left a card with a contact number.When Jin calls the number, she is told that a ship will pick up three days after the note arrived.All required equipment will be provided.

At first Lorne volunteers to accompany her to Qasama, but Jin says that she will be going alone.Since Jody will be going to Caelen to test the new trap, Lorne decides to go with her instead.But Paul disagrees and decides that he will accompany Jody.Lorne is left on Aventine.

When Jin arrives at the Troft ship waiting to take her to Qasama, she discovers that Merrick has insinuated himself into her mission.Since his arguments make sense, Jin boards the ship with him.Eventually, they arrive on Qasama on a shuttle and fade into the jungle.

Wearing Qasaman clothing, the couple approach the entrance to Milika.As they reach the gate, they are hailed by a Qasaman in a vehicle.He invites them to ride with him to the home of Daulo.

Jin quickly learns that Daulo had not sent the note.Daulo introduces them to his son Fadil, the man who had recognized them at the gate.As they are discussing other persons who might have sent the note, a Shahni agent arrives at the house and interrogates Merrick.

Their next suspect is Morin, so Daulo decides that he and Fadil will take the Cobras to Sollas, the planetary capital.Since the Shahni already suspect some conspiracy, they will leave immediately and drive all night to the capital.On the way, another vehicle appears and begins to follow them.

Merrick drops out of their truck and ambushes the following car.When he blows out a rear tire with his laser, the car swerves violently and ends up in a ditch.Merrick then learns that the driver is the same Shahni agent that had spoken to him in Milika.

Since he seems to have some head injury, the four decide to take him to a hospital.On the way toward the city, Merrick discovers a flight of Troft warships approaching.The ships fly over the truck and land in Sollas.

This tale brings Jin and Merrick to Sollas just in time to join the Qasaman forces fighting the Troft invasion.The Shahni agent leads them to other Shahni.They soon find themselves in the thick of the action.

Miron appears and becomes their liaison with the Shahni.Then Moffren starts handling the Cobras.Naturally, the Qasamans don't really trust the demon-warriors, but they do find that the Cobras have better luck fighting the Trofts than do themselves.

Jin and Merrick have some success overcoming Qasaman prejudice toward Cobras.The next volume in the series -- Cobra Guardians -- takes the action back to the Cobra Worlds.Read and enjoy!

Highly recommended for Zahn fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of covert operations, augmented soldiers, and alien invasions.

-Arthur W. Jordin ... Read more

7. Dark Force Rising (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Book 2)
by Timothy Zahn
Mass Market Paperback: 440 Pages (1993-02-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553560719
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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When Grand Admiral Thrawn takes command of what is left of the Imperial fleet and launches a massive campaign against the New Republic, Han and Lando Calrissian race to find proof of treason inside the highest Republic Council. Reprint. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (118)

5-0 out of 5 stars Just love it
This book was good on its own but ties all three of the books together very well.

5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece
I first read this book 15 years ago, and it hasn't lost its magic. While much of the rest of the Star Wars Expanded Universe has become bogged down with irrelevant characters and unrealistic plot twists, Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire Trilogy actually manages to recapture the feeling of the original Star Wars trilogy. The original characters all play great roles and the ploy is well paced. More important, this book introduced several of the Expanded Universe's most beloved characters, from Mara Jade to Grand Admiral Thrawn. The assassin aliens, the Noghri, are the coolest new aliens in the Expanded Universe, and possibly all of Star Wars. Like the other characters in the book, they have interesting, well-developed personalities and cultures. Overall, this trilogy is required reading for any Star Wars fan (the other books - not so much).

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read for Long-time Fans and Newcomers Alike
Zahn was one of the first authors to come up with his own Star Wars plot, back in 1991. He's so great that many Star Wars authors will give him a nod in their "Acknowledgements" section. He deserves it.

This trilogy is thrilling. If you don't know anything about Star Wars, this is a great place to get started - just watch the original 3 movies and you'll be all right. If you're a well-read Star Wars fan, you must read this book - Zahn created the characters of Grand Admiral Thrawn, Mara Jade, and Talon Karrde - possibly three of the most interesting characters in the Star Wars cast.

The plot is fascinating. Though it's been 5 years since the destruction of the second Death Star and the death of Darth Vader and the Emperor, the New Republic is suddenly put on the defensive when Thrawn gathers what's left of the Empire's resources to subtlety bring down the New Republic. While you have to root for the "good guys", you are forced to respect Thrawn because he is such a tactical genius.

Zahn also does wonderfully in preserving the essence of all the movie characters - Threepio is still a priss, Han is still an incurably sardonic rogue, Lando is still a diehard businessman with a soft spot, and Luke and Leia are still... Luke and Leia. The writing is very good for this genre, and the books are perfectly paced.

Zahn takes you all around the galaxy of Star Wars, showing you just how big it really is. You get to see Chewie's home world of Kashyyyk, meet a new alien race - the Noghri, and discover a lost fleet of two hundred Dreadnaughts. This trilogy reads quickly, is authentic, and has crazy twists. You won't know who to side with - the New Republic or the remnants of the Empire and its Dark Side weapon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Only Gets Better!!!!
Wow after reading this novel i just could not believe how good it was. It left me wanting for more. A lot of different issues occur all at once in this novel and in the end they unfold to reveal an amazing surprise. This book was better than the first and believe me the first novel was really good. So if you are a star wars fan read this novel it is action packed and will set you up for the next adventure in this trilogy.

5-0 out of 5 stars "We who remain must stand together against those who would destroy everything"
"We who remain must stand together against those who would destroy everything"
Book two in the thrilling Thrawn Trilogy!(Who woulda thought that a C'baoth clone would get the title of this review!!)
The Empire may have been foiled, but only just barely.And now things get worse as Admiral Ackbar, member of the Inner Council, is accused of treason.Han and Lando go to attempt to sniff out the source; Luke discovers that a Jedi named C'baoth may have escaped the Jedi Purge, and Leia goes to meet the Noghri and work on some sort of resolution.

I Liked:
Golly, I almost wish I could copy and paste my review from Heir to the Empire!But, to be original, I'll try to come up with different things I like.
Timothy Zahn continues to show his Star Wars writing prowess in book two.Many other authors flounder at this point.Not Zahn.He continues the Star Wars feel with this entry, from the characters, to the actions, to the theme.
To his character repertoire, Zahn adds Garm Bel Iblis, a former Senator from Corellia--and rival to Mon Mothma.Through him, we learn more of the beginnings of the Rebellion...and how Mon Mothma, that red-haired lady from Return of the Jedi, can be a little pig-headed and temperamental.A fight between him and her forced him to leave the Rebellion, and he, being too proud and Corellian to boot, is unwilling to rejoin.Garm Bel Iblis does wonders for adding to the Corellian culture (we even learn he met Han Solo when Han was a kiddo!) and giving a new dimension to the Rebellion and Mon Mothma.
The action continues to be high, with his characters spread in five different dimensions.You would think it would be overwhelming, but Zahn handles it nicely, reminding the reader where Leia is, what Han is doing, what happened to Luke and so on so you don't ever go, "Wait a minute, it's been forever since we heard from Mara...where is she?"I've read other authors who drop viewpoints randomly and make me wonder that exact thing.
Lastly, I love how Zahn, in between his characters and plot, manages to tweak on our views of the Jedi.As this was pre-prequels, we get to see his (now obsolete) views on the Clone Wars, how C'baoth became a Jedi (he went to the University before training as a Jedi!), and C'baoth's subtle twisting of Luke to embrace the power of the Jedi.Also, here is hinted the first time in EU that the Senate took part in the destruction of the Jedi (which, honestly, is what they did...they certainly didn't mind the Emperor's movement to destroy them).

I Didn't Like:
I guess I have a few more complaints about this one than the last.They aren't huge, but I should bring them up.
Zahn creates the Calamari (no, not the Earth food!) as a peaceful race forced into war when they were enslaved.My problem?That theme is repeated ad nauseum in EU.Yeah, I know, Zahn technically wrote this before the Camaasi, before the Mandalorians (according to the Clone Wars TV series), before the billions of other "peaceful races forced into war".But it is still freaking annoying.
Also, Zahn is guilty of speciesism, specifically of Borsk Fey'lya and the Bothans.Borsk isn't the problem, he's cool.But then Zahn goes and sets up the entire race full of back-biting, knife-plunging power seekers.Not cool.I prefer a little more grey to my aliens, a little more depth besides the one word stereotype.Too many books make this mistake.Rodians are idiots and lawless.Hutts are always involved in crime.Wookiees are always good; Trandoshans always bad.Twi'Lek females are always sex slaves, and Jawas are scavengers that apparently can be found off their homeworld of Tatooine (weird, eh?).I could go on and on and on, but I think you get my point.
Lastly, the book does have that middle part of a trilogy feel.You know, no beginning, no end, makes you wonder, "What am I doing here?"We all know, by book three, we'll be like, "Oh, yeah, that's why that was important," but still, while we're reading it, we wonder.

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
Foul language?Can't recall anything off hand!
Sexuality is minimum to none.
Lando is injured at one point and can't receive medical attention because of triage.Really have to stretch to find ANYTHING to put here!

Zahn doesn't fail to please with entry number two!There were a few things that perturbed me, but there were some moments that nearly brought tears to my eyes.When Leia unveils the Empire's poisoning of Honogr (even if I adore the Empire and hate how it is always shown in such a bad light), when the smugglers come to Han and Luke's aid at the end battle.Not many books can do this to me.This is Star Wars.Five stars.

Brought to you by:
*C.S. Light* ... Read more

8. Odd Girl Out
by Timothy Zahn
Hardcover: 384 Pages (2008-11-11)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$9.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0043RTAYI
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

In this noir thriller set on the interstellar Quadrail, former government agent Frank Compton can't catch a break. After a successful mission against the Modhri, the coral polyp-based group mind that is attempting to take over the galaxy, Frank arrives at his New York apartment. A young woman is waiting for him, pointing a gun at his face.  She tells him that someone on New Tigris is holding her ten-year-old sister. Compton takes her gun and orders her out, only to be rousted out of bed and accused of her brutal murder. 

After Frank's ally Bruce McMicking posts his bail, Frank travels to New Tigris with his assistant, Bayta, and locates the sister, who is part of a key resistance group that is fighting the Modhri throughout the galaxy. Compton must get the girl to a hidden refuge planet via the Quadrail to ensure the continued efforts of the resistance. But can he do it before the Modhri gets to her first?
Compelling characters, hard-boiled sleuthing, and non-stop action make this a hard SF thriller that will grab the reader and not let go until the last page.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars The Weakest Member of the Series but...
I absolutely love this series and it's characters and although I wouldn't skip this one it does feel a bit tacked on. Unlike the other two I came away with more questions than answers, don't get me wrong there are usually a couple things that Zahn leaves hanging, I'm sure on purpose, but this just felt like it was full of holes and not the usual, yeah here's the big surprise at the end and no I'm not going to explain anymore, we get from the other two books but more like here's a half an explanation of what this entire book has been about.

But I'd pick it up again because of the characters, even the new ones and seeing more of McMicking is nice, although I did miss everyone's favorite chipmunk. I'm really hoping he decides to flesh the rest of this story out, there's plenty more here, I think anyway, and The Domino Pattern isn't heading that way, but I'm only on the second chapter.

Here's hoping for a fifth, sixth, etc. book soon.

2-0 out of 5 stars Series Fails To Hold My Interest
The first two books in the series, while a bit juvenile and hard to believe, kept up a decent enough pace to hold my interest.I suppose I also was ready for a break from my usual reading habits, which usually involve either Military SciFi, or "epic" (read long) intergalactic Space Adventure novels.

I was able to get 2/3rds the way through this third entry in the series, and found I just didn't care any more about the main characters, nor the never-ending intergalactic chase and intrigue, which has grown repetitive at this point.

Having said that, I think this would be a good series for Jr. High School kids just getting interested in SciFi, and who don't want to get bogged down in 750 page "serious" novels.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Series Is Changing
The first two books of this series were clearly film noir homages. Not only did they follow many of the noir conventions, but for good measure it was established that many of the main characters were fans of classic noir films.

But Odd Girl Out seems to have shifted gears a bit. It starts with another one of the noir tropes, where the pretty girl asks a detective for help, he turns her down, and then she gets murdered. So now he's on the case, needing to redeem his hardheartedness. Plus, she's murdered with his weapon, so that makes him the prime suspect.

But somewhere along the line, the background story of the Modhri and the Spiders starts taking over the tale. By the end of the book, much of the noir feeling is gone, or at least subsumed. Instead, we are set up to expect that the next book will be more of a straightforward battle. Noir is all about atmosphere and style and misdirection, but now it seems this may be replaced with something more direct. The detente between the Modhri and his foes (including Compton and Bayta) appears to be over.

In a sense, that's too bad. I was enjoying Zahn's flirtation with the noir conventions. But it couldn't have gone on forever, for the same reason noir films generally didn't have sequels. You can only carry a noir story just so far -- after that the suspension of disbelief snaps.

I felt that Odd Girl Out started to lose its way as the story progressed. Zahn started caring more about the greater war than about the little skirmish that Compton once more found himself fighting. And the book suffered a bit because of this. Neither fish nor foul, it ended up feeling more like a transition than anything else. Perhaps you could call it "middle of the trilogy" syndrome. It's not as fresh as the earlier books, but it still doesn't conclude anything.

I think I'd like to read more books about Compton and Bayta. The problem is, however, that I'm getting tired of the Modhri.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good follow-up
While not Zahn's best work in my opinion, it's a great follow-up to the series that started out with such a bang.Zahn knows how to hook and entertain, and Odd Girl Out is no exception.I recommend this read to anyone with a fancy for fiction, sci-fi or not!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Charming Girl
Odd Girl Out (2009) is the third mystery SF novel in the Quadrail series, following The Third Lynx.In the previous volume, Compton and his associates drove away Modhri walkers digging in a buried Shonkla-raa equipment dump.Special Agent Morse had been suspected of being a Modhri walker, but subsequent actions mollified this suspicion.After all left except Bayta and himself, Compton confided his beliefs that the dump might contain other weapons.

In this novel, Frank Compton is a former agent of Western Alliance Intelligence.Now he works for the Chahwyn, who created the Spiders and the whole Quadrail system.Compton is their operative against the Modhri.

Bayta is a hybrid between humans and the Chahwyn.She is telepathic on the spider wavelength and can communicate with them undetectably.So she is Compton's liaison with the Spiders.

Bruce McMicking is head of security for Hardin Enterprises.He learned about the Modhri during the first adventure and almost became a walker himself.His boss hates Compton, but McMicking helps him anyway he can.

In this story, Lorelei Beach greets Compton with a gun in her hand.She wants him to help her sister Rebekah to escape from Imani on New Tigris.Compton is dead tired and tells her to call the police.He sends her out the door, but she carries off one of his guns.

Compton goes to bed, but is awakened a couple of hours later by the police.He is escorted to a crime scene.There he finds out that his missing gun was used in a double murder and one victim was Lorelei.

Compton believes that the other victim was probably a Modhri walker.The police arrest Compton on murder charges.The arraignment judge is aware of how flimsy the evidence is, but sets bail at a half million dollars.Fortunately, Compton knows someone with that kind of money.

After McMicking bails him out, Compton explains what has happened and what he plans to do.McMicking provides tickets to reach the Quadrail and documents, including a Hardin ID with a carry permit.Then Compton catches the first shuttle toward the Quadrail station.

Compton talks with the Modhri through several of his walkers.For some reason, the Modhri makes a deal to let Compton search for the Abomination. Compton is not sure what is meant by the term, but he agrees and continues his search for Rebekah.

On New Tigris, Compton and Bayta find the missing girl, but get into more trouble.Modhri walkers frame Compton for three deaths and even try to storm the bar where the girl is located.The whole scenario is rather confused.Compton feels certain that he is missing some facts.

This tale leads Compton, Bayta and McMicking into one risky situation after another.Gunshots -- both snoozers and thudwhumpers -- are fired by both sides.McMicking even steals a torchship.

The story is a typical tangle of lies and false leads.The threesome get trapped on a Quadrail train by a group of walkers.Compton is arrested several times.Yet Bayta and Rebekah get along very well with each other.

Obviously this novel will have a sequel.The next installment is The Domino Pattern.Read and enjoy!

Highly recommended for Zahn fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of high tech, alien cultures, and risky ventures.For anyone who is not familiar with this series, the initial volume is Night Train to Rigel.

-Arthur W. Jordin ... Read more

9. Specter of the Past (Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn #1)
by Timothy Zahn
Mass Market Paperback: 400 Pages (1998-09-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553298046
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
When Imperial officials seek to negotiate a peace with the New Republic, a powerful group of warlords schemes against them. They are led by none other than the supposedly dead Grand Admiral Thrawn.Amazon.com Review
Timothy Zahn is the master of the Star Wars novel. His trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command) did almost as much as the movie trilogy's re-release to create new interest in Luke, Leia, and Han Solo. Specter of the Past is the first of a new series, The Hand of Thrawn. Princess Leia is trying desperately to hold the loose coalition of interests known as the New Republic together long enough to see the evil Empire finally vanquished. But in a stunning setback, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker discover that the pirate ships raiding New Republic transports are staffed with clones under the command of someone who claims to be Grand Admiral Thrawn, the Empire's most powerful warlord, believed dead for 10 years. Thrawn's plan for destroying the fragile New Republic seems well on the way to completion--unless Han, Leia, and Luke can stop it. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (231)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very good
As expected from Zahn's previous star wars books this one was fantastic, great to have the old characters back and possibly just as good as the original thrawn trilogy.If you liked his previous books then these are definately worth your while, just a pity the stories can't go on and on....Definately up there with my favourite star wars reads.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great political intrigue, but a bit much
Of all the Star Wars Expanded Universe books, this one and its sequel Vision of the Future (known as the Thrawn Duology) are second only to Timothy Zahn's original Heir to the Empire Trilogy. The political intrigue in this book is riveting, with a brilliant plot twist - the discovery of a document implicating Bothan spies in mass murder - that throws the New Republic into chaos.

My favorite parts of the book are those dealing the Imperials. I really appreciate that Zahn cares about his villains as much (if not more so) than the heroes. Gilad Pelleon in particular has some thoughtful dialogue as he tries to convince the Empire that peace is the only alternative. I also thought Zahn treated Mara Jade and Luke with great respect, subtly moving their relationship from awkwardness to romance. It's very nicely done and never anything abrupt. In terms of character development, Zahn is the master in the Star Wars universe.

As much as I liked the plot twist, I thought the book just spread itself a bit too thin and tried to cover too much. For example, it throws a lot of Expanded Universe names out there, like Corran Horn and Kueller. I've read the books involving those characters, but don't remember the details, and so lost some of the references Zahn made. At some points, Zahn seemed to want to cram some of his favorite characters into the plot, even when they don't advance the story much at all. Shada the Mistryl for example has some points to add to the story, but often just seems like an unrealistically omnipotent bodyguard (she can even take out Noghri!). Meanwhile, some characters are sent on side quests that just seem to be worth following all that much. I would have preferred if Zahn had consolidated the plot threats and focused more on the tensions within the New Republic.

Overall, I definitely recommend reading this book and its sequel if you like the original Heir to the Empire Trilogy. It wraps a lot of the plot threads up very well and sets the Star Wars universe up for the next chapter (the invasion of the Yuzhan Vong).

5-0 out of 5 stars "There are indeed some things that must never be forgotten"
"There are indeed some things that must never be forgotten"
Ten years have past since our daring trio has faced the masterful Thrawn.The New Republic is firmly established.Peace abounds...or maybe not?The Empire appears to want to negotiate peace, but a triumvirate within is working hard to continue the hostilities.And the New Republic may just destroy itself with the revelation of the Camaas Document, a document revealing the Bothans were involved in the destruction of Camaas many years before.Can Luke's new knowledge of the Force help him?Will Han and Leia be able to keep things from getting out of control?And what about this Hand of Thrawn?
To spice things up, I want to buck my typical book review format and go for something a little different.In this review, I'd like to give you the Three R's of Timothy Zahn's Star Wars: Refreshing, Reflective, and Erudite (in true Three R's fashion, one does not actually start with the letter "R").
Timothy Zahn's latest entry into Star Wars is REFRESHING.I've been reading/listening to the copious Bantam novels that come before this one chronologically in Star Wars EU and chronologically in publication date.And I can tell you this one is head and shoulders above its predecessors.Most of the previous Star Wars novels maul the characters, shoehorn non-Star Wars concepts, create cliched, over-the-top characters and events, or reuse the same concepts over and over and over again (Superweapons, anyone?).Zahn captures the essence of Star Wars from the characters (Luke, Han, and Leia finally returning to a semblance of the characters from the movies who have naturally grown over the 15 some odd years) to the galaxy (creating new worlds that feel in place in our Star Wars setting and revisiting old ones) to the plot (imitating the then-unseen prequels in a haunting parallel).And the sexual tension between Mara and Luke is so palpable...man, how did the two keep themselves off each other for so long?
Specter of the Past is a REFLECTIVE novel.It looks back on the events of the past, acknowledging other canon in ways that hadn't or couldn't have been done (for example, the Corellian Trilogy didn't acknowledge Callista or Akanah because it was published before Children of the Jedi and the Black Fleet Crisis).Zahn mentions the destruction of Coruscant from Kueller's bombings (The New Rebellion), Lando's stupid search for the Qella artifact (Black Fleet Crisis), and Callista (Children of the Jedi).Furthermore, Zahn also clarifies the inconsistencies of the previousnovels.Luke often acted superior, while not really having much to back it up (if he is such a great Jedi, why can Exar Kun knock him on his back so quickly and yet Exar Kun is defeated with a bunch of Jedi circling him and going "Boo"?).He tended to use people and penetrate their minds pell mell, without any regard for their privacy (for instance, in The Crystal Star and the Black Fleet Crisis, he used the Force to penetrate people's minds and change his appearance and no one balked at his flagrant use of the Force).Here, Zahn whips Luke into shape, having Han and Mara (and even Callista, in a way) call Luke out on his decidedly un-Jedi behavior.He uses an Imperial to castigate Daala for acting out of rage with no plan and destroying all her force (Jedi Academy Trilogy).And he has not one but two people call out the stupid mission Lando went on in the Black Fleet Crisis.So Zahn not only gets to slam the books we've all wanted to, but he also gets to clean them up for us fans.
Lastly, Zahn's most recent book is ERUDITE.The Thrawn Trilogy really captured the feeling of the Star Wars original trilogy.It was smart, fun, and adventurous.The characters were good, the bad guys somewhat noble, and the action thrilling.Specter is much different.It is a much more mature novel, dealing more with causes, effects, rationality (okay, so I coulda used that "R" word too!), character growth, and the inner workings of a government.In fact, there really aren't that many action scenes in this novel at all, yet it is very interesting, exciting, and intense.This book truly is a political novel, taking time to think about what the New Republic is, how it is run, and how it isn't so clean cut "good" as every other book tended to paint it.
My complaints?Well, they are very few and far between.I would have liked Zahn to keep the triumvirate and the impostor Zahn plot secret, and yet, it works so well in the way he presented it.Shada Du'Kal comes perilously close to being yet another Mara (fortunately, there is enough that keeps her well away from that stereotype).Chewie is mostly used as a prop to keep the kids out of affairs.It's kinda sad to see him smashed away in a corner like that.And at one point, Lando disappears from the story for several pages, and I had to search for what had happened to him last time we saw him.
But overall, this is an impressive novel, one that more mature Star Wars fans will definitely enjoy.There is intrigue, there is reality (dang, yet another "R" word I could have used!), there is betrayal, there is love, there is thought, there is cohesion, there is just no reason why you shouldn't be reading this book instead of my review!

Brought to you by:
*C.S. Light*

5-0 out of 5 stars Thrawn is back?
About four years ago, two of us launched a blog at [...] in which our goal was to read all of the books in the Star Wars Expanded Universe in as close to chronological order as we could and then publish reviews of each book. So far we have read about 90 of the just less than 150 books on the list. My personal feeling is that the best author writing in the Star Wars world is Timothy Zahn. His stellar efforts have included Outbound Flight, Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command. Those last three, of course, make up The Thrawn Trilogy.

In Specter of the Past, Mr. Zahn continues his winning ways. This first volume in a two-part series is outstanding. It is set in a time when the Empire appears to be on the verge of a complete collapse. New Republic forces are busy around the galaxy dealing with a myriad of problems, and the Empire turns out to have a few tricks left. A plot is in place that could destroy the New Republic in a civil war. Plus, the truly disturbing news is that Grand Admiral Thrawn, a military leader of unparalleled skill and cunning, appears to have returned from the dead to lead the Empire's forces once again.

Mr. Zahn's plots are always excellent, and the tale in this book is certainly no exception. On the one side, we have most of our favorite heroes going off in different directions to see what is actually going on and what can be done. Luke, Leia, Han, Lando, Mara Jade, C-3P0, and R2-D2 all have major roles to play. On the other side, Admiral Pellaeon, Moff Disra, and Grand Admiral Thrawn (apparently) are leading the way. Other characters come along for various stretches of the book and play important roles. Character development is one of the author's strengths, and he certainly does well with it here. He also can tell an excellent story. Some of the Star Wars authors go overboard with philosophizing and trying to analyze the motives of key individuals. Mr. Zahn does not get bogged down in such things. His story moves along and holds the reader's attention.

Specter of the Past is a must-read book for any fan of Star Wars. I look forward to the second volume, Vision of the Future.

5-0 out of 5 stars The return of Grand Admiral Thrawn
With Specter of the Past, Timothy Zahn returned to the Star Wars Expanded Universe and starting tying a neat little bow around the Bantam Spectra era of the publishing license. Bantam published a wide array of Star Wars stories in the 1990s starting with the superb Heir to the Empire. The majority of Bantam's novels were set in the post-Return of the Jedi era and took a wide variety of directions while still maintaining a reasonably cohesive overall storyline. Just as he kicked off the Star Wars literary renaissance with his Thrawn Trilogy, here Mr. Zahn is afforded the opportunity to provide some closure to this era and set the stage for the new (at the time) publisher Del Rey's gritty New Jedi Order saga.

Despite Grand Admiral Thrawn's apparent demise at the end of The Last Command, his persona haunts this story in a gripping and imaginative way. His mysterious reappearance frightens the New Republic deeply and breathes new life into the dwindling Empire.Beyond that, though, his mentorship of Admiral Pellaeon motivates the Admiral into making a necessary but humiliating decision regarding the future of the Empire's remnants. Pallaeon determines that making peace with the New Republic represents the Empire's only hope for the future. He bravely puts aside his own feelings and ego to lead the way down this bold path.

Concurrent with Pellaeon's plan to surrender is a fascinating storyline centered around the devastation of the planet Caamas decades earlier (an event brought to further light in the second Coruscant Nights book Street of Shadows). This plot could have been ripped from today's contentious and vindictive headlines, as the entire Bothan race takes heat for the actions of an unknown number of individuals years ago. Politicians scramble to benefit from the controversy and across the galaxy numerous petty grievances flare up, using the Caamas debate as an excuse to revisit ancient vendettas.

I relished the use of the Caamas document as a primary plot device. While I enjoy the scheming of evil Sith and Imperial warlords as much as anyone, this was an engaging change from the villain- and superweapon-of-the-week stories found fairly often in the Bantam era. Battle lines are drawn but good and evil are often not clearly delineated, a theme shown on a micro scale by the numerous local conflicts and on a macro one by the overall shift in the New Republic's leadership compared to the spark of benevolence found in Pallaeon's vision for the Empire. Of course, lest anyone think the entire Empire has suddenly changed character, we do get the evil Moff Disra, his co-conspirator Major Tierce, and the actor Flim trying to flare up the minor disagreements in the New Republic's constituencies into the downfall of the galactic government.

Mr. Zahn brings back several favorite/pivotal characters from throughout the Bantam books. Smuggler Talon Karrde returns along with Mara Jade, both still aiding and abetting the New Republic despite trying to keep their distance. Duplicitous-but-not-quite-evil Borsk Fey'lya is back and finds himself the center of an unwelcome spotlight with the resurgence of the Caamas holocaust. There are many minor nods to other stories and Zahn also lifts bits from Star Wars short stories he wrote for the Tales books and other sources.

Specter of the Past is an excellent start to the Hand of Thrawn duology. Strong and accurate characterizations, an intelligent plot, and a rapid pace set a rock-solid foundation for the sequel Vision of the Future.
... Read more

10. The Third Lynx (Quadrail SF Thrillers)
by Timothy Zahn
Mass Market Paperback: 352 Pages (2008-07-29)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.06
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765356694
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Former government agent Frank Compton foiled a plot to enslave the galaxy in Night Train to Rigel. But the Modhri, an ancient telepathically linked intelligence, has walkers, unwilling hosts that can be anywhere, anything…and anyone. And Compton is the only man who knows how to fight them, as they wage a secret war against the galactic civilizations linked by the Quadrail, the only means of intra-galactic transit.
Accompanied by Bayta, a woman with strange ties to the robot-like Spiders who run the Quadrail, and dogged by special agent Morse who suspects him of murder, Compton races the Modhri from station to station to acquire a set of valuable sculptures from a long-dead civilization. What the Modhri wants with them is anybody’s guess, but if Compton can’t outwit it, the whole galaxy will find out the hard way.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable 2nd book in great series.
It's not perfect, but it is a very good read.The first book in this series, Night Train to Rigel, is better, but I really enjoyed this sequel too.This book follows the continued battle of wits between the main character, Frank Compton, former intelligence agent, and the Modhri, the alien group mind that is trying to take over the universe.Compton has been hired by the Chahwyn, an alien race that few know exist, to battle the Modhri and prevent its secret takeover of every race linked by the Quadrail, the only known means of intergalactic travel available. The Modhri infects humans and aliens alike and can telepathically take control of them at any time.Therefore, the protagonists never know who might be an enemy until the Modhri reveals itself.

This book starts off with a murder on the intergalactic train and continues with the search for a stolen sculpture.The Modhri will stop at nothing to obtain the sculpture for reasons that you will discover later in the novel.

I've been reading and enjoying Mr. Zahn's novels since I started high school over 2o years ago.I think his Blackcollar and Cobra series were the first SF books I ever read.This is not hard SF (insofar as I understand the different SF distinctions).Rather, Mr. Zahn writes accessible and briskly-paced SF stories filled with action, interesting characters, alien technology, and fun plots with surprising twists.I highly recommend this book, but definitely start with Night Train to Rigel.

2-0 out of 5 stars Great expectations... bit of a let down.
After being introduced to Zahn with Heir to the Empire, being immersed in the Conquerer's Saga and thoroughly entertained by The Icarus Hunt, I expected quite a bit more out of one of the current masters of SF. The second book in the "Quadrail SF Thriller", The Third Lynx, picks up shortly after the end of the first book, which this and subsequent books rely upon heavily.

The setup is as unimaginative as the start of most role playing adventures which start in a tavern. This tavern happens to be in the first class car of a train system that runs through inter-dimensional space connecting various parts of the galaxy with a map as confusing as the London Underground. Sadly, the book's plot is no where near as complex as the underground.

One of the interesting things about the series is that it blends a film noir mystery with sci-fi concepts. But if you move the train system back onto Earth, change the aliens to humans, and swap the mind controlling Modhri with brainwashed cultists... well there are dozens of examples to choose from and the noir-SF blend becomes the ONLY interesting aspect. The book shows nothing new, exciting or original, the characters are wooden, and the plot is as transparent as air.

For fans of Timothy Zahn, and I'm still one of them, I'd give this whole series a miss. Pick up a John Scalzi novel, you'd be pleasantly surprised and entertained. These are very easy reads. One of the other reviewers compared them to young adult fiction, but I don't think they're even as 'complicated' as a Hardy Boy Adventure story.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Good Follow Up to Night Train
I enjoyed this book, not quite as much as Night Train to Rigel but still enjoyed it. It does drag a bit but it's definitely worth buying if you enjoyed the first book. I'd rather not spoil the plot so that's about that, enjoy.

2-0 out of 5 stars I liked the first in this series. 2nd book is not as good
"the Night Train To Rigel" is a book that I will always hold up as a crowning achievement of strangeness in the annals of science fiction. Its just a a weird book concept wise and its stylized after a 1940's MGM film noir. However I dont think Zahn left too much room for sequels or continued meaningful exploration as a series. However, Zahn instead is now taking a stand and is churning out one sequel after another in this timeline universe.

Zahn wrote one of my favorite sci fi books of the last couple decades 'icarus hunt' and I picked up 'night train' hoping to find more of the same. Happily, I found this to be the case and upon conclusion jumped right into 'third lynx'. Big Mistake

This is a very uninspired book. You can feel it as the plot moves along very slowly. I would stay away from this even if you enjoyed 'the night train' as I did

3-0 out of 5 stars More noir for Zahn
Perhaps Zahn caught a Hitchcock marathon on late night TV? Night Train To Rigel worked OK, although the plot felt a little too disjointed because the misdirection was oversold. In this sequel, the problem goes the other way ... the misdirection is not convincing enough.

It features a classic noir setup, in which a man is found standing over a body and now has to solve the crime because he has become the prime suspect. But after toying with that a bit, the plot device is abandoned.

Instead, a different kind of device becomes the focus of the book. The rest of the story is an extended hunt for what is obviously a McGuffin. With a nod to Hammett's Maltese Falcon, everyone is looking for a piece of black sculpture called "the third lynx". The bad guys want it so the good guys want to get it instead of them, even though they don't know why the bad guys want it in the first place.

While Night Train could have been left to stand alone, the publication of Lynx indicates this is now officially a series. And sure enough, the third book is called Odd Girl Out.

I would recommend that fans of these books try some Hitchcock movies, but I'm afraid that they would be disappointed when they discover that Hitchcock did it better. ... Read more

11. Triplet
by Timothy Zahn
Mass Market Paperback: 369 Pages (1987-08-01)
list price: US$3.95 -- used & new: US$12.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671653415
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Zahn's best early novels
Timothy Zahn is one of the most original science fiction authors writing today. He is currently perhaps best known for his contributions to the "Star Wars" universe, particularly the novels in which he brought to life Grand Admiral Thrawn and his race, the Chiss. However, Zahn has also written four excellent short story collections and a large number of other novels, which range from fair to excellent.

Zahn's first few novels were competent but pretty standard fare involving physically enhanced (the "Cobra" series) or chemically enhanced (the "Blackcollar" series) human warriors fighting stereotypical evil aliens. But about 20 years ago he started to branch out with much more imaginative and original works and "Triplet" was one of the first of these, and perhaps the best of his early work.

The story is set on an extraordinary group of linked planets: at the start of the novel there are believed to be three of them, hence the name "Triplet". When humans first arive at Triplet, they find a derelict planet, apparently once occupied by a humanoid race who blasted themselves to extinction in a nuclear war. But on that planet is a tunnel to another world, "Shamsheer" where high technology follows Clarke's law, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." And from Shamsheer there is a second tunnel which leads to the world "Karyx", where there really is magic, complete with Demogorgons, Demons, and sprites etc.

The hero and heroine of the story, Danae and Ravagin are well drawn characters. Danae Panya, or to give her real name, Danae mal ce Taeger, is the talented but spoilt and headstrong daughter of one of the richest and most powerful men in the Universe. Danae is constantly trying to get out from under her father's influence and achieve things for herself: she is surreptitiously followed by undercover agents hired by her father to try to smooth her path and protect her. Ragavin is a worldly-wise and cynical guide who has been escorting tourists and scholars round Triplet for many years, and wants to retire, but he has been ordered to look after Danae as his final assignment.

Danae and Ragavin don't hit it off well, but this is the least of their problems, because other people and beings on Triplet have their own plots and plans.

Zahn continued to improve greatly after he wrote Triplet, and consequently it is not quite as good or as original as the best of his later work, but still good fun.

If you want to read one of Timothy Zahn's most imaginative or original more recent books, try "Warhorse", "Deadman Switch", or "The Green and the Gray"

5-0 out of 5 stars It's Triple the Reading Pleasure
I read this book when it first came out some time back. It's one of the few books that I can't seem to be able to keep out of my mind. It's so unique in the plot and story line, that I put it up there with the Uplift Wars saga. An excellent book. Read it, if you can find it. Get it if you can.

5-0 out of 5 stars da bomb
Triplet was found by ancient star farers, and they later found out that triplet was three worlds in one. The first world, thresh hold is normal, except its real dreary. The second world, Shamsheer, has such hightechknowledgey that it is like magic the wierd thing is, no one knows abouthow it started. Then there is Karyx, with demons galore. My point being BUYTHIS BOOK IT IS THE COOLEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ!

5-0 out of 5 stars Where are the Blackcollars?
Actually i don\t want to write about this book. I just wanted to ask, why T. Zahn does not write some more stuff about the Blackcollars? I am waiting for a third Volume sinceyears. That is no way to treat your fans!By theway, is there any possibility to get in touch with Zahn personally to askhim about that ?

2-0 out of 5 stars Mediocre fantasy
Some interesting ideas, including the concept of going from a SciFi system to a Fantasy system, but by and large, this is only worth cotton candy. ... Read more

12. Blackcollar: The Judas Solution
by Timothy Zahn
Mass Market Paperback: 464 Pages (2008-04-29)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1416555439
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Damon Lathe and his blackcollar combat team were sent to capture five hidden Nova-class warships from under the Ryqril conquerors’ snouts. Against all odds they had succeeded, sharing their prize with the Terran Democratic Empire’s erstwhile Chryselli allies, who were themselves the current focus of Ryqril aggression. Lathe had followed that by successfully entering Earth’s last mountain war-era fortress and found a small resistance movement’s final project: a drug called Whiplash, which could break the supposedly unbreakable Ryqril loyalty-conditioning. Now they face their most serious challenge. On one of the conquered human colony worlds is a Ryqril tactical center through which flows an entire sector’s worth of military data. If the blackcollars can find a way inside, it could tip the balance in the current Ryqril-Chryselli war. It could even start humanity on the path back to ultimate freedom. But the Ryqril aren’t sitting idly by. Under threat of reprisals against his world, Prefect Jamus Galway of Plinry is already on the case. His plan: to turn the blackcollars and their combat skill into unknowing tools of the Ryqril. His hidden ace: a clone duplicate of Lathe’s ally Allan Caine, ready to be slipped into Lathe’s inner circle. It will be the blackcollars’ most important mission. It may also be their last.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally!
The Judas Solution (2006) is the long awaited conclusion to the Blackcollar trilogy, following The Backlash Mission.In the previous volume, thirty years after the Ryqril conquest, the blackcollars were getting old and searching for the secret of making others of their kind.Blackcollars were trained in various martial arts and other armed and unarmed combat methods, but they were also treated with Backlash, a drug that enhanced their reflexes.

A blackcollar team from Plinry came to Earth to find the secret.They found a way to enter the locked Aegis Mountain stronghold where they found the Whiplash formula.But it was not what they were seeking.Instead, it was a drug to break down Ryqril loyalty conditioning.

In this novel, Damon Lathe is a commando commander -- comsquare -- of blackcollars.He has been looking for an effective weapon against the Ryqril conquerors.The discovery of Whiplash appears promising.

Rafe Skyler is an enhanced blackcollar in Lathe's team.He is basically second in command of the group.

Chelsey Jensen is an enhanced blackcollar.He is their best pilot, but the team is worried about his depression over the loss of his friend Novak during the recovery of three TDE Nova-class warships.

Allen Caine is a trained blackcollar, but he has never been treated with Backlash.He is a clone of Alain Rienzi and was prepared by the Resistance for a ploy that was never used.He later joined Lathe's blackcollar team.

Will Flynn is a blackcollar trainee.He has learned a lot of tricks from Mordecai, the best martial artist on the team.

Jamus Galway is the loyalty conditioned Security Prefect on Plinry.By now, he is fully aware that a coterie of blackcollars are dwelling on his planet.He comes up with a scheme to trap the team.

Karl Judas is another clone of Alain Rienzi.He is tracked down and recruited by Galway to impersonate Allen Caine as part of the scheme.

Sam Foxleigh lives in a hermit's cabin in the foothills near Aegis Mountain.He had observed the Resistance group that developed Whiplash and then the blackcollar raid on the mountain.By the time that he had made up his mind, the Resistance group and blackcollars were gone.

In this story, Galway confronts Judas and takes him away for training.It will take at least eight months to obtain sufficient proficiency to pose as an unenhanced blackcollar.Meanwhile, Judas will receive loyalty conditioning.

Lathe is still training young volunteers as blackcollars.While they will not have the reflexes of the enhanced blackcollars, they will be fully trained small unit commandos.

After Flynn passes his final test, Lethe receives a call from General Lepkowski, commander of the Novak.He has learned that the Ryqril have built a tactical coordination center on Khala.Lethe knows that it is probably a trap, but decides to reconnoiter the site.

There is already a group of blackcollars on Khala lead by tactor Shaw.Tactors are senior officers who command several teams of blackcollars.Lathe probably can get information and personnel from these teams.

Meanwhile, the Ryqril and Galway are listening to the encrypted signal.Although they cannot understand the words, Galway is convinced from Lathe's tone of voice that the blackcollars will be going to Khala.

Lathe travels to Khala -- with Mordecai, Spadafora, and Caine -- to checkout the new Ryqril center. Simultaneously, Skyler takes another team -- including Hawking, O'Hara, Jensen and Flynn -- to Earth for another look at Aegis Mountain.They plan on confusing the Ryqril.

Sam Foxleigh finally meets a blackcollar face-to-face.He really wants to get into Aegis Mountain and figures that the blackcollars can show him the way.

This tale shows the Ryqril as rather clueless soldiers.They seem to have stolen most of their technology.The warriors are fast and skilled, but are not very subtle.They are definitely not in the same class as the blackcollars.

The Blackcollar from DAW Books started the first series by the author.Consequently, he started the Cobra Trilogy from Baen shortly after the first Blackcollar novel.So the Blackcollar and Cobra series ran concurrently and competed for reader attention.Naturally, many SF fans bought both series.

The Cobra trilogy was completed in 1988, but the Blackcollar series was left hanging after The Backlash Mission.Two decades later, the trilogy was finally completed.The storyline still contains some dangling threads, so the possibility of a sequel is not totally infeasible.Read and enjoy!

Highly recommended for Zahn fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of martial arts, alien invaders, and personal combat.

-Arthur W. Jordin

4-0 out of 5 stars Love the series.....
I'd much rather see the Cobra series continued but this storyline is similar enough to be as entertaining. As I have gotten older I guess I am harder to entertain. I expected a bit more plot. I wanted there to be something magical to come out of the mountain base. I had high expectations that were not met. Worth having though.

4-0 out of 5 stars Blackcollar: The Judas Solution fun to read after a long wait!
In "Blackcollar: The Judas Solution" Timothy Zahn brings some needed and fun to read closure to the Blackcollar series he had started in 1983.

The original two Blackcollar novels are now available in a one book format and were exciting SF/Action stories with interesting plots and characters.Reading the original novel(s) is not essential to but will greatly add to the enjoyment of this new Blackcollar novel which is set less than a year after the other stories.

The setting of all of these stories is several hundred years in the future when the human TerranDemocratic Empire (TDE) has been conquered by the alien Ryqril and is tightly controlled via loyalty-conditioned puppet governments and security forces.The Blackcollars were TDE special forces combat teams with greater than human speed and reflexes who were not able to prevent the Ryqril conquest but are now working to end it.In each novel, including this one, the special abilities and unexpected tactics of the Blackcollars are pitted against the overwhelming logistical advantages of the Ryqril and their human allies.

The greatest adversary of the Blackcollars in each story is Security Prefect Jamus Galway who has a far greater tactical ability than many other loyalty conditioned humans.Galway uses his abilities not just as a puppet but wants to defeat the Blackcollars to spare his world from Ryqril reprisals, making him a much more sympathetic adversary than he would otherwise be.

In "The Judas Solution" some of the plot elements from the other stories are recycled a bit and there are some small continuity problems (including the Ryqril being a bit less formidable than in past stories).However, the plot, characterization and action in this book are similar in quality to the past ones and several of the plot twists make the book almost impossible to put down in the last half of the book!

I found that the first half of the book was a bit slow paced and too similar to the prior stories for my taste, but as I indicated above the second half of the book more than made up for this.In particular I enjoyed seeing the character arc of Jamus Galway concluded in a very satisfying way. The overall story arc of defeating the Ryqril is also brought to a fairly good conclusion, not quite as expected, but actually fairly believable.

If you like good action adventure stories with a science fictional background you will likely enjoy this book.If after reading this you are looking for other good books by Timothy Zahn with a similar feel to them you could try his Cobra or Conqueror series books.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant conclusion (?) to the series

Timothy Zahn is best known for his Star Wars books.He has written other Science Fiction books.My favorite Timothy Zahn story is "Pawn's Gambit" published in Analog in 1982.It was a Hugo nominee and was republished in Distant Friends and Others.

The Blackcollar stories were in a universe where humans were conquered by the Ryqril.Once conquered it is hard for humans to rebel.The Ryqril were able to develop a drug which turns humans into slaves.The Judas Solution is the third in the series.

The heroes in the story are Blackcollars, men who have been given a special drug which makes them excellent fighters.Their reflexes are twice as fast as the average human.They also have extensive training.There is a lot of martial arts fighting.

In The Judas Solution the heroes travel back to Earth and to Khala.On Earth the Blackcollars are trying to strengthen the resistance.They have a drug which counteracts the Ryqril slave drug.But the resistance has stayed very passive.It takes some time before the Blackcollars understand why the resistance hasn't done more.On Khala the Blackcollars are trying to destroy a Ryqril complex, but the Blackcollars have their own hidden agendas.

The Judas Solution is the third book in the series.It could be the conclusion, but it does open up new plot lines.If you enjoyed the earlier Blackcollar stories, this is worth reading.If you haven't read the first two, my suggestion is you read the earlier two books before reading this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Zahn returns in high form to complete the Blackcollar trilogy
Despite the fact that there's a 20-year gap between The Backlash Mission and this book, it is truly a seamless transition.It's amazing how seamless it really is.I read all three Blackcollar books a row and it didn't feel like there was any break at all.This book starts up like book 2 came out last year.

Zahn wraps up the Blackcollar series in an interesting way.The writing is solid.He does a great job of balancing all the different points of view.And he does a commendable job with the action scenes, as usual.There aren't too many of his cool trademarked phrases this time ("he cocked an eyebrow," "pursed his lips," "Point"), but it still feels like pure Zahn.

The Ryqril dialogue is an interesting touch.I struggled with it initially.But if you read it slowly and figure out the pattern, you'll do fine.It gives the book a unique flavor and really distinguishes the aliens.

The book itself is pretty good.I liked the font size.The paper quality isn't the best but it's satisfactory.

I would certainly advise reading the first two Blackcollar books before this one.You'll get a lot more out of it this way.And if you've read those two, definitely read this one.It's very close to the first Blackcollar book in terms of its high quality.Excellent work.
... Read more

13. Manta's Gift
by Timothy Zahn
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (2003-08-18)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$3.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 081258032X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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When Matt Raimey had his accident, he thought his life was over. He never dreamed, in his wildest fantasies, that he’d end up in a spot like this. In the toxic atmosphere of Jupiter, born into the body of an enormous creature that looked like a cross between a manta ray and a dolphin, he is living a new life, unlike any humankind had previously experienced.

An unbelievable turn of events, it gave him a reason to live, to survive, no matter what happened . . . but every second chance comes with conditions and responsibilities. And as those who brought him to this strange destiny have their authority stripped from them and he discovers the truth that only he can know about the giant alien creatures he now calls family, this man reborn as the one they now call Manta suddenly isn’t sure he wasn’t better off before. . . .
... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

1-0 out of 5 stars Amazon lies
Amazon says this book is one of my recommendations, but I have never read it nor have I ordered it from Amazon.

5-0 out of 5 stars It Doesn't Get Much Better than This!!
The holy grail of science fiction is to write a novel from a truly alien perspective in a way that will not only make sense to English-language readers but that will allow them to enter into that perspective and to make it their own.That is precisely what Timothy Zahn has accomplished with Manta's Gift.This is a novel that takes place almost entirely in the gaseous layers of Jupiter, the home of manta-like creatures that guard a secret that humanity needs to know-- and will do anything to discover.

Zahn's writing is sophisticated and richly detailed, and his characters are very easy to get invested in.He manages to employ alien jingoism believably and without the need for intrusive editorial explanation, but doesn't go overboard.The result is a sci-fi novel you won't be able to put down.With Manta's Gift, Zahn joins Orson Scott Card at the top of the list of my favorite novelists.

5-0 out of 5 stars What an intriguing concept!
This yarn reminds me of something I read in Carl Sagan's Cosmos book about hypothetical life-forms that could possibly exist in the atmosphere of a gas giant planet.This story goes even deeper into the 'what if' of such an idea.Zahn's writing is fast-paced, and the complexities of the plot make this a real page-turner.When I bought the book I wondered how dramatic life could be in a herd where all the creatures seem to do is eat, sleep, mate, and fight off predators.But this author has woven so many hidden agendas into this story, mostly surrounding the Qanska's interaction with Manta and his with the humans that you're kept guessing about what's going on right up to the last minute.

4-0 out of 5 stars Better than you'd think from reading the back cover
I picked up this one at a used book sale at the local library for next to nothing... not because reading the back cover (or the front cover for that matter) grabbed my attention (because they most certainly did NOT), but becuase I knew Timothy Zahn from his work on the Star Wars "Heir to the Empire" trilogy and had really enjoyed his writing.Turns out, it was a very good pickup that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Unlike a lot of contemporary sci-fi, this one actually DOES make an effort at including science into the fiction, and Zahn does incorporate several creative and thought provoking ideas and concepts into the life and ecology of the Jupiter that he creates.... (as odd and implausible as some of those ideas and "science" may be, they should at least make the reader step back and say 'hmmm, interesting').Zahn succeeds in giving his story an "old school" sci-fi feel to it that a lot of newer entries into the genre seem to be lacking.

For all the science and creativity though, the story really succeeds becuase the characters are interesting and sympathetic, the plot is fast paced and exciting, the book is not easy to "figure out" 200 pages before the finish (i.e. there is suspense), and the writing is sharp and clear.This one MORE than met my expectations, and I'll be hitting more of Zahn's work when the next opportunity presents itself.In my opinion at least, that's pretty high praise for an author, and this book was well worth the read.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Zahn's sharpest novels yet
I've enjoyed Timothy Zahn's work for almost a decade now; I think his Star Wars novels are the best ever written in that universe, and his original space operas are zippy, exciting, and innovative.

My only quibble:Too often, it seems that about a hundred pages into a Zahn novel, his characters stop being the incredibly realistic and intriguing folks they've been so far and become flatter, more familiar, and less interesting.

That's why Manta's Gift surprised me so much.Not only does this book run from page one with a kind of non-stop manic energy, but the characters Zahn creates are both consistent and consistently alien.This is a weird, wonderful glimpse into the sort of society that might be buried beneath Jupiter's clouds, a culture alien enough that I never knew what to expect but human enough that I cared deeply about the characters.If you like stories with both a brain and a heart, check this one out! ... Read more

14. Outbound Flight (Star Wars)
by Timothy Zahn
Mass Market Paperback: 464 Pages (2007-01-30)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 034545684X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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It began as the ultimate voyage of discovery–only to become the stuff of lost Republic legend . . . and a dark chapter in Jedi history. Now, at last, acclaimed author Timothy Zahn returns to tell the whole extraordinary story of the remarkable–and doomed–Outbound Flight Project.

The Clone Wars have yet to erupt when Jedi Master Jorus C’baoth petitions the Senate for support of a singularly ambitious undertaking. Six Jedi Masters, twelve Jedi Knights, and fifty thousand men, women, and children will embark–aboard a gargantuan vessel, equipped for years of travel–on a mission to contact intelligent life and colonize undiscovered worlds beyond the known galaxy. The government bureaucracy threatens to scuttle the expedition before it can even start–until Master C’baoth foils a murderous conspiracy plot, winning him the political capital he needs to set in motion the dream of Outbound Flight.

Or so it would seem. For unknown to the famed Jedi Master, the successful launch of the mission is secretly being orchestrated by an unlikely ally: the evil Sith Lord, Darth Sidious, who has his own reasons for wanting Outbound Flight to move forward . . . and, ultimately, to fail.

Yet Darth Sidious is not the mission’s most dangerous challenge. Once underway, the starship crosses paths at the edge of Unknown Space with the forces of the alien Chiss Ascendancy and the brilliant mastermind best known as “Thrawn.” Even Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, aboard Outbound Flight with his young Padawan student, Anakin Skywalker, cannot help avert disaster. Thus what begins as a peaceful Jedi mission is violently transformed into an all-out war for survival against staggering odds–and the most diabolical of adversaries.

Timothy Zahn’s unique mix of espionage, political gamesmanship, and deadly interstellar combat breathes electrifying life into a Star Wars legend.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (103)

4-0 out of 5 stars A properly done Star Wars prequel
Timothy Zahn's Outbound Flight (Star Wars) is a Star Wars prequel done right. Zahn takes the admittedly weak hand dealt to him by the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy and explains the backstory of Thrawn and C'baoth. Generally, his interweaving of prequel and Heir to the Empire plot elements is seamless (although Obi-Wan and Anakin seem like they were thrown in against the author's will). I particularly liked how Thrawn comes to learn about Darth Sidious and join his side.

I didn't feel the characters in Outbound Flight (Star Wars) were as strong as in Zahn's other work. They seem a bit too set in their ways and don't grow much. For example, Qennto is always stubborn, while Maris is always idealistic. Car'das is pretty decently done. Thrawn probably comes off as too much of a gentleman to relate to how he later appears in Heir to the Empire, but it's still easy to see them as the same character. In fact, Thrawn's brilliant strategies and curiosity about other races seem perfectly in character. I also liked Zahn's treatment of C'baoth. At first, he came off as too arrogant - almost exactly like his clone in Heir to the Empire. However, there were some subtle differences that made it interesting to compare. One pleasant surprise was Lorena Jinzler, a young Jedi who becomes very interesting towards the end.

Overall, given where the rest of the Star Wars universe has gone since Zahn first started writing in the early 1990s, this is probably about as good a backstory to Thrawn as we could get.

5-0 out of 5 stars Timothy Zahn is a Master
I'm not going to rehash the earlier reviewers, I just want to give a quick statement. This is another masterpiece by Timothy Zahn. Outlined here is the original Republic contact with the Chiss empire and the man who would later become Grand Admiral Thrawn, one of the best tacticians ever. It's definitely a page turner and a must have for any true Star Wars fan.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Entertainingly Good Read
I have read a number of Timothy Zahn novels, and this is one of his better ones (not the best, but very good).I enjoyed reading about the roots of Admiral Thrawn, what his people are like, their rules of engagement, and cultural idiosyncrasies.And I really enjoyed reading about Jorus C'Boath (the "real" one!) and how just belligerent and turgid he was, bullying his way around everywhere, telling people what to do and how to do it.You'll just love to hate him.

In typical Zahn fashion, there is much detail and character development.Finally, though I read this book prior to reading the "Hand of Thrawn" duology (which is actually chronologically correct), Zahn was very careful to dovetail many, if not all, the details presented in his earlier works with this prequel.

All in all, it was quite enjoyable to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very interesting story
Another great book by Timothy Zahn.You really can't go wrong with this guy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Outbound Flight
Star Wars: Outbound Flight, by Timothy Zahn

In "Outbound Flight," Zahn gives background history on the Chiss and Commander Thrawn, the enigmatic strategic powerhouse made famous in the "Heir to the Empire" trilogy, back in 1992.

Zahn also gives the origins of the Outbound Flight, a space project meant to explore the next galaxy, crewed by potential settlers and a group of Jedi Knights. Jorus C'baoth, a Jedi Master familiar to readers of Zahn's other books, is the force behind the Outbound Flight, and his descent into madness is described in this book. C'baoth is a sort of Jedi megalomaniac, who thinks that because the Jedi can draw on the Force, they are the rightful rulers of the ordinary people.

The portrayal of C'baoth is perhaps a little heavy-handed, as it's hard to believe the Jedi Council would let him continue on his power quest. Especially since some members of the Council, such as Mace Windu, question C'baoth's motives. Windu sends Obi-Wan and Anakin to covertly watch the Outbound Flight and its Jedi leader before it leaves the galaxy.

But the real star of the story is Commander Thrawn, who I loved learning more about. We get to see Thrawn's military genius, and his initial contact with Darth Sidious. I would have liked to see even more about the Chiss, as the glimpses given of their protocol and rituals was fascinating.

"Outbound Flight" was mostly a good read, with fast action, space battles, and good characters. I had a few quibbles, such as an annoying character or two, but they weren't enough to distract from an otherwise enjoyable installment in the Extended Universe.

4/5. ... Read more

15. Allegiance (Star Wars)
by Timothy Zahn
Mass Market Paperback: 432 Pages (2007-12-26)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.05
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345477391
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Never before has the incendiary mix of action, politics, and intrigue that has become Timothy Zahn’s trademark, been mmore evident that in this new Star Wars epic. On the heels of the stunning events chronicled in Star Wars: A New Hope, the newly minted heroes of the Rebellion–fledgling Jedi Luke Skywalker, smuggler turned reluctant freedom-fighter Han Solo, and Princess Leia Organa, a bold leader with a world to avenge–must face the harsh realities of the cataclysmic conflict into which they have so bravely plunged. From this point forward, legends will grow, treachery will abound, and lives will be irrevocably altered, in the long, hard fight to counter the fist of tyranny and restore hope to a galaxy too long in darkness.

The destruction of the Death Star by the Rebel Alliance was a decisive blow against the Empire, but Palpatine and his monstrous enforcer, Darth Vader, are no less of a threat. The brutal extermination of Alderaan not only demonstrated the magnitude of their murderous power, but served as a chilling testament to their resolve to crush the Rebel uprising. Standing against them, Skywalker, Solo, and the Princess remain uncertain opponents. Luke is gifted and brave, but unschooled in the power he possesses. Han has doubts about waging someone else’s war–and his contentiousness is one more burden for Leia to bear as she struggles to help keep the Rebellion alive. The three have been sent to mediate a dispute between Rebel Alliance factions in Shelsha Sector–agitating matters by forcing Han to deal not only with pirates, but with his more dreaded enemy, politics. At the same time, Mara Jade–all of eighteen and years away from her fateful meeting with Luke–is serving her evil master, Palpatine, well in her role as the Emperor’s Hand: tracking suspected treachery in the Empire to what may be high places–while trying to stay out of Darth Vader’s way.

But the Rebels will prove to be only one of the Empire’s concerns. For Imperial Stormtrooper Daric LaRone, his faith in the Empire shaken by the wanton destruction of Alderaan, will commit a sudden and violent act of defiance, and take four other enforcers with him, in a desperate bid to elude their masters’ wrath.

Each of these fateful actions, whether sanctioned, secret, or scandalous, will expose brutality and corruption, spur upheavals destined to shake the Empire to its core, and shape momentous events yet to come.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (77)

3-0 out of 5 stars It was ok. I'd say borrow it rather than buy it.
The main characters in it are written really well, but the problem is the characters we know and love are barely even there at all. Basically the characters from the movie just don't shine like in his other Thrawn books.

It is an interesting plot idea and a nice little read, but I think if he would have avoided the movie characters it would have been better.

Like I said I don't know if I'd cough up the green for it, but I'd give it a read if a friend had it.

2-0 out of 5 stars Boring, predictable, but it wasnt terrible.
I've read a lot of SW EU novels... and they are never very good. Which is why I stopped reading them... this one was alright... not very memorable... pretty predictable...

5-0 out of 5 stars Timothy Zahn is a Master
This is a great book, as is normal from Timothy Zahn. This book takes place after Episode IV but prior to Episode V. You get to see Mara Jade in action as the Emperor's Hand. Along with that, there's an actual like-able band of Storm Troopers entering into the action. Combined with Luke, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and of course, Darth Vader (who is as angry as ever), this is a great read.

This is a definite page turner, one of the better EU novels for Star Wars. Enjoy!

Mike Saxton, Author of "7 Scorpions: Rebellion"

4-0 out of 5 stars Zahn continues telling good Star Wars stories
While not as great as his "Thrawn Trilogy" or as good as his "Hand of Thrawn" duology, I still find this an enjoyable book. Since the book is set between "A New Hope" and "The Empire Strikes Back," it's kind of hard for the story or characters to develop too much. Han and Leia can't fall in love because they aren't at that point yet. Luke is still a budding Jedi instead of having powers. Most of the development needed to fall on the characters not seen in the movies. In this case five disillusioned storm troopers and a more capable than she probably should have been Mara Jade.

First though, the basics of the story. The five storm troopers become involved in an accident and desert the empire only to stay idealistic enough to want to continue defending the citizens of the Empire; their disillusionment is rooted in the corruption of power with which they must deal. Trying to be true to their ideals, they take it upon themselves to track down some pirates who are smuggling Imperial supplies. Meanwhile Mara Jade, acting in the role of the "Emperor's Hand," is tracking down a world governor who is stealing Imperial tax money. There is a lot more to the plot as Han, Luke, Leia and Chewbacca become first indirectly involved for political reasons and then direct participants.

The story is tightly written with multiple angles and views to the events. Unfortunately the characters end up a bit flat. I think most of that is due to the timing of being squished in between two of the movies. I did find it difficult to remember key characteristics of each of the five troopers but if you consider the size of the cast (at least 15 different key characters), it's hard to give each of them something unique and easily memorable in only 400 pages.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great!
Timothy Zahn is always entertaining to read.I don't think I fully realized how good of a writer he is, until I started reading some Star Wars books by other authors.His writing style is extremely engaging, interesting and he has a way of pulling you into the plot and the entire Star Wars universe.You really can't go wrong with any books from Timothy Zahn, and this was no exception.The plot was very interesting and a refreshing break from the usual characters we know. ... Read more

16. Conquerors' Heritage (The Conquerors Saga, Book Two)
by Timothy Zahn
Mass Market Paperback: 368 Pages (1995-08-01)
list price: US$7.50 -- used & new: US$2.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553567721
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In Conquerors' Pride, Timothy Zahn, Hugo Award-winning author of the New York Times bestselling Star Wars(r) trilogy, unfurled an epic tale of drama and courage as the interstallar Commonwealth faced savage invasion by alien starships of unknown origin.Now he probes deeply into the world of the invaders themselves in one of the most powerful evocations of an alien society ever created.

The Zhirrzh have won a temporary respite in their war with the barbarians.But the Humancaptive Pheylan Cavanaugh has escaped, and for that Thrr-gilag, the young Searcher, finds himself disgraced, his bond-engagement to a female of a rival clan imperilled.Soon he becomes a target of hidden and powerful forces seeking to remake Zhirrzh society in their own merciless image.His only hope is to prove that the overclan authorities are wrong:that it was not the
Humans who started the war.

But time is short.The forces of the Zhirrzh are overextended and face swift retaliation.The Zhirrzh have learned to conquer death itself -- but even that awesome power will be no match for the devastating might of the Human Conqueror armadas.Thrr-gilag soon comes to realize that his people face a two-fold
threat:destruction by Human technology. . . or destruction from within. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Conqueror Trilogy
The Conqueror Trilogy is totally engaging, a favorite among my science fiction picks.I own both the books and audiobooks, and listen to/read them about once a year.The story never gets old.My only regret is that the final installment (Conqueror's Legacy) was never released as an audio book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent second novel in Trilogy
Timothy Zahn has upped the stakes in his second novel in the Conquer's trilogy. After the first novel,Conqueror's Pride, which details the events that lead to the beginning of the Human-Zhirrzh war, Zahn takes on the ambitious task of narrating the events from the aliens point of view. This is one of those novels that should have a degree of difficulty factor figured into the review is this is not an easy thing to accomplish.

However Zahn does a superb job of pulling this off by clearing explaining the differences in culture but also interjecting just enough similarities between humans and the Zhirrzh to help the reader identify with this alien culture. The greates difference between the two is that the Zhirrzh have two states of being-the first as biological entities and then after their mortal bodies die they are able to exist as incoporeal beings known as Elders.

The Zhirrzh belive that their human opponents have devised a super-weapon that will not only destroy their coporeal bodies, but can extinguish their lives as Elders as well. The majority of this novel deals with the Zhirrzh's attempts to find out if the Humans do actually possess such a weapon and how they can possibly overcome a force that they have never encountered before in their existence.

By telling the narrative through the Zhirrzh's perspective, Timothy Zahn has given depth to this military-style space opera. This enables the reader to identify with both participants in this battle and sets the stage very well for what should be a rousing conclusion to this trilogy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazingly written
Timothy Zahn has a knack for keeping you on your toes.Although this book is the second in a trillogy, it is distinctly different from the first in so many ways, and yet, it fits in with the story impeccably.I was very impressed.A must-read for all sci-fi fans.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Zhurzh are awesome!
I read the first book, and I really enjoyed it, and I just wanted to getthe seconed one. When I realized that it was from the point of view of theZhurzh, I started to have doubts, but it turned out to be just as good asthe first. Vivid, and emotional, you find yourself feeling the way thecharacters do, hoping that things will turn out for them. This bookcompelled me to read the third.

5-0 out of 5 stars A refreshing change
I first got into Timothy Zahn's work through his Star Wars Titles, which were good. However his work with the Conqueror's Trillogy is exceptional. His non Star Wars stuff is far superior. His approach to the concept of"First Contact" is refreshing and well worked. If you want toread a good story with very interesting twists, these are the books foryou. ... Read more

17. Terminator Salvation: From the Ashes: The Official Prequel Novelization
by Timothy Zahn
Mass Market Paperback: 320 Pages (2009-03-17)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$1.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1848560869
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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FromThe Ashes, written by Hugo Award-winning author Timothy Zahn, sets thescene for the events chronicled in the movie Terminator Salvation,revealing the full story behind John Connor, the man fated to lead thehuman resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators.

Inpost-Judgment Day LA, two lost kids named Kyle and Star keep watch forTerminators; a jaded Marine struggles to keep his rag-tag communitytogether in the face of unrelenting danger; and John and Kate Connorassemble their Resistance team for a brutal assault on a deadly enemy. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars Terminators never seem to knock (how rude!)
Following the fun that Skynet dropped on humanity (and I'm not talking board games), a small group of humans started fighting back. They have with them some of the things you need to stop a T-1, the wonderful tank series, a t-600, the model that likes to shoot a lot, and the HK's, the kind that prowl the night. They also have bunkers, surprises, and other things that should catch your interest. What they don't have is a computer mind, an army of drones, and the ability to keep upgrading.
It seems like a nice fight to watch.

In some ways I wish I would have read this book before the movie because it offered me a few things. The Guns and Roses tape we see in the movie? There is an answer for it (and, no, it isn't having really deep pockets or leaving it in the wash). It also shows us the two main characters and their connection, explaining a few things between them. Aside from that, it gives life to so many of the face we see in the movie, impressively showing their flaws and the things that keep them keeping on.

On the flip side of that, there are the Terminators. I personally like seeing some of the older models in action, not to mention some of the newer models (foor this time, that is). The way they are written is a beautiful thing and it makes me appreciate Skynet even more. When the 'Net sets its "mind" on something, a lot of folks are going to buy the old farm.

Other things to mention are the writing - really great considering how scared I was of this, the way the characters come alive, and the way the tale unfolds. The beginning is like chaos being born and, really, I have always thought it would be like that. I'm glad they show us how people stay sane AND alive.

If you are a fan of the movie, check this out for some clarity. You will see things here that help you make sense of things you see in the movie. Even people who don't want to read about the 'Net might want to check it out - if only to know where that tape came from. Honestly, it really bothered me in the movie and you have to forgive me for going on about it. I just wanted to know how something like that lasted 27 years.

5-0 out of 5 stars Better than the movie itself
I haven't read this novel in a while, but I'll convey the pros & cons as much as possible. First, I purchased this novel in anticipation for the movie. I'm a huge believer in continuity, & when someone messes up major details (e.g. dates in movies/novels), it's naturally upsetting. The story is pretty good & gives the reader a sense that its characters are in it for survival. Keep in mind this novel is a prequel & does not follow "Salvation."

I was able to imagine people scourging for food & weapons more so in this novel than I ever did in the actual movie. The movie suffers from bad editing, & the ending just plain sucks. Why am I mentioning the movie? Well, because I think I've lost all faith in the franchise; this novel was the last good effort to revive Terminator. Purchase this novel & you won't be disappointed, but rent the movie. No, I do not own "Salvation" on video ;)

4-0 out of 5 stars Timothy Zahn is a good writer
Zahn does a good job with this book.The characters are done well.
I was pleased with my purchase

3-0 out of 5 stars Ok read but....
Doesn't really contribute anything to the story or movie.Kind of a snapshot of something else going on in the terminator world.

5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect complement to the movie
This book, which takes place 5-6 months before the movie, is an excellent introduction to the post-Judgment Day world of 2018. We meet most of the main characters of the movie and get some insight into their history, character, and motivations. We also get a real look at what day-to-day life is like in the post-apocalypse, not just for the epic heroes but also for average people trying to survive in a dangerous and terrifying world where Skynet's ever-expanding army of killing machines are just one of several hazards.

And scary it is. Zahn does his usual perfect job of keeping the tension level up. It's dark and gritty but also surprisingly human, with just a touch of humor here and there to provide a contrast to the action.

From The Ashes stands on its own as a superior page turner set in the Terminator universe, but it also enhances the movie by providing insight into both the world and the people in it. ... Read more

18. Survivor's Quest (Star Wars)
by Timothy Zahn
Mass Market Paperback: 480 Pages (2004-12-28)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345459180
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Sometimes it seems a Jedi’s work is never done and Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker know this only too well. Despite the bond they share in the Force, after three years of marriage the Jedi Master and his wife are still learning the ropes of being a couple—and struggling to find time together between the constant demands of duty. But all that will change when they’re united on an unexpected mission—and must pool their exceptional skills to combat an insidious enemy . . . and salvage a part of Jedi history.

It begins with a message from a surprising source: Nirauan, the planet where Thrawn, dangerous disciple of Emperor Palpatine, once held sway . . . and from which Luke and Mara barely escaped with their lives. The message itself is shocking. After fifty years, the remains of Outbound Flight—a pioneering Jedi expedition viciously destroyed by Thrawn—have been found on Nirauan. Now, the fiercely honor-bound aliens who reside there wish to turn over the remnants of the doomed mission to the New Republic. Accepting the gesture will mean a long voyage into the treacherous cluster of stars where the thousands of souls aboard the Outbound Flight vessel met their grim fate. But it may also mean something more . . . something that has stirred an inexplicable sense of foreboding in Mara.

Whatever may await, the Skywalkers will not face it alone. Joining them on the strange and solemn journey are an officer of the post-Palpatine Empire, escorted by a detachment of Imperial stormtroopers; a party of diplomats from a gentle alien species that reveres the fallen Jedi for saving them from bloodthirsty conquerors; and a New Republic ambassador who harbors his own mysterious agenda.

Soon enough, suspicion, secrecy, and an unknown saboteur run rampant aboard the isolated ship. But it is within the derelict walls of Outbound Flight itself, buried for half a century on a desolate planetoid, where the gravest danger lies. As the marooned hulk yields up stunning revelations and unexpected terrors to its visitors, Luke and Mara find all they stand for—and their very existence—brutally challenged. And the ultimate test will be surviving the deathtrap carefully laid by foes who are legendary for their ruthlessness . . . and determined to complete the job Thrawn began: exterminating the Jedi.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (80)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not one of Zahn's best
Survivor's Quest (Star Wars) doesn't quite feel like a Timothy Zahn Star Wars novel. His better books, like the Heir to the Empire series, focused on intricate plots and character development. By contrast, Survivor's Quest (Star Wars) takes a while to build up, and then has a lot of action featuring the Skywalkers. Given that we know Luke and Mara won't die, there's not a whole lot of suspense. By the end, everything seems almost too easy for the Jedi, with Luke and Mara cutting down enemies left and right. Also, the ending leaves a lot of open questions, especially for a sequel.

That being said Survivor's Quest (Star Wars) does have some bright spots. Some of the secondary characters are great. Dean Jinzler and Evelyn. Also, I like how it hints at the events in the past, but never really reveals the full story. In retrospect, the plot only really makes sense after having read Outbound Flight (Star Wars), even though it was published nearly 3 years earlier. Fans of Zahn should probably read it to see what happens to Outward Bound, but it's not a fully satisfying conclusion.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun, brisk conclusion to the Outbound Flight story
Survivor's Quest occupies an interesting place in the Expanded Universe, set between the brilliant Hand of Thrawn duology which wraps up many loose ends from the prior novels and the start of the dark and sprawling New Jedi Order series. It is a lighter tale than the adjoining novels in the timeline and for the most part tightly focuses on Luke Skywalker and his wife Mara Jade Skywalker. The book ties heavily to Zahn's Outbound Flight, which he wrote later but which is set decades earlier. Reading Outbound Flight first is not required (I didn't myself the first time around) but it certainly helps flesh out this story.

The strongest aspects of Survivor's Quest are Zahn's exploration of Luke and Mara's new marriage and the mysterious plot he weaves around the semi-legendary Outbound Flight project. Luke has had numerous ups and downs throughout the various Star Wars novels but he ended Vision of the Future on a high: ready to push forward with the continued rebirth of the Jedi and also madly in love with Mara. Mara also came out of that story in a good place, finally putting many of her demons from her youth as an assassin for the Empire to rest and moving on to a brighter future. Zahn picks up where he left off and portrays a balanced, happy couple. Realistically for a newly married couple, they are still finding their roles and adjusting to life together, but it is nice to have a book that goes light on the Skywalker angst and lets the characters breathe and even relax a bit.

The other high point of this book is the carefully constructed plot centering on the disappearance of the Outbound Flight project and the thousands of people onboard decades earlier. Zahn excels at parcelling out enough information to keep the book moving briskly along. A mysterious message leads Luke and Mara to the Chiss, Grand Admiral Thrawn's people. They link up with a mix of Chiss diplomatic and military leaders, a group of Imperials (including the stormtrooper squad featured in Zahn's Fool's Bargain), a puzzling alien race apparently wronged by Thrawn decades earlier, and Dean Jinzler, brother to Jedi Lorana Jinzler featured in the Outbound Flight novel. Zahn deftly juggles his large cast while keeping the limelight squarely on Luke and Mara.

One particular action scene I thoroughly enjoyed came near the end and featured a destroyer droid (or "droideka") from the prequel films squaring off against Luke and Mara. These droids are quite a threat in the prequels and this combat does not disappoint. Luke and Mara are forced to carefully strategize to deal with the droid and even with a solid plan, the risk factor is high. It's a tense sequence and also a nifty echo of Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon fighting the droids above Naboo on the Trade Federation ship in The Phantom Menace.

Zahn picks up a few other threads from his Hand of Thrawn duology, such as the Empire of the Hand, and weaves them with the elements detailed above into a quite entertaining little tale. The book stands well on its own, but also serves as a nice lighter break between the larger stories that bookend it in the Star Wars chronology.

5-0 out of 5 stars Married Bliss as a Jedi Couple
What would it be like if Luke hooked up with a lady who was NOT his sister? What if she were a jedi too (a real, trained, kick-your-butt Jedi)?

What would it be like for two Jedi Masters to marry and to bond to a new degree in the force? And how could such a pair use the force? What if she had just enough attitude to make life interesting? What if they were put in several life-threatening, no-way-out situations, how could they Houdini their way out?

All these questions are answered artfully by Timothy Zahn, the writing Master of the continued Star Wars universe. Over the years, the publishers have hired dozens of writers to carry on the Star Wars cash cow. Some of the stuff is downright cringy, but take it from this avid reader and collector--no one can spin a Star Wars yarn like Timothy Zahn: Well-crafted villains, an intelligent and adventurous plot with an ever-quickening pace, true-to-character reactions and dialogue. If you haven't read his Thrawn Trilogy, you MUST. You will read the Thrawn Trilogy as soon as possible (it's an old Jedi mind trick).

I advise you to take a trip with Mr. & Mrs. Luke Skywalker--you'll enjoy the romp. And may the force be with you! =)

4-0 out of 5 stars Another good effort by Timothy Zahn
Survivor's Quest has Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade Skywalker as its two main characters, and the action takes place after all of the adventures described in Mr. Zahn's two-volume series The Hand of Thrawn. The author is one of the best in the Star Wars genre, and he has turned out another good book with Survivor's Quest. The plot is focused primarily on the remains of Outbound Flight that have been found on the planet Nirauan fifty years after the flight took place. Outbound Flight was a pioneering Jedi expedition that was destroyed by the alien warlord Thrawn. Up until this point, the reasons for the destruction of the flight have been a mystery. Now the beings who discovered the remains of the flight have contacted the New Republic and Luke in particular with an offer to turn over what is left of the flight to the New Republic. Luke finds the offer irresistible, so he heads off with wife Mara Jade on a long and perilous voyage to see what they can learn from the wreckage of Outbound Flight. Many surprises await.

Luke and Mara run into unexpected enemies and have to rely heavily on their Jedi skills to get out of one tough spot after another. Mr. Zahn does his usual good job with the plot, although I did feel that the action bogged down once in a while, especially when compared to the Hand of Thrawn books. It was great fun to see Luke and Mara fighting together, and a number of intriguing new characters were introduced. All in all, I thought Survivor's Quest was a worthy addition to the Star Wars world.

Included with Survivor's Quest is Fool's Bargain, previously available only as an eBook. Fool's Bargain tells the story of the legendary Empire of the Hand's 501st Legion as they go on a mission on the planet Kariek. Their objective is to capture a Warlord alive. The planet was traditionally the scene of endless violence due to disagreements among the many tribes of the native Eickarie race. However, since the Warlord arrived with his troops fifty years earlier, he had held all the power. As the 501st arrives, the Eickaries have forged an alliance, and the Warlord appears to be trapped in his fortress.

A unit of the 501st is captured by the Eickaries and presented with an offer to join forces, release a number of political prisoners, and then grab the Warlord. The question is can the Eickaries be trusted or will the 501st be making a fool's bargain.

It's a good story with lots of twist and turns. Mr. Zahn comes through once again. I enjoyed reading about stormtroopers named Twister, Shadow, Cloud, and Watchmen as the 501st tried to fulfill its mission.

2-0 out of 5 stars Boring and predictable
I have read almost all of the SW universe novels... this one was predictable and dry. ... Read more

19. The Cobra Trilogy
by Timothy Zahn
Paperback: 848 Pages (2006-05-23)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000QCQGQO
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The colony world Adirondack and Silvern fell to the Troft forces almost without a struggle. Outnumbered and on the defensive, Earth made a desperate decision. It would attack the aliens not from space, but on the ground - with forces the Trofts did not even suspect. Thus were created the cobras, a guerrilla force whose weapons were surgically implanted, invisible to the unsuspecting eye, yet undeniably deadly. But power brings temptation...and not all the Cobras could be trusted to fight for Earth alone. Only Moreau would learn the uses - and abuses - of his special abilities, and what it truly meant to be a COBRA ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very solid military sci-fi
A great piece of work from one of the giants in Sci-Fi literature.Timothy Zahn has been very successful over the years and this is an excellent example of why.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Trilogy
This thing is hard to write a short review on since it is actually three books in one. It is about a family, beginning with Jonny Moreau, who for three generations were implanted with high tech weaponry to make them super soldiers. But as has been typical of Timothy Zahn throughout his career these stories are about far more than that. It deals quite a lot with how a society deals having such high tech warriors in their midst. A factor that leads Jonny Moureau into politics, and his oldest son Corwin, who is not a Cobra, follows in his footsteps. Being a Cobra and a politician can put a strain on family life. But it's hard to tell at times which is the bigger problem. The original story Cobra is written as a group of short stories because two of the "chapters" were originally published as short stories. I'm not sure which ones. This is well worth the read for any Timothy Zahn fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great edition of a great trilogy
Like many readers, my first experience with Timothy Zahn was with his STAR WARS books.They were all outstanding, and they prompted me to read his other books.My first stop was COBRA.

In a nutshell, this one-volume edition of the COBRA TRILOGY is a gem, collecting three hard-to-find books in one nice hardcover.

COBRA is military-SF about a group of elite warriors in the 25th century, spanning across multiple planets.It is NOT loaded with unnecessary techno-jargon nor Clancy-esque hardware descriptions.Instead, you get Zahn's superb plotting, smart characters, and excellent writing.

The production values of this book are good, too.The font size is above-average and is a pleasure to read.On the down side, a handful of typos were found throughout, but not enough to detract from the overall experience by any means.

This book will provide you with many hours of consistently enjoyable sci-fi reading by master author Zahn.

NOTE: I was originally confused about the book COBRAS TWO.But I learned it is only an "omnibus" containing the first two COBRA novels.So there's no need to worry about that.You get the complete series in this one-volume TRILOGY edition.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable premise - Worth reading.
The Cobra trilogy was enjoyable but not worth raving about. I'd recommend it to voracious Sci-fi readers, but not many others. For someone who hasn't read much science fiction, this would be a great one to start with. There is enough science to make it seem plausible and yet not stifle or drown the stories for a new reader.

The ideas and science applications are not totally new, but the stories, characters and settings make up for the lack of originality in the science.

Also, Timothy Zahn has created a continuity with the characters and their family that really made the entire volume seems real and personal.

There are many things that could be picked apart, but wouldn't do much good at this point. I liked it a lot, and for most Sci-fi fans, especially military Sci-fi fans, they will love it as well. ... Read more

20. Night Train to Rigel (Quadrail SF Thrillers)
by Timothy Zahn
Mass Market Paperback: 336 Pages (2006-10-03)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$30.31
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765346443
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description


It begins when a man delivers a message for former government agent Frank ComptonÂ--only to fall dead at his feet. The message is a summons from the Spiders, the exotic and mysterious creatures who run the Quadrail, an incredible transportation system connecting civilizations across the galaxy. The Spiders believe that someone or something is preparing to attack their entire network and the worlds it serves, by smuggling battleships through the QuadrailÂ--something that should be impossible to do. Compton, with the aid of a beautiful but enigmatic agent of the Spiders, is their last hope.

Because nobody else has been able to find the elusive enemy who seeks to enslave the entire galaxyÂ…and Earth is its next target.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars Railways to the Stars!
Zahn's Quadrail system reminded me of Williamson and Gunn's "Star Bridge", in which mysterious Tubes of energy linkedplanets together. The authors tried to finesse the problem of the Tubes' getting entangled as the stars moved by having the planet Eron, which was the terminus of all Tubes, sport Tube ends floating on mercury layers so that they could independently move around.

In Zahn's vision, it appears that his Tubes are made of actual material rather than energy. So I became curious as to how much material it would actually take to build the Tube walls. I assumed that the inner radius of each Tube was 25 meters, and the wall thickness 10 cm. Given that, each light-year of Tube requires approximately 1.5 x 10E17 cubic meters of material. Given that the volume of Earth is 1.08E21 cubic meters, that implies that disassembling an Earth-sized planet would yield enough material for 7,280 light-years of Tube. Now this doesn't deal with masses or composition, only volume, nor required material for rails, propulsion systems, etc. Still I was surprised at the relatively modest requirements. Presumably a technology capable of building a train that can travel at 1 LY / min wouldn't balk at disassembling a few hundred Earth-sized planets to build their railway to the stars!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good sci fi mystery which deserves a nicer cover
Despite the saying about not judging a book by it's cover, I'm as visual a creature as the next person, and I almost didnt borrow this book at the library when I couldn't find another book on the shelves. I'm surprised how easy and enjoyable it was to read. Plenty of aliens, and plenty of intrigue, with several left turns which left me guessing!

It's a good sci fi yarn which, as I said before, deserves a more classy cover.

That's it! Short and sweet, just like the novel.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Story for any Time Period
My first thought as I began reading this book was that it reminded me of an Eric Ambler story with a little Ian Fleming thrown in.It was thoroughly enjoyable.Frank Compton is a likable character and his near-miss adventures on his ride on the Quadrail, a transportation system connecting the world of the galaxy, are page-turners.

Newly-dismissed from his job as an agent for Western Alliance for being a whistleblower, Compton is ready to begin an assignment for a private employer when a man stops him on the street, hands him a ticket for the Quadrail and drops dead at his feet.If that isn't an invitation to find out who did it and why they want him on that train, then Compton hasn't a curiosity-laden bone in his body.Fortunately, he does, so, putting his new boss' job on the backburner, he sets out.

Soon he's beset by sinister characters who want to keep him from his destination, though he isn't certain what that is.His companion Bayta, an agent of the Spiders, the builders and operators of the Quadrail--and propertedly Compton's employers in this venture--is little help, remaining stone-faced throughout.Chance meetings--or are they?--with old friends/acquaintances/enemies, also abound, until Bayta and Compton reach their destination and discover who--or what--the villain really is.Immediately it's back to the beginning, with old enemies now becoming new allies, and new one allies becoming enemies, until no one is certain who to trust and who not, and Compton's two employers seemingly both involved.

Night Train to Rigel is fast-paced and entertaining.The setting may be futuristic but with its characters and its themes of greed, political intrigue, and double-dealing, it could just as easily have been set in pre-WWII Europe, some time during the Cold War, or in a contemporary setting.Having read only one other Timothy Zahn book, one of his Young Adult series, I wasn't certain what to expect, but I got much more than I bargained for.This is a very enjoyable story.I liked Compton's character, especially his references to old twentieth-century suspense movies.Bayta tool a little longer to warm to but by the end of the book, she was also a character I wanted to know more about.Hopefully, in future books, I'll get that chance.

3-0 out of 5 stars talk about creative thinking...
This has got to be the oddest idea I have ever come across. Especially because it was written so seriously... as if Zahn were having a hard time deciding to write this for the hard boiled mystery thriller genre, or sci-fi.

A few years ago, I read "Icarus Hunt" and thought it was maybe the best campy sci fi book I have read since I polished off Heinlein as a kid. I have tried several other books of his, and have never been able to finish any of them before this one. And "Night Train to Rigel" is one weird ride.

This book has a lot of formulaic plotting you would typically find in an early MGM noir flick with Bogart or Mitchum. Most of the story takes place on an interstellar 'train'. Yes, train. The civilizations of the galaxy connect with one another through a series of train links. The train is reached at the edges of solar systems, and then you can travel anywhere you wish from there to anywhere via this train in a tunnel that goes faster than light speed.

On board is an unusual human character "Frank Compton" who guides the story along. Similar to Han Solo or someone of that ilk. The trains are run by a species known as the 'spiders'. From what I can tell they have metalic skin and are an 'aspect' of a different civilization. They communicate telepathically and are non violent to the core. They hold the races of the galaxy apart and together, a forced co-existence that seems to work pretty well.

The humans are the new kids on the block. I think they have been aware of the train for about 100 years at this point. They are the smallest and least significant interstellar players. their are a few other major characters here such as 'Bayta', human though works for the spiders, but this is primarily a one person story.

The story was good enough for me to buy the sequel. I think that if you like cheesy sci fi, you will enjoy this one. Very well written for what it is. Set in a future galaxy in which interstellar travel takes place via the "Quadrail" which is a giant network of faster-than-light trains - yes, trains - running between solar systems. Spaceships are used only to travel within a solar system, e.g. between planets and the point in an inhabited system where the quadrail station is located.

4-0 out of 5 stars Who knew it was a trilogy
It is a pretty good read, but it ends rather abruptly leaving many questions unaswered, that is until you read the other books in the series that aren't mentioned anywhere on the cover. ... Read more

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