The Leia Tapestry

SFX - - Reviews - Richard Ed­wards

re­leased 5 May 352 pages | Hard­back/ ebook Author Clau­dia Gray Pub­lisher Cen­tury

There’s an added level of ex­cite­ment to Star Wars nov­els th­ese days – now they’re part of Lucasfilm’s new all- en­com­pass­ing con­ti­nu­ity, ev­ery plot point is ripe for dis­sec­tion and anal­y­sis. In fact, the events of Blood­line – set six years be­fore The Force Awak­ens – are so in­te­gral to the new mythol­ogy that it should prob­a­bly be con­sid­ered es­sen­tial read­ing for any fan.

While Chuck Wendig’s Af­ter­math ar­rived to greater fan­fare last au­tumn, this is the more com­pelling novel – and not just be­cause Gray’s prose flows more el­e­gantly than Wendig’s. For starters, it has the ad­van­tage of fo­cus­ing on Leia Or­gana, rather than a bunch of un­known char­ac­ters on a planet you’ve never heard of. It’s also a crack­ing po­lit­i­cal thriller that reveals plenty about how a founder­ing New Repub­lic spawned both the First Or­der and the Re­sis­tance. The rein­vented Ex­panded Uni­verse has al­ready es­tab­lished it­self as an ex­cit­ing place to ex­plore, and Gray em­braces this brave new galaxy to tell a story of govern­ment cor­rup­tion, crim­i­nal gangs vy­ing to fill a Jabba- shaped void and a po­lit­i­cal sys­tem buck­ling un­der bureau­cracy. Blood­line is un­de­ni­ably talky – though Leia does get some fun ac­tion scenes – but that hardly mat­ters when the cor­ri­dors of power are so ripe with in­trigue. Scoundrels come in all shapes and forms in Star Wars, and – aside from some fa­mil­iar faces – you never quite know who to trust.

Be­yond the pol­i­tics there’s a sad, very hu­man tale of a woman who’s sac­ri­ficed her en­tire life for the greater good, yet sees every­thing fall­ing apart around her. Ul­ti­mately you’re left wish­ing she could fly off in the Fal­con for a few years of fun with Han and the fu­ture Kylo Ren ( at this point still Ben and in train­ing with Luke). Best not tell her about The Force Awak­ens, eh?

Leia’s in­tern Korr Sella ap­pears in The Force Awak­ens – she’s on Hos­nian Prime when it’s de­stroyed by the First Or­der.

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