Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Rogue Squadron (Star Wars: X-Wing Series, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1996
|New from||Used from|
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Michael A. Stackpole is the New York Times bestselling author of many titles in the Star Wars universe, including many of the Star Wars X-Wing novels and the New Jedi Order: Dark Tide novels Onslaught and Ruin. When not chained to a desk madly fighting deadlines, he plays indoor soccer, rides a mountain bike, and reads, but not all at the same time. Stackpole lives in Arizona with Liz Danforth and a small pack of Cardigan Welsh corgis.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
You're good, Corran, but you're no Luke Skywalker. Corran Horn's cheek still burned at the memory of Commander Antilles's evaluation of his last simulator exercise. The line had been a simple comment, not meant to be cruel nor delivered that way, but it cut deep into Corran. I've never tried to suggest I'm that good of a pilot.
He shook his head. No, you just wanted it to be self-evident and easily recognized by everyone around you. Reaching out he flicked the starter switches for the X-wing simulator's engines. "Green One has four starts and is go." All around him in the cockpit various switches, buttons, and monitors flashed to life. "Primary and secondary power is at full."
Ooryl Qrygg, his Gand wingman, reported similar start-up success in a high-pitched voice. "Green Two is operational."
Green Three and Four checked in, then the external screens came alive projecting an empty starfield. "Whistler, have you finished the navigation
The green and white R2 unit seated behind Corran hooted, then the navdata spilled out over. Corran's main monitor He punched a button sending the same coordinates out to the other pilots in Green Flight. "Go to light speed and rendezvous on the Redemption."
As Corran engaged the X-wing's hyperdrive, the stars elongated themselves into white cylinders, then snapped back into pinpoints and began to revolve slowly, transforming themselves into a tunnel of white light. Corran fought the urge to use the stick to compensate for the roll. In space, and especially hyperspace, up and down were relative. How his ship moved through hyperspace didn't really matter--as long as it remained on the course Whistler had calculated and had attained sufficient velocity before entering hyperspace, he'd arrive intact.
Flying into a black hole would actually make this run easier. Every pilot dreaded the Redemption run. The scenario was based on an Imperial attack on evacuation ships back before the first Death Star had been destroyed. While the Redemption waited for three Medevac shuttles and the corvette Korolev to dock and off-load wounded, the Imperial frigate Warspite danced around the system and dumped TIE fighters and bombers out to do as much damage as they could.
The bombers, with a full load of missiles, could do a lot of damage. All the pilots called the Redemption scenario by another name: the Requiem scenario. The Warspite would only deploy four starfighters and a half-dozen bombers--known in pilot slang as "eyeballs" and "dupes" respectively-- but it would do so in a pattern that made it all but impossible for the pilots to save the Korolev. The corvette was just one big target, and the TIE bombers had no trouble unloading all their missiles into it.
Stellar pinpoints elongated again as the fighter came out of hyperspace. Off to the port side Corran saw the Redemption. Moments later Whistler reported that the other fighters and all three Medevac shuttles had arrived. The fighters checked in and the first shuttle began its docking maneuver with the Redemption.
"Green One, this is Green Four."
"Go ahead, Four"
"By the book, or are we doing something fancy? "
Corran hesitated before answering. By book, Nawara Ven had referred to the general wisdom about the scenario. It stated that one pilot should play fleethund and race out to engage the first TIE flight while the other three fighters remained in close as backup. As long as three fighters stayed at home, it appeared, the Warspite dropped ships off at a considerable distance from the Korolev. When they didn't, it got bolder and the whole scenario became very bloody.
The problem with going by the book was that it wasn't a very good strategy. It meant one pilot had to deal with five TIEs--two eyeballs and three dupes--all by himself, then turn around and engage five more. Even with them coming in waves, the chances of being able to succeed against those odds were slim.
Doing it any other way was disastrous. Besides, what loyal son of Corellia ever had any use for odds?
"By the book. Keep the home fires burning and pick up after me."
"Done. Good luck."
"Thanks." Corran reached up with his right hand and pressed it against the lucky charm he wore on a chain around his neck. Though he could barely feel the coin through his gloves and the thick material of his flight suit, the familiar sensation of the metal resting against his breastbone brought a smile to his face. It worked for you a lot, Dad, let's hope all its luck hasn't run out yet.
Isle openly acknowledged that he'd been depending quite a bit on luck to see him through the difficulties of settling in with the Alliance forces. Learning the slang took some work-- moving from calling TIE starfighters "eyeballs" to calling Interceptors "squints" made a certain amount of sense, but many other terms had been born of logic that escaped him. Everything about the Rebellion seemed odd in comparison to his previous life and fitting in had not been easy.
Nor will be winning this scenario.
The Korolev materialized and moved toward the Redemption, prompting Corran to begin his final check. He'd mulled the scenario over in his mind time and time again. In previous runs, when he served as a home guard to someone else's fleethund, he'd had Whistler record traces on the TIE timing patterns, flight styles, and attack vectors. While different cadets flew the TIE half of the simulations, the craft dictated their performance and a lot of their initial run sequence had been preprogrammed.
A sharp squawk from Whistler alerted Corran to the Warspite's arrival. "Great, eleven kicks aft." Pulling the stick around to the right, Corran brought the X-wing into a wide turn. At the end of it he punched the throttle up to full power. Hitting another switch up to the right, he locked the S-foils into attack position. "Green One engaging."
Rhysati's voice came cool and strong through the radio. "Be all over them like drool on a Hutt."
"I'll do my best, Green Three." Corran smiled and waggled the X-wing as he flew back through the Alliance formation and out toward the Warspite. Whistler announced the appearance of three TIE bombers with a low tone, then brought the sound up as two TIE fighters joined them.
"Whistler, tag the bombers as targets one, two, and three." As the R2 unit complied with that order, Corran pushed shield power full to front and brought his laser targeting program up on the main monitor. With his left hand he adjusted the sighting calibration knob on the stick and got the two fighters. Good, looks like three klicks between the eyeballs and the bombers.
Corran's right hand again brushed the coin beneath his flight suit. He took a deep breath, exhaled slowly, then settled his hand on the stick and let his thumb hover over the firing button. At two klicks the heads-up display painted a yellow box around the lead TIE fighter. The box went green as the fighter's image locked into the HUD's targeting cross and Whistler's shrill bleat filled the cockpit. Corran's thumb hit the button, sending three bursts of laser bolts at the lead fighter.
The first set missed but the second and third blasted through the spherical cockpit. The hexagonal solar panels snapped off and spun forward through space while the ion engines exploded into an expanding ball of incandescent gas.
Corran kicked the X-wing up in a ninety-degree snap-roll and sliced through the center of the explosion. Laser fire from the second fighter lit up his forward shields, making it impossible for him to get a good visual line on the TIE. Whistler yowled, complaining about being a target. Corran hurried a shot and knew he hit, but the TIE flashed past and continued on in at the Korolev.
Time to write a new chapter for the book on the Requiem scenario. Corran throttled hack almost all the way to zero and let the X-wing decelerate. "Whistler, bring up target one."
The image of the first TIE bomber filled his monitor. Corran switched over to proton torpedo target control. The HUD changed to a larger box and Whistler began beeping as he worked supplying data to the targeting computer for a missile lock.
"Green One, your velocity is down to one percent. Do you need help?"
"Negative, Green Two."
"Corran, what are you doing?"
"Making the book a short story." I hope.
The HUD went red and Whistler's tone became constant. Corran punched the button and launched the first missile. "Acquire target two." The HUD flashed yellow, then red, and the pilot launched the second missile.
Numbers scrolled away to zero as the missiles streaked in at their targets. Two kilometers away the first missile hit, shredding the first TIE bomber. Seconds later the second missile hit its target. A novalike explosion lit the simulator's cockpit, then melted into the blackness of space.
"Acquire target three."
Even as he gave the order he knew the rate of closure between the bomber and his ship would make the last missile shot all but impossible. "Cancel three." Corran throttled up again as the third bomber sailed past and brought his ship around. He switched back to laser targeting and climbed right up on the bomber's stern
The dupe's pilot tried to evade him. He juked the double-hulled ship to the left, then started a long turn to the right, but Corran was of no mind to lose him. He cut his speed, which kept the bomber in front of him, then followed it in its turn. As he leveled out again on its tail, he triggered two laser bursts and the targeting computer reported hull damage.
The bomber's right wing came up in a roll and Corran did the same thing. Had he continued to fly level, the X-wing's lasers would have passed on either side of the bomber's fuselage, giving the bomber a few seconds more of life. Keeping the bomber centered in his crosshairs, Corran hit twice more and the bulky craft disintegrated before him.
Pushing his throttle to full, Corran scanned for the fighter he'd missed. He found it two klicks out and going in toward the Korolev. He also found five more TlEs coming in from the other side of the corvette, eighteen kilometers away. Damn, tile bomber took more time than I had to give it.
He brought the torpedo targeting program back up and locked on to the remaining fighter. The HUD seemed to take forever before it went red and acquired a lock. Corran fired a missile and watched it blast through the fighter, then turned his attention to the new TlEs.
"Green One, do you want us to engage?"
Corran shook his head. "Negative, Two. Warspite is still here and could dump another flight." He sighed. "Move to intercept the fighters, but don't go beyond a klick from the Korolev."
Good, they can tie the fighters up while I dust these devils. Corran studied the navigational data Whistler was giving him. The Korolev, the bombers, and his X-wing formed a shrinking triangle. If he flew directly at the bombers he would end up flying in an arc, which would take more time than he had and let them get close enough to launch their mis siles at the corvette. That would be less than useless as far as he was concerned.
"Whistler, plot me an intercept point six klicks out from the Korolev."
The R2 whistled blithely, as if that calculation was so simple even Corran should have been able to do it in his head. Steering toward it, Corran saw he'd have just over a minute to deal with the bombers before they were in firing range on the Korolev. Not enough time.
Flicking two switches, Corran redirected generator energy from recharging his shields and lasers into the engines. It took the acceleration compensator a second to cycle up, so the ship's burst of speed pushed Corran back into the padding of his command seat. Taxis better work.
"Green One, the Warspite has hyped. Are we released to engage fighters?"
"Affirmative, Three. Go get them." Corran frowned for a second, knowing his fellow pilots would make short work of the TIE fighters. They would deny him a clean sweep, but he'd willingly trade two TlEs for the corvette. Commander Antilles might have gotten them all himself, but then he's got two Death Stars painted on the side of his X-wing.
"Whistler, mark each of the bombers four, five, and six." Range to intercept was three Licks and he had added thirty seconds to his fighting time. "Acquire foun"
The targeting computer showed him to be coming in at a forty-five-degree angle to the flight path of his target, which meant he was way off target. He quickly punched the generator back into recharging lasers and his shields, then pulled even more energy from his quartet of Incom 4L4 fusial thrust engines and shunted it into recharging his weapons and
The resource redirection brought his speed down. Corran pulled back on the stick, easing the X-wing into a turn that brought him head-on into the bombers. Tapping the stick to the left, he centered the targeting box on the first of the dupes.
The HUD started yellow, then quickly went red. Corran fired a missile. "Acquire five." The HUD started red and Whistler's keen echoed through the cockpit. The Corellian fired a second missile. "Acquire six."
Corran looked down at his display. Scrolling up the screen, sandwiched between the reports of mlssile hits on the three bombers, he saw a notation about Green Two. "Green Two, report."
"He's gone, One."
"A fighter got him?"
"No time to chat..." The radio call from the Twi'lek in Green Four ended in a hiss of static.
"Got one, Corran, but this last one is good."
"I'll do my best."
"Whistler, acquire six."
The R2 unit hissed. The last bomber had already shot past the intercept point and was bearing in on the Korolev. The pilot had the widebodied craft slowly spinning, making it a difficult target for a missile lock. The Korolev, being as big as it was, would present large enough of a target that even a rolling ship could get a lock on it.
And once he has that lock, the Korolev is so much space junk. Corran switched back to lasers and pushed his X-wing forward. Even though two Licks separated them, he triggered a couple of laser blasts. He knew his chances of hitting were not good at that range, but the light from the bolts wou shoot past the TIE and give the pilot something to think about. And I want him thinking about me, not that nerf-vette grazing there.
Corran redirected all power back into the engines and shot forward. Two more laser blasts caused the TIE bomber to shy a bit, but it had pushed into target-acquisition range. The ship's roll began to slow as the pilot fixated on his target, then as Corran brought his lasers to bear, the bomber jinked and cut away to port.
The Corellian's eyes narrowed. Bror Jace has got to
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I am a total Star Wars geek from the early years since the original trilogy was re-released in the 90s. I never got to see the movies then or even the first two prequel movies when they came out but I've always been in love with Star Wars from the day I got a nice little booklet in 1997 that talked about all the characters and introduced the movies' plot and what not. At one point I also owned this amazing fold-out artwork poster on which you could place some stickers you could get from bags of Lays chips. Total childish geekiness ensued in those days. My first Star Wars movie (in cinemas) was Ep III: Revenge of the Sith and I was totally blown away.
My love of the setting had been maintained over the years by reading some of the novels on and off and when I moved to college, I devoured as many of the novels as I could, and a few comics too for that matter. It also helped that this totally random cinema course I was taking granted me access to the Cinema School library and I could watch all the Star Wars movies there! Lots of fun was had in that quiet, unassuming library in the labyrinth-like basements of the Doheny Memorial Library (University of Southern California). The astute ones among my readers might notice that I went to the same university as George Lucas himself. Yeah, I get some kind of geek points for that I'm sure.
Anyways, among all the novels of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (SWEU), it is the X-wing novels that I love the most. This is especially so since Starfighters of Adumar by Aaron Allston was my first ever Star Wars novel. The X-wing series is brilliant because it is about X-wings, the most popular starfighter ever; it is about Rogue Squadron (and Wraith Squadron too) which is the best squadron in the galaxy far, far away; it is so down-to-earth, at least to me. Michael Stackopole and Aaron Allston really rekindled my love for Star Wars and kept it going, plus they introduced me to the world of hard military sci-fi where the setting is kept realistic by as much technical description as anything else in the novel.
What makes Rogue Squadron really work for me is that it doesn't focus on the stars of the original films but instead it goes beyond and focuses on some of the low-key characters and introduces a whole new brand of major and minor characters alike. The most obvious ones are Admiral Ackbar and Wedge Antilles. And then there are also the new major characters like Corran Horn, Tycho Celchu and Gavin Darklighter, along with all the others, giving the reader a good feel for life in the New Republic's military forces and their less-than-reputable allies. While the characterisation gets a little repetitive at times and not all the pilots of the reassembled Rogue Squadron are given ample scene-time, what Michael has nevertheless excelled at is making the reader care for them.
Corran Horn, a promising young pilot and fellow Corellian to Wedge and Han Solo made for an excellent protagonist. The novel is very much about him coming to terms with a life among the former Rebels after a long stint as a Corellian Security agent. From start to finish, it is Corran who is driving the narrative with Michael Stackpole using him to show how things have changed in the Rebel Alliance since the massive victory at Endor (Ep VI: Return of the Jedi) and the fallout of the Emperor's death. Its almost like a really smart commentary on a changing era. Corran Horn is definitely one of my favourite characters from all of SWEU and his first outing is definitely a treat to read.
With Wedge, it was really nice to start seeing some really deep understones and nuances to his character. Watching the films, none of it is ever apparent but Michael uses monologues to great effect with him in Rogue Squadron. As a war-hero and a starfighter pilot who is second only to Luke Skywalker, Wedge is portrayed as a decisive and sometimes brutal commander in his dealings with the members of his squadron. He is also a soldier who is getting fed up with losing friends to the Empire and that goes back to why the squadron has been reassembled, among other reasons. In the original movies, he is a very low-key but important character nevertheless since as far as I know, he is the only military character to have featured in all three films. After all, he did the original trench run with Luke in A New Hope, fought against the Imperials on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back and destroyed the second Death Star alongside Lando Calrissian in The Return of the Jedi. He really comes in to his own in the novel as Michael starts to flesh out his back-story and gives us his ruminations on the deaths of his friends over the years.
Tycho Celchu and Gavin Darklighter are quite minor characters in Rogue Squadron, the latter more so than the former, but they both have a big part to play in the Expanded Universe, especially in the novels and they form part of the undying legend of Rogue Squadron. Seeing their origin stories was quite rewarding, especially since they are such opposites at the start of the novel: Tycho being a war-hero, a pilot ace and an Alderaanian with Gavin being a young, inexperienced pilot from Tatooine. I'm sure people recognise all these names since Alderaan was the planet that was unceremoniously and callously destroyed in A New Hope, while Tatooine is the homeworld of Luke Skywalker. The connections, I assure you, are not frivolous. Many of the later novels take such connections to the ridiculous extreme and you have to wonder just how and why a small number of planets show up again and again in the background. But, Michael keeps all this very low-key and he weaves in his story with the characters' actions being much more defining than which planet they come from, although their homeworlds do serve to ground them in the larger Star Wars saga.
One of my regrets from Rogue Squadron is that not a lot of time was given to General Salm, who leads a Rebel Alliance bomber wing and is one of Wedge's superiors, and to Admiral Ackbar himself, who so famously declared "its a trap!" in The Return of the Jedi. They are both excellent characters in their own right and while the good Admiral becomes a more focal character later on in the Expanded Universe, Salm doesn't get to shine much. A shame considering he is such a great, typical character. I would have loved to see more of both, Salm in particular. But I'll keep my fingers crossed for the later novels, as I am on a re-reading spree of the X-wing series.
Lastly, but not the least, there are other characters who get to occasionally shine in the limelight as well. All the other members of Rogue Squadron, the smuggler Mirax Terrik who is being set up as a potential romantic interest for Corran, M3P0 who is the squadron's droid assistant and then the two astrodroids, Wedge's Mynock and Corran's Whistler who are so reminiscent of R2D2 but are still unique in their own right. All in all, it is a very ensemble cast that Michael Stackpole has built together for his good guys and it is quite vibrant and diverse as well, which just heightens the enjoyment of the novel.
In spit of that though, Michael's female characters lack a certain well-defined strength. Erisi acts like the jealous, miffed lover wile Mirax is a little too hasty in her judgement at times. The latter also acts too ready-to-makeup for my liking. She is a stronger character in the future novels though. Erisi unfortunately doesn't have that much potential because of her fixation with Corran. I would have definitely preferred to see more unconventional characters who are stronger.
Of the bad guys however, Corran's old nemesis and Imperial Intelligence agent, Kirtan Loor, is quite forgetful. His scenes just don't inspire anything in me and he is more like a filler character than anything else. He is also a blunt, uninventive individual prone to making rather fatal misjudgements as part of his work. He is definitely nowhere near the best of Michael's other characters from Rogue Squadron and is most assuredly very much the worst so far. Evir Derricote, the swindling General in-charge of the Imperial base at Borleias is a far more likable character and shows more potential than Loor does.
The other Imperial character, the villain as it were, is Ysanne Isard, the director of Imperial Intelligence who has taken over the reins of the Empire and has been giving the Rebel Alliance a run for its money. Her nickname Iceheart is quite appropriate with regards to her characterisation and she definitely oozes that evil aspect of her role without succumbing to the B-movie villain effect. Which is the territory that Loor comes across as strutting close to too many times for my tastes. She is also a potentially riveting character and is being set up as a nemesis to all of Rogue Squadron so I look forward to seeing more of her.
One of the other aspects of it that make Rogue Squadron stand out so much is that there are so many battles and dogfights in it, both simulated and real. As a novel about an elite starfighter squadron, that is quite appropriate of course, but Michael takes it to the next level by weaving in so much technical commentary and description. It really makes the entire setting come alive because these are the sort of things you miss out on in a movie, or movies rather. And this goes for the action scenes too since you are put straight into the cockpit of a T-65 X-wing, one of the best starfighters in the galaxy far, far away. You can totally lose yourself during the battle scenes. It is all very vivid and realistic to me. Michael Stackpole definitely seems to get that starfighter combat is three dimensional and his battles largely reflect that, especially with their diversity. Seeing the dreaded Interdictor-class cruisers make an appearance is quite thrilling or the Lancer-class anti-starfighter frigates which are one of my favourite ship designs in all of SWEU. Plus, there is all the pilot jargon that is thrown about which really helps to draw the reader into the whole "this is a starfighter novel" feel of Rogue Squadron. It is there in just the right amounts I feel, although at times Michael goes somewhat overboard with it.
My only main complaint with the fight scenes would be that the first major battle between the Imperials and the Rebels is too skewed in Rogue Squadron's favour in terms of how it plays out, making it a total whitewash of Imperial forces with no cost to the Rebels. That was the one and only jarring moment in the entire novel thankfully and Michael redeemed the Rogues extremely well in the two missions to take the world codenamed Blackmoon.
The novel's pacing itself is quite excellent because the narrative never gets bogged down with meaningless details or random trivia which has no connection to the plot itself. Some people would argue that there are too many things going on in the novel but that is quite expected since Rogue Squadron is meant to be the first novel of a series, and it is. I am quite comfortable with all the minor plot threads that crop up here and there because they all serve to enhance the main storyline of the novel and give it a very suitably sort-of-epic feel since this is a Star Wars novel. Its a little hard to describe this exactly but I think that Rogue Squadron fits into a very nice niche category of Star Wars fiction and that it fits in very well.
Overall, Rogue Squadron is very enjoyable from start to finish and it is a gripping, military sci-fi novel as well, one which I strongly recommend to all readers of Star Wars fiction in particular and science-fiction readers in general. While there are better novels out there, this is one of the early ones, one which helped to solidify many of the characters that become so prominent later on and one that trailblazed one of the best Star Wars novel series: X-wing.
All in all, I give Rogue Squadron a delightful 8/10 and look forward to the next novel in the series, Wedge's Gamble, also by Michael Stackpole.
Military tactics and strategy were also missing. This story is told from Corran Horn's perspective, and the squadron was kept in the dark most of the time. Although we are privy to more than he is, it's not much more. What we did see did not feel like genius to me. I sometimes wondered what in the worlds they were thinking.
I leave the story feeling a little empty inside. Everyone tells me the series takes off from here. I can only hope.
Needless to say I was surprised by this book. I have always enjoyed Stackpole's writing, but I just didn't think he had much to work with in this particular sub-genre of the Star Wars universe. I mean come on, no Jedi, no c3PO, no R2D2?! Just x-wings flying around and shooting Imperial forces? I thought the book was going to be ... well, boring.
The funny thing is that I had read "I, Jedi," by the time I picked up this book, so I know what Corran Horn's future holds in store for him. But that spoiler knowledge hasn't ruined the series for me.
The plot line is well developed, and pulls a couple of nice twists and turns that leave you with a satisfied experience in the thinking department. The fighting scenes are descriptive without being "Tolkien-like," in as much as you get description, but not description that would put even ever patient Yoda to sleep. The character development is interesting and doesn't seem forced at all.
Then you have the most important piece of these stories, the HISTORY! You won't realize it until you have read these stories, but a lot of the stories that are staged after these stories are supposed to have taken place, refer to incidences in these stories! The other authors do a good job of giving you clues as to what they are talking about, but reading these stories helps flesh out some back history for anyone that has missed these.
Read them, you will like them.
I highly recommend buying and reading all the books and a bit of a heads up for those who haven't read it because they don't recognize any names Han Solo plays a big part later on in the series.