Posts Tagged ‘timothy_zahn’

Novel Review: Choices of One

Choices of One

- Minor Spoiler Review -

I enjoyed Allegiance, the book that begins the story of a group of Imperial stormtrooper deserters that call themselves the Hand of Judgement. The whole concept is intriguing to me, and Allegiance delivered, in my opinion. Naturally, I had to read the follow-up, Choices of One.

Mara Jade is on the hunt for traitors within the Empire, but one supposed act of treason turns out to be much more than meets the eye.
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Star Wars: Allegiance Audio Excerpt

Allegiance


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Allegiance Unabridged Audiobook Download Coming Soon

Allegiance

According to the Random House website, an unabridged audiobook download for Star Wars: Allegiance will soon be available! Link

This new release entry comes nearly a month after we discovered an upcoming Hand of Thrawn unabridged audiobook release due out October 08, 2013. The Allegiance audiobook is currently due out June 11, 2013. The Hand of Thrawn duology and Allegiance are both written by Timothy Zahn.

SEE ALSO:
Star Wars: Allegiance Audio Excerpt

Bryan Dean is the founder and administrator of Knights’ Archive. You can follow him on Twitter at @bry_dean.

Hand of Thrawn Unabridged Audiobook Downloads Coming Soon

Hand of Thrawn Hand of Thrawn

Newly listed on the Random House main site and the Smart Archive are listings for unabridged audiobook downloads of the Hand of Thrawn duology! Link Link

The first book, Specter of the Past, has a current release date of September 17, 2013. The second, Vision of the future, is currently due out on October 08, 2013.

Zahn/audiobook fans will love this news!

Megan Sits Down With Timothy Zahn

Scoundrels

Our novel reviewer Megan recently chatted with author Timothy Zahn about Star Wars: Scoundrels, over at her site This Blog is Full of Words.

They have a nice discussion about writing the book and character development. Be sure to check it out. Great job Megan!

SEE ALSO:
Knights’ Archive Exclusive: Timothy Zahn
Novel Review: Scoundrels by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: Scoundrels
38 Pages of Star Wars: Scoundrels Now Online
Star Wars: Winner Lose All: A Lando Calrissian Tale
Star Wars: Scoundrels Cover Blurb
Star Wars: Scoundrels Full Cover Art
Star Wars: Scoundrels Excerpt!
Star Wars: Scoundrels
Untitled Star Wars Stand-Alone by Timothy Zahn Blurb

Knights’ Archive Exclusive: Timothy Zahn

Timothy Zahn
Photo credit: Timothy Zahn’s Facebook Page

We are honored to present to you a conversation with the prolific science fiction novelist Timothy Zahn! Among his other notable works, he is widely known to Star Wars fans as the man who invigorated the franchise with the spectacular Thrawn trilogy, and has continued that success with such novels as Outbound Flight, Allegiance, and Choices of One.

Many of the characters he’s introduced to the Expanded Universe have become fan favorites, including Mara Jade, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Talon Karrde, and Gilad Pellaeon.

His latest novel, Scoundrels, features Han Solo, Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian in an all new adventure that promises to be fraught with danger, yet fun to read. Along with the familiar characters mentioned above, there is a host of new ones with all sorts of attributes needed to take on an impossible heist.

Mr. Zahn took a break from planning his upcoming Scoundrels book tour to answer some of our questions. Read on for a brief, non-spoiler glimpse into the novel!

Hi Tim! I was pleased to be able to meet you at Star Wars Celebration VI, where you had quite a busy schedule. How was Celebration VI for you, and what do you like most about conventions in general?

CVI was great fun. My main purpose in going to conventions is to meet and interact with the fans; to get feedback on past books, to update them on current work, and to hear about the various directions they’d like to see me go with future books.

I think it’s also useful for readers to be able to match up the author and the book, and doing conventions and other appearances allows me to do that. I think of it as a sort of retro Facebook…

Your next highly anticipated novel is Star Wars: Scoundrels, which features an Ocean’s 11-style heist. Other than hoping they’ll enjoy it, what do you want your readers to take away from this novel?

ScoundrelsIn all honesty, I wasn’t intending to put any deep philosophical messages into Scoundrels, as there’ve been in some of my other books. My goal here was to simply write a book that would be fun to read, with interesting characters, a knotty problem, a twisty but mostly logical scheme, tension and suspense where appropriate, an occasional plot twist to stir things up, and a satisfying ending.

Without spoiling it, of course, can you describe Scoundrels compared to the subject matter of your other Star Wars novels?

It’s really just as the tag line says: “Star Wars meets Ocean’s 11.” Han, Chewie, and Lando are going to assemble eight other scoundrels and hit up a Black Sun sector chief’s supposedly impregnable vault.

One thing that made Ocean’s 11 so popular was the roster of well-known, and dare I say, handsome actors. I remember it being mentioned in one of the film’s documentaries that nearly every scene featured a gorgeous person to look at. Obviously with a book, you don’t have the advantage of such a visual medium. Did that at all present a challenge to you during the development of Scoundrels?

Actually, the goal here wasn’t really to reproduce any of the Ocean’s 11 movies, either in plot or in the glamour of the stars. (Though it does have Han and Lando in it, so I think we can give Danny Ocean and his crew a run for their money.) Rather, I was hoping to match the movies’ tone, in that our crew is working together as a team, with no one scheming to betray the others and no expectation of anyone collecting a knife in the back when it’s all over.

In my (admittedly limited) knowledge of heist/con movies, the two that come closest to this tone are Ocean’s 11 and The Sting.

And since I already had a cast of eleven…

Which minor character(s) would you like to explore in more detail?

I think all of the new characters could be explored, but for me the most interesting are the sisters Bink and Tavia and the Imperial agent Dayja. I could easily see those three in particular showing up in future books.

Let’s just say it: Scoundrels contains one of the most surprising plot twists of all time. It alone is worth the price of the book, in my opinion. Did you have it in mind all along, or was there a meeting at some point to find a way to knock readers off their feet?

Most of the plot twists in the book were my invention, but the one you’re referring to actually came from Shelly Shapiro and the gang at Del Rey. They brainstormed it out together and suggested it to me, and it was indeed so cool that I grabbed it and ran. I’m hoping the fans will get a kick out of it.

Thanks to Timothy Zahn and Del Rey for this interview! If you want to learn more about Scoundrels, read our review and news links below. Then go buy Scoundrels today!

SEE ALSO:
Megan Sits Down With Timothy Zahn
Novel Review: Scoundrels by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: Scoundrels
38 Pages of Star Wars: Scoundrels Now Online
Star Wars: Winner Lose All: A Lando Calrissian Tale
Star Wars: Scoundrels Cover Blurb
Star Wars: Scoundrels Full Cover Art
Star Wars: Scoundrels Excerpt!
Star Wars: Scoundrels
Untitled Star Wars Stand-Alone by Timothy Zahn Blurb

Novel Review: Scoundrels

– Minor Spoiler Review –

Timothy Zahn’s latest adventure in the Star Wars universe is a book that features Han, Chewie, Lando and a host of other shady characters from all over the galaxy. Star Wars: Scoundrels is set in between Episodes IV and V, but the events of the book are pretty much completely removed from the events of the movies. In fact, you wont find any Jedi here, or epic space battles. Just a group of smugglers and thieves looking to pull off a large heist. Sounds like a cool idea, right?

It is a cool idea. It’s no secret that Scoundrels was loosely based on the Ocean’s 11 movies, which also included complicated heists. In many ways, Scoundrels felt like like an extension of those movies. The amount of money the crew is looking to score is very close to the amount in Ocean’s 11. The number of people the crew amounts to is, yup you guessed it, 11.

Narrowing down prospective thieves and locating them also felt very Ocean’s 11, as did the strategy meeting discussing the details of the target, along with its vault. The crew base is within view of the target, and of course the mark is someone who you don’t want to tangle with.

This adventure turns out to be quite dangerous, as it will cause the crew to potentially disrupt Black Sun operations. Definitely not your typical heist, much like the one featured in Ocean’s 11.

What helped make Ocean’s 11 and its sequels very successful is all the handsome, well-known actors in virtually every shot. The movie wouldn’t have been nearly interesting if it had a bunch of bland no-names. While Scoundrels doesn’t have this visual benefit, the characters in the novel are quite capable of holding the reader’s interest.

Scoundrels is also accompanied by two prequel shorts, the separate eBook Winner Lose All and the Star Wars Insider short story Heist. They’re two different stories, though there is some overlap of characters. I wouldn’t be surprised if more stories appear featuring some the new characters introduced in Scoundrels.

There’s even a 30 second book trailer over at Amazon to whet your appetite.

A little while back, many fans online were wishing for a fun, adventurous “smuggler” novel, which eventually fell upon the ears of Timothy Zahn and Del Rey. I don’t know with certainty that Scoundrels is an answer to that wish, but it sure seems like it.

Do you want a fun adventure without the weight of galactic events bearing down on the story? How about a twist so surprising that you’ll want to go back and re-read the book? If you answered yes, go order a copy of Scoundrels today!

Be sure to check out our interview with Timothy Zahn by clicking the first link below!

DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no charge in order to provide an early review. However, this did not affect the overall review content. All opinions are my own.

SEE ALSO:
Megan Sits Down With Timothy Zahn
Knights’ Archive Exclusive: Timothy Zahn
Megan’s Review: Scoundrels
38 Pages of Star Wars: Scoundrels Now Online
Star Wars: Winner Lose All: A Lando Calrissian Tale
Star Wars: Scoundrels Cover Blurb
Star Wars: Scoundrels Full Cover Art
Star Wars: Scoundrels Excerpt!
Star Wars: Scoundrels
Untitled Star Wars Stand-Alone by Timothy Zahn Blurb

Cover Synopsis:

To make his biggest score, Han’s ready to take even bigger risks.
But even he can’t do this job solo.

Han Solo should be basking in his moment of glory. After all, the cocky smuggler and captain of the Millennium Falcon just played a key role in the daring raid that destroyed the Death Star and landed the first serious blow to the Empire in its war against the Rebel Alliance. But after losing the reward his heroics earned him, Han’s got nothing to celebrate. Especially since he’s deep in debt to the ruthless crime lord Jabba the Hutt. There’s a bounty on Han’s head—and if he can’t cough up the credits, he’ll surely pay with his hide. The only thing that can save him is a king’s ransom. Or maybe a gangster’s fortune? That’s what a mysterious stranger is offering in exchange for Han’s less-than-legal help with a riskier-than-usual caper. The payoff will be more than enough for Han to settle up with Jabba—and ensure he never has to haggle with the Hutts again.

All he has to do is infiltrate the ultra-fortified stronghold of a Black Sun crime syndicate underboss and crack the galaxy’s most notoriously impregnable safe. It sounds like a job for miracle workers . . . or madmen. So Han assembles a gallery of rogues who are a little of both—including his indispensable sidekick Chewbacca and the cunning Lando Calrissian. If anyone can dodge, deceive, and defeat heavily armed thugs, killer droids, and Imperial agents alike—and pull off the heist of the century—it’s Solo’s scoundrels. But will their crime really pay, or will it cost them the ultimate price?

Megan’s Review: Scoundrels

- Spoiler Review -

Scoundrels won me over, in true scoundrel fashion, with its affability and sense of luck.

Here’s some background information: I don’t love Timothy Zahn. His writing does tend to be a little tighter and more mature than the average Star Wars author, and he has a sense for the rollicking, space opera side of the franchise as opposed to the politics side. However, none of the beloved characters from the Thrawn Trilogy worked for me, and not being able to tell the main characters apart by voice soured my experience of Allegiance.

Scoundrels was different, though. A great combination of action and character-driven story, the novel took place on one planet in one location (mostly) but showcased a lot of the things I’ve come to know and love about the Star Wars galaxy: spaceships, ominous aliens, and memorable characters.

The story is a series of heists undertaken by a group of eleven characters, each who have their own motivation. Before he gets to the main plot, though, Zahn deflects the reader’s attention from the main characters with a couple Imperial agents who are looking to take down the same crime lord, which gave the whole thing a nice sense of moral grayness (until the Imps ended up conflicting with the scoundrels, of course.)

The four Festivals of elements during which the heist takes place were well-described and memorably beautiful. Other parts of the Star Wars universe get shown off too: Scoundrels shows a scientifically thorough heist in a fundamentally magical world, and the variety of substances and tactics was interesting. No one member of the team was expected to know what every substance on every planet was, so they got explained to the readers too.

Then there’s those eleven characters. Zahn’s characterizations made the characters memorable and easy to keep track of. The dramatis personae is there but I found myself not needing to refer to it.

Personable ship thief Dozer is hired as the “front man” or face of the operation and begrudges it when Lando takes that position. He also gets hit with Faleen pheromones early on and is gun-shy about them for the rest of the book. Dozer’s rivalry with Lando and the appearance of Winter and Kell, who we know from other media work for the Rebels, were just as important as the plot. If friendships or morale fell apart, the heist could too.

Winter and new character Rachele work largely in the background, using cameras and computers. Both are characterized to some degree by elegance: Rachele is a high-class woman who uses her connections to help out, and Winter is haunted by the memories of Alderaan and her belief that she can’t trust anyone in the group with the knowledge that she’s part of the Rebellion. Kudos to Zahn for noticing and making a point of which characters know what: Winter doesn’t know whether Leia is alive after the destruction of Alderaan, and she doesn’t know that Han knows Leia either. There’s no omnipotence in the novel and no skimming over of issues that should be important to the characters.

Hers aren’t the only trust issues: Han wonders whether Lando would leave him to die, and their relationship remains tense throughout, fitting perfectly with Lando’s reception of Han in Return of the Jedi.

Sisters Bink and Tavia have an interesting relationship and like the rest of the team, their own motivations. Both are accomplished cat burglars but while Tavia hates the job and wants them to settle down somewhere quietly when they have enough credits, Bink loves the adventure. I would have liked to see Tavia come into her own more over the course of the book, and thought that her negative response could cause as much action as Bink’s positive one, but it didn’t plan out that way.

Nevertheless, the cast of characters was the best thing about the book. I liked Kell too, another Rebel agent who fears that he won’t be able to get the job done. These characters aren’t inhuman. They bicker and fear failure and rejoice at success, which makes them feel all the more real.

The final battle has a lot of exciting elements and moves fast. A clever Indiana Jones reference or two makes up the central part of that battle, which I found fun and creative – although I could have done without characters pointing out multiple times how much like a ‘holodrama’ it was. Fight scenes are outright difficult to write and Zahn doesn’t seem to particularly enjoy them, preferring characters and decorative sets, but that also doesn’t give him an excuse for outright skipping one toward the end of the novel.

Then there’s the twist, which I never saw coming and which made me smile as I put the book down. Zahn plants suspicions in his characters’ minds carefully, so they’re figuring things out at roughly the same time as the reader sometimes and long after at other times. The twist makes Scoundrels a completely different kind of novel, and I immediately wanted to read it again to see what hints Zahn had (and had not) placed to help readers figure the twist out. Suffice it to say that I think fans will be happy. Scoundrels tops the list of my favorite Zahn novels and probably earned a place in my top ten for the EU in total.

DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no charge in order to provide an early review. However, this did not affect the overall review content. All opinions are my own.

SEE ALSO:
Megan Sits Down With Timothy Zahn
Knights’ Archive Exclusive: Timothy Zahn
Novel Review: Scoundrels by Bry Dean
38 Pages of Star Wars: Scoundrels Now Online
Star Wars: Winner Lose All: A Lando Calrissian Tale
Star Wars: Scoundrels Cover Blurb
Star Wars: Scoundrels Full Cover Art
Star Wars: Scoundrels Excerpt!
Star Wars: Scoundrels
Untitled Star Wars Stand-Alone by Timothy Zahn Blurb

38 Pages of Star Wars: Scoundrels Now Online


Click on the image above to open up the Insight Book Preview! The preview includes Scoundrels front matter. Look for Scoundrels on January 1, 2013.

SEE ALSO:
Megan Sits Down With Timothy Zahn
Knights’ Archive Exclusive: Timothy Zahn
Novel Review: Scoundrels by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: Scoundrels
Star Wars: Winner Lose All: A Lando Calrissian Tale
Star Wars: Scoundrels Cover Blurb
Star Wars: Scoundrels Full Cover Art
Star Wars: Scoundrels Excerpt!
Star Wars: Scoundrels
Untitled Star Wars Stand-Alone by Timothy Zahn Blurb

Star Wars: Winner Lose All: A Lando Calrissian Tale

We now have a catalog listing for the upcoming eBook novella Winner Lose All: A Lando Calrissian Tale, written by Timothy Zahn and due out December 10, 2012. This novella will act as a prequel for the upcoming Scoundrels, also written by Zahn. Link

Check out the official synopsis below:

Timothy Zahn’s upcoming novel Scoundrels, starring Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian, returns to the excitement of the classic Star Wars films. In this thrilling prequel eBook novella, Winner Lose All, Lando and a pair of unlikely allies find themselves involved in a dangerous game. Fortunately, Lando can survive against the odds—a skill that he will need in spades.

Lando Calrissian’s no stranger to card tournaments, but this one has a truly electrifying atmosphere. That’s because the prize is a rare sculpture worth a whopping fifty million credits. If Lando’s not careful, he’s going to go bust, especially after meeting identical twins Bink and Tavia Kitik, master thieves who have reason to believe that the sculpture is a fake. The Kitiks are beautiful, dangerous, and determined to set things right—and they’ve convinced Lando to help them expose the scam. But what they’re up against is no simple double cross, nor even a twisted triple cross. It is a full-blown power play of colossal proportions. For an unseen mastermind holds all the cards and has a fail-proof solution for every problem: murder.

SEE ALSO:
Megan Sits Down With Timothy Zahn
Knights’ Archive Exclusive: Timothy Zahn
Novel Review: Scoundrels by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: Scoundrels
38 Pages of Star Wars: Scoundrels Now Online
Star Wars: Scoundrels Cover Blurb
Star Wars: Scoundrels Full Cover Art
Star Wars: Scoundrels Excerpt!
Star Wars: Scoundrels
Untitled Star Wars Stand-Alone by Timothy Zahn Blurb

Star Wars: Scoundrels Cover Blurb

Random House has posted the jacket text for the upcoming Scoundrels, due out December 26, 2012! Link

To make his biggest score, Han’s ready to take even bigger risks.
But even he can’t do this job solo.

Han Solo should be basking in his moment of glory. After all, the cocky smuggler and captain of the Millennium Falcon just played a key role in the daring raid that destroyed the Death Star and landed the first serious blow to the Empire in its war against the Rebel Alliance. But after losing the reward his heroics earned him, Han’s got nothing to celebrate. Especially since he’s deep in debt to the ruthless crime lord Jabba the Hutt. There’s a bounty on Han’s head—and if he can’t cough up the credits, he’ll surely pay with his hide. The only thing that can save him is a king’s ransom. Or maybe a gangster’s fortune? That’s what a mysterious stranger is offering in exchange for Han’s less-than-legal help with a riskier-than-usual caper. The payoff will be more than enough for Han to settle up with Jabba—and ensure he never has to haggle with the Hutts again.

All he has to do is infiltrate the ultra-fortified stronghold of a Black Sun crime syndicate underboss and crack the galaxy’s most notoriously impregnable safe. It sounds like a job for miracle workers . . . or madmen. So Han assembles a gallery of rogues who are a little of both—including his indispensable sidekick Chewbecca and the cunning Lando Calrissian. If anyone can dodge, deceive, and defeat heavily armed thugs, killer droids, and Imperial agents alike—and pull off the heist of the century—it’s Solo’s scoundrels. But will their crime really pay, or will it cost them the ultimate price?

SEE ALSO:
Megan Sits Down With Timothy Zahn
Knights’ Archive Exclusive: Timothy Zahn
Novel Review: Scoundrels by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: Scoundrels
38 Pages of Star Wars: Scoundrels Now Online
Star Wars: Winner Lose All: A Lando Calrissian Tale
Star Wars: Scoundrels Full Cover Art
Star Wars: Scoundrels Excerpt!
Star Wars: Scoundrels
Untitled Star Wars Stand-Alone by Timothy Zahn Blurb

Star Wars: Scoundrels Full Cover Art

Del Rey has posted the entire cover art for the upcoming Star Wars: Scoundrels, due out December 26, 2012! Link

Now you get your first look at the full back cover as well featuring from left to right Kell Tainer, Winter, Zerba Cher’dak, and Bink Kitik. The jacket painting is by Paul Youll and designed by our own Scott Biel.

SEE ALSO:
Megan Sits Down With Timothy Zahn
Knights’ Archive Exclusive: Timothy Zahn
Novel Review: Scoundrels by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: Scoundrels
38 Pages of Star Wars: Scoundrels Now Online
Star Wars: Winner Lose All: A Lando Calrissian Tale
Star Wars: Scoundrels Cover Blurb
Star Wars: Scoundrels Excerpt!
Star Wars: Scoundrels
Untitled Star Wars Stand-Alone by Timothy Zahn Blurb

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