(19 ABY) Jedi Master Mander Zuma begins investigating the death of his former apprentice and soon becomes embroiled in a mission to end the trade in the deadly drug (sorry, 'spice') known as Tempest, delving deeper and deeper into the shady world of Hutt politics.
The concept of Mander Zuma is an intriguing one. He's a very average Jedi, with basic lightsaber skills, little field experience and an imperfect connection to the Force. When so many Star Wars stories focus on Jedi prodigies like the Skywalkers or wise and experienced Jedi like Obi-Wan, it made for interesting reading to see the adventures of a more everyman type. It was good to see him grow into the role of Knight errant as his quest progressed too. This story also reintroduces the Corporate Sector Authority from the classic Han Solo Adventures.
My biggest problem with this book is that it is the novelisation of an old RPG campaign book called 'Tempest Feud'. This meant that all of the major plot points, including the big twist as to the identity of the Spice Lord, were already known to me. Since the story relies heavily on plot-based mysteries, this foreknowledge soured the reading experience. Also, overall, the story on offer here is not particularly epic or enthralling, making it feel more like an extended short story than a proper Star Wars novel. My final quibble is simply that I found the idea of a drug-addicted Jedi to be a fascinating one but sadly Toro Irana doesn't survive long enough for the author to fully explore the interesting possibilities there.
A perfectly acceptable book but one which doesn't grab you in the way that a great Star Wars story should.