The Empire has suffered crippling defeats with the Battle of Endor and the loss of Emperor Palpatine and his Sith enforcer, Darth Vader. As it flounders, the fledgling New Republic struggles to establish itself as the force of order in the galaxy. Crucial battles have been won, but the war for galactic supremacy is far from over.
Meanwhile, above the backwater planet of Akiva on the Outer Rim, a clandestine gathering of powers assembles to decide the final fate of the Empire. Rebel pilot Wedge Antilles witnesses the gathering of Imperial Star Destroyers over the planet, but is taken captive before he is able to report the gathering to the New Republic leadership.
On the planet below, war-weary Rebel veteran Norra Wexley has returned to her home to claim her son, Temmin, whom she left to go fight for the Alliance cause. But when she intercepts a distress call from the beleaguered Captain Antilles, her plans are forcibly changed and she finds that her days as a freedom fighter are far from over. Thrown together with an Zabrak bounty hunter and a former Imperial loyalty officer, Norra finds that this new mission may not only test her resolve, but the resolve of the remains of Imperial power.
This inaugural novel of the new post-Return of the Jedi universe is an exciting, fun ride. Wendig (Blackbirds, Double Dead) keeps the pace brisk and the dialogue punchy. The novel is written in the present tense, which gives a sense of immediacy to the proceedings that could not be duplicated otherwise. The characters are complex and realistic, which is a neat trick with the breakneck speed of the plot. Further, the novel, set up in chapters with a series of “Interludes” that introduce events going on in other parts of the galaxy, does a good job of focusing on the story at hand while at the same time familiarizing the reader with the wider effects of the galactic struggle. In fact, Wendig does an impressive job of introducing realistic consequences of a war that is usually romanticized in the “space opera” setting.
Overall, Aftermath is a great adventure novel and an excellent introduction to the brave new world of the expanded Star Wars universe.