Fool’s Bargain by Timothy Zahn
Set: 22 ABY
Once infamously known as “Vader’s Fist,” the legendary 501st are the best men for the dangerous objective at hand—capturing the Warlord alive. It’s a risky mission that might be jeopardized when Imperial unit commander Twister and his comrades, Shadow, Cloud, and Watchman, are waylaid by a band of zealous freedom fighters, armed with their own agenda . . . and plenty of firepower. The Eickarie renegades—determined to free hundreds of their people from the Warlord’s dungeons—have an offer to make, and a strategy that could give the Imperials the edge in the bloody showdown to come. But can Twister and his men trust their new allies? Or will they get more than they bargain for?
One of the things that make the Star Wars universe unique is the opportunity it gives writers to write short stories. It helps expand what we’re looking at, as writers use the short stories as opportunities to step away from the main characters.
Fool’s Bargain by Timothy Zahn is one of those stories, and doesn’t even really add anything to its companion piece, Survivor’s Quest. Which doesn’t mean this story isn’t good, it just means that it is its own story and worthy of being read as such.
We are introduced to the 501st, once known as Vader’s Fist and know revived within the Empire of the Hand. It’s a shorter story of the Republic Commando type story, taking a look into the helmets of the storm/clone troopers and the decisions they have to make, the feelings they have about their job, and the personalities that make them up.
This short story is really worth reading. It’s quick, it’s found at the back of the paperback version of Survivor’s Quest, and is a well told story that sheds light into an area of the Star Wars universe you’ll rarely get a chance to go. Zahn tells a story that is detailed and a well formed picture of life as a soldier in the Empire of the Hand, and the differences between that Empire and the Empire formed under Palpatine.
If you can get your hands on an electronic version, or have the paperback version of Survivor’s Quest floating around your house, definitely make sure you give this a read.
This Fool’s Bargain book review was written by Joshua S Hill
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