My first Star Wars read in about 5 years, I am really glad I picked up Zahn to continue this journey. To me, Zahn is the master of the post-classic trilogy canon novel. His grasp of the SW universe and the way he really charges up the characters makes, to me, for the more enjoyable SW novels. This one takes place between Episodes IV and V, and makes the interaction between a lot of the classic characters very intriguing and enjoyable. A clever plot twist allows for Imperial stormtroopers to actually find themselves sympathizing with the Rebels in their quest to find star systems to join their attempts to fight the Empire. One of the more interesting post classic trilogy characters, Mara Jade, is introduced in this novel as far as the timeline is concerned, and she more than holds her own in a friendly showdown with Vader. Zahn should be required to write at least one of these a year.