Del Rey has been kind enough to include Big Shiny Robot! on their Razor's Edge Tour.
Below, you'll find an excerpt of the novel, written by Martha Wells and available in stores today! (In fact, order it right now.)
Razor's Edge is the first in the new Empire and Rebellion series, and this novel centers around Princess Leia. It's set in the time between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and is good, old-fashioned Star Wars. Martha Wells, I think, nailed the tone of the original films to the point that it was easy to imagine the dialogue coming out of the mouths and bodies of Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill.
The book itself covers territory I almost wish we'd have seen in the films, too. Leia is struggling to deal with the destruction of Alderaan, but other survivors are putting undue expectations on her and her survival. The book opens with a bang and the heroes spend the whole novel breathlessly on the run, which makes it feel VERY classic Star Wars.
To that point, it also echoes back to what the Marvel Comics series was doing in that fallow period between 1977 and 1980. Keeping our favorite heroes in danger without disrupting the status quo too much. The Marvel Comics have a brilliant charm for doing it the way they did, but Wells brings a gravitas to the material that I really enjoyed.
The reading itself was fun, the characters were spot on, and the descriptions of things brought me to the story. And I quite loved having Leia be the lead character. Her interactions with Han, from her perspective, were refreshing. And her thoughts about Luke were very delicately balanced with the differences between what she knows and what we as the reader knows.
My favorite thing about the book, though, is how well it bridges some gaps in what we know. In A New Hope, Chewbacca and Luke weren't exactly friendly, but by Empire Chewie's insisting on hugging him and getting scratched behind his ears. This book bridges that gap. It also continues to build the tension between Leia and Han. And perhaps the best moment in the book is when a third party insists he should fly the Falcon and Han and Luke share a...moment.
I think you'd do well to read the book if you're interested in that period between Episode IV and V, but don't necessarily want the baggage of the rest of the EU. This is a perfect introductory book.
So, without further ado, here's the exclusive excerpt of the book:
Leia opened a connection to both the Falcon and Han’s comlink. “Kelvan, I want you to launch the Aegis and get away from the asteroid. There’s another ship out there that’s with us. ID Millennium Falcon. I want you to rendezvous with it and prepare to jump to lightspeed. Luke, did you copy that?”
Luke replied, “Yes, but Leia—”
Kelvan said, “But what—”
Han cut in, “Leia, what the hell are you doing?”
Leia snapped, “Luke, Kelvan, do as you’re told. We’ll join you as soon as possible. Han, just give me a minute.” Reaching the spot where the ore track extended over the thick bay wall, she motioned to Andevid and Davit and the others to hang back. She eased forward and took a cautious look over the edge. She could see the ship, a freighter about twice the size of the Falcon and in outwardly better condition. Its engines were steaming in the damp air. Good, it was hot and ready to go.
Which meant Thiss might be on his way back and ready to abandon the mine.
An armed Rodian was stationed by the ramp, and a human man stood near the bay doors. The human started to turn to survey the ore-cart track, and Leia ducked out of his line of sight. From this angle she could just see the top of the Rodian’s head. She lowered her voice and said into the comlink, “Han, send someone up here to bang on the doors of this closed docking bay. I need the guard inside distracted.”
Han swore incredulously, but she heard him say, “Itran, get up there!”
“Tell him to say he was sent by Ravin Thiss with a message,” Leia added.
With a few whispers and gestures, she described the guards’ positions to Andevid and Davit. A few moments later, Kifar ran up the ramp, waved to Leia from below, and stopped at the bay entrance. Leia nodded to him and he pounded on the door with his free hand, shouting, “Hey, open up, I’ve got a message from Thiss!”
Leia said, “Now!” and flung herself forward. She hit the track on her side and fired at the human guard near the doors. Andevid and Davit surged forward and fired at the Rodian near the ship’s ramp. Leia hit her target in the shoulder and the chest, and the man went down. Andevid and Davit both missed, and Leia flattened herself to the filthy metal as the Rodian returned fire. She and Davit had their blasters on stun, but Andevid and the Rodian didn’t and the bolts melted the track over Leia’s head. She rolled over and crawled forward, trying for a better angle. Two meters farther and she could just catch a hint of green under the edge of the ramp where the Rodian had taken cover. She took a deep breath, lifted up on her elbow, and fired.
Copyright © 2013 by Martha Wells. Reprinted by arrangement with Ballantine Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved."