Star Wars: X-Wing 3 – The Krytos Trap Audiobook by Michael A. Stackpole

With a terrifying virus killing non-humans, one of their own on trial for treason and another imprisoned, believed dead, Rogue Squadron must save the day on many fronts.

‘The Krytos Trap’ does something I never even thought I would encounter, let alone enjoy. We get a courtroom drama in Star Wars. The trial of Tycho Celchu, for the apparent murder of Corran Horn was a surprise but executed perfectly. Whilst the Rogues are pulled this way and that defending shipments of life saving Bacta that is in high demand due to Ysaard’s Krytos virus. Whilst the Squadron go the the highs of victory and the lows of their losses we learn that there may be another traitor in their midst who has been an informant for the Empire.

Corran Horn, who actually survived the sabotage of his Z-95 Headhunter in ‘Wedge’s Gamble’ has been imprisoned in Ysaard’s hidden prison, Lusankya where the Imperial Director is attempting to brainwash him into becoming a sleeper agent, like Celchu is believed to be. When the manipulation of his mind fails he is thrown into a labour camp where he, using his skills as a CorSec Officer, manages to find a way to break out. His escape leads him to a hidden Jedi Museum where he finds a display about a Corellian Jedi Master Neeja Halcyon. He takes Halcyon’s lightsaber and with the help of his R2 Unit, Whistler, manages to arrive at the courthouse and give testimony that Celchu is in fact innocent, based on records he was able to uncover.

Throughout Celchu’s trial, lawyer and Rogue Squadron Pilot, Nawara Ven finds the Imperial Operative and nemesis of Rogue Squadron, Kirtan Loor, who defects but is later killed by Isaard’s sleeper agent, Diric Wessiri, the husband of Corran Horn’s former CorSec partner, Iella.

Of course, the final battle is fought in the skies of Coruscant, when Ysaard’s Super Star Destroyer, Lusankya, takes off from its underground hiding place, the ship housed the prison the Corran was held in. Unfortunately, the ship escaped after the real traitor is revealed, Flight Officer Erisi Dlarit.

Despite Ysaard’s escape, Rogue Squadron are heralded as heroes. Thanks to Qlaern Hirf, a cure of the Krytos Virus is found and administered. Finally, at a party celebrating the victory, Luke Skywalker arrives and tells Corran that he is actually a descendant of the Jedi Neeja Halcyon, before Wedge, Corran and the rest of Rogue Squadron quit the New Republic in order to bring the fight to Isaard and end her new reign of tyranny on the planet Thyferra.

The plot threads of the previous two novels in the series come together very nicely in this volume, leaving the next book to focus more on the Squadron and their new, self imposed mission.

The plot is paced really well, with political intrigue being a main theme, a far cry from the previous two books, but the story does allow for some great action sequences around the drama of the courtroom.

Given that the audiobook is abridged, I feel that so far out of the three I have listened to, this is the one with the most content cut out. I am really tempted to pick up this book to see if we get more of Nawara Ven doing some sleuthing, because the trial plot line was really interesting as it’s not something we have had much of in Star Wars (obvious exception being Ahsoka’s trial in ‘The Clone Wars’ Season 5).

The series has definitely picked up the pace after ‘Wedge’s Gamble’ felt slow for me, but I’ll be honest, the Audiobook would really benefit from adding the ‘Dramatis Personae’ that is included in the book, there have been times, especially in this one, where it’s been easy to confuse characters because their names sound similar to those of other characters.

If my only complaint is that I wished there was more content in the Audiobook then they must have done something right, and I’m very much looking forward to diving into the next part in the series.

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