As a diehard fan of the Star Wars Expanded Universe — the books, comics, and videogames that tell stories far beyond the events of George Lucas’ cinematic saga — there was a line of novels published by Del Rey Books in the 1990s that was my absolute favorite: the X-Wing series. This magnificent nine-volume yarn set in the years immediately after Return of the Jedi focused on a quirky lineup of starfighter pilots fighting the good fight for the New Republic (formerly the Rebel Alliance) against the remnants of the Empire. It appealed to the deepest level of my Star Wars fandom. Why? Other than hotshot ace Wedge Antilles, these books didn’t feature any of the characters or plotlines from the movies. The X-Wing books are Exhibit A for how that galaxy far, far away is such a rich repository of storytelling beyond what’s on the big screen. Focusing just on the pilots, authors Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston imagined Star Wars as a razor-sharp military procedural: think Horatio Hornblower meets Top Gun.
Since the ninth and last X-Wing novel, Allston’s Starfighters of Adumar, was published in 1999, the series’ stature has only continued to grow. Finally, after a 13-year wait, Allston’s tenth installment, X-Wing: Mercy Kill, is due in stores tomorrow. Check out an exclusive excerpt of Mercy Kill, which jumps ahead 30 years after the events of the last X-Wing novel, after the break. READ FULL STORY