This volume takes a break from the development of Cade Skywalker and instead focuses on fleshing out the existing state of affairs between the three factions vying for control of the galaxy: the Sith Empire, Fel's Empire, and the GA Remnant. Ostrander has a thorough knowledge of the EU and does a wonderful job integrating his story within the existing culture and history developed by his predecessors. He's also done a great job at not only introducing new characters, but making them likable and making sure they get enough time "on-screen" so that the reader can really get to know them. People like Admiral Stazi aren't just names to be dropped or people to be seen in a panel or two, they have histories, they do admirable things, and they make mistakes. There are enough characters introduced in this series to warrant the dramatis personae roll call at the beginning of each volume much like the longer novel arcs have taken to doing, but unlike the novels it just feels easier to keep track of who's who. Ostrander helps the reader identify the characters by getting you to identify with
them. This isn't Stephen King level development or anything like that, but it's nice to see in something fun and kind of cheesy like Star War fiction.
The format continues to work and I'm enjoying seeing this new galaxy through the eyes of ALL the people who populate it, not just a select two or three that are author favorites. Stazi is likable and has an Ackbarian-air to him that makes me miss the old Mon Cal. Also, Krayt and his ilk further cement themselves as thoroughly evil and not just misguided Sith who seek order in a tumultuous galaxy (like Jacen, who I could never quite loathe or like), by showing their true selfish colors in a rather nasty turn of events. Good stuff. I might just run through the whole series today and review the last one when I'm done.