Acclaimed author, comic book writer, and video game designer Alexander Freed ("Battlefront: Twilight Company") is leaping out of creative hyperspace to deliver the rousing finale to his trilogy of "Star Wars" novels showcasing that rag-tag group of starfighter pilots known as Alphabet Squadron.
"Star Wars: Victory's Price" (Del Rey Books, 2021) by bestselling author Alexander Freed was recently released and brings back Imperial deserter Yrica Quell and her daring New Republic fliers colliding with Soran Keize and the Empire's Shadow Wing, following the events of "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi."
This latest "Alphabet Squadron" novel follows 2019's "Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron" and 2020's "Star Wars: Shadow Fall" and promises more insane space combat action from Quell's jumbled collection of A-wing, B-wing, U-wing, X-wing, and Y-wing spaceships.
Here, in Freed's finale to the space combat trilogy, the ace pilots of the New Republic do battle one last time with the sinister forces of Shadow Wing. Following Yrica Quell's shocking decision in "Star Wars: Shadow Fall," what's left of Alphabet Squadron seeks answers and closure in a cold galaxy where war embers threaten to reignite.
Soran Keize is back as the tip of Shadow Wing's spear. Operation Cinder's planetary extermination plan has star systems in chaos. No longer wounded prey fleeing the New Republic hunters, Shadow Wing is re-energized with its Star Destroyers and TIE squadrons still obeying the fallen Emperor's final order of destruction while carrying out another secret mission.
Space.com recently connected with Freed to discuss what fans of the previous "Alphabet Squadron" books can expect, confronting the physical and moral dilemmas of war, saying farewell to these beloved characters, and sticking the landing as he brings the story to an end.
Space.com: Can you take us on a trench run of "Victory's Price" and its ace space jockeys?
Alexander Freed: "Victory's Price" is the conclusion of the "Alphabet Squadron" trilogy, showcasing the final days of the battle against the Galactic Empire in the period after "Return of the Jedi." Our cast of five mismatched starfighter pilots consists of:
- Yrica Quell, X-wing pilot and Imperial defector whose past crimes have proven far greater than her comrades ever suspected — and greater, perhaps, than they can forgive.
- Wyl Lark, A-wing pilot and gentle idealist thrust into a position of unexpected authority.
- Chass na Chadic, B-wing pilot, a strong-willed woman with a self-destructive streak who'd never planned on lasting this long into the war.
- Nath Tensent, Y-wing pilot and amoral pirate who's slowly being seduced by the fame and glory that comes with heroism.
- Kairos, alien and enigmatic U-wing pilot who must come to grips with her own spiritual metamorphosis.
Working with General Hera Syndulla (of "Star Wars: Rebels" fame) over the course of the previous books, they've clashed with the elite Imperial TIE fighter unit Shadow Wing over and over. They've suffered lasting trauma and turned against one another even as they've bonded.
Now, in the twilight of the war and as planets burn, they're faced with holding together as a unit long enough to defeat their enemies and reach the coming peace.
Even from the start, it doesn't go well.
Space.com: What's been the most satisfying element of writing the "Alphabet Squadron" trilogy and what do you hope readers take away from the series?
Freed: There's nothing like an ending, is there? This is what we've spent years building toward—not just bringing every plot and subplot to an appropriately explosive (things always explode in "Star Wars!") finale, not just confronting each character with the embodiment of their respective fears and traumas and seeing them rise or fall, but turning subtext into text and directly confronting the themes of guilt, redemption, and the ultimate price of conflict.
We ask questions about how long to keep fighting; about what to do with your enemies when they've been beaten but not banished; about the twin roles of justice and reconciliation.
The characters are absolutely dear to me, but I hope readers come away from the trilogy not just with a sense of emotional connection to this strange, chaotic starfighter unit, but with ideas worth thinking about and worth discussing.
Still... if all I'm able to offer is a rollicking "Star Wars" adventure, who am I to complain? I'll take every bit of success I can get.
Space.com: What's next on your plate and will you stay in the "Star Wars" galaxy?
Freed: I've been writing "Star Wars" novels, video games, and comics on and off for nearly fifteen years, and every time I finish a project I figure it might be the last time I write in that universe. But people keep giving me new chances to tell "Star Wars" stories, for which I'm terribly grateful. We'll have to see what the future holds, but I'd be glad to visit again.
Meanwhile, I'm keeping busy! Among the items I can talk about: We're currently prepping a Kickstarter to collect a fantasy webcomic I wrote, "Violet Dawn" (and I'd urge anyone interested to sign up for updates at violetdawn.com/kickstarter).
I'm also working on a few different video game projects, including writing for Archetype Entertainment on a new science-fiction roleplaying game. It's been lovely collaborating with some of my former colleagues from BioWare again.
Lastly, my Twitter account, @alexandermfreed, always has the latest
Alexander Freed's "Star Wars: Victory's Price" is available now.
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Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.