Book Title: Galaxy’s Edge: Madame Guillotine – Tyrus Rechs: Contracts & Terminations, Book 3
Audiobook Narrator: Ray Porter
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
In the city of Detron, the local resistance, called Soshies, is protesting the Republic. Claiming the Republic has attacked them for rioting, tension mounts and the riots increase in size and violent intent. Sent to investigate the situation, a Marine SLIC is shot down over the city and crashes! As the Soshie rioters celebrate their victory over the Republic using the media, this entire mess is broadcast across the galaxy and the situation gets even worse.
Because the situation is so politically volatile, the Legion has to be careful how to respond, as directed by the government. With strict rules of engagement not to fire upon civilians, a Legion Quick Response Force infiltrates Soshie-held territory to retrieve the downed Marines. After a fierce firefight, two of their own get captured! Amanda is a sniper who won’t leave her Legion brethren and in trying to help them, gets captured too!
Meanwhile, the Legion’s hands are tied politically, so Puncher and his semi-telepathic dog Baldur decide to go in alone to affect a rescue. As part of the Explosives/Threat Detection Team, they are specially trained to deal with situations like this.
Into this messy situation steps Tyrus Rechs, a long-lived and experienced bounty hunter who has a high price on his head because of supposed crimes against the Republic! But Rechs isn’t worried about that. He feels a kinship to these missing soldiers and wants to save them. But there’s more going on here than it seems.
These agitators are more organized than standard civilians, have military-grade weapons and a score to settle. Behind the scenes, secret agendas at work on both sides of the law and we get hints on who is pulling all the strings here. As the situation continues to escalate quickly, will Rechs be able to save all the captured soldiers and get them out alive? Will he be able to find the perpetrators and mete out his brand of justice too?
All these different characters have storylines that run throughout the novel and coalesce by the time we reach the finale. The entire novel is a study in tension building, both with individual characters and with larger riots going on. When that powder keg eventually explodes, it does so with a fiery conflagration of guns, violence, high stakes, unbeatable odds, last-minute saves, scores of bad guys and enough dead enemies to fill several cemeteries.
The finale is a masterstroke of meticulously executed plotting and amazingly choreographed fight sequences. It’s not just one big sequence either, it’s a series of different exciting sequences woven together tightly, seamlessly moving from one to the next to create a tableau of death and destruction that left me breathless.
Some novels take their entire story to build to one final scene, which only lasts a chapter or so. This finale is the mother of all finales, taking up multiple chapters, different points of view, tons of action and magnificent scenes where you don’t know where the story will take you next.
As far as I can tell, the finale takes up one-fifth of the book, a non-stop thrill ride that kept me listening long after the moment when I should’ve gotten out of the car and gone into work. I continuously wondered what unpredictable turns the story would take next and whether everyone would die fighting or make it out alive.
I also liked the way that Amanda’s backstory is revealed throughout her captivity, sharing what her motivations are as well as the formative moments in her life. The same goes for Puncher and Baldur, who is a telepathically bonded team with the complementarity of deadly skills to match. Their relationship is critical for their survival deep in enemy territory and to their aspect of the story.
Loyalty to your fellow soldiers remains an important core component of these novels and everyone here proves that to their utmost. It’s one of the most admirable traits in all these characters, putting their lives on the line for others when no one else will.
Tyrus Rechs is the Boba Fett of the Galaxy’s Edge universe, but with much more wisdom and a unique history. While he’s the centerpiece of this novel, there is one standout sequence in a novel filled with them that I must mention.
Rechs is in the middle of capturing a big bounty at the beginning of this novel and he has a complicated and risky plan that needs to work perfectly for it to succeed. It’s an ingeniously constructed sequence that envisions an alternate version of Luke Skywalker dropping into the Sarlacc Pit in “Return of the Jedi” but starring Boba Fett instead.
In this scene, Tyrus Rechs is about to be fed to a Tyrannasquid. This is a cross between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and an ancient squid (and yes, this monster is exactly as terrifying as it sounds). But this sequence plays out similarly yet completely different from what we saw in “Return of the Jedi”.
This scene has been completely reimagined for the Galaxy’s Edge universe, of course, with its Boba Fett analog at its center. It’s a great alternate universe idea on how that scene could have been, with plenty of surprises, last-minute lucky saves, death-dealing, fiery destruction, and great twists as Rechs inexorably closes in on his bounty, no matter how deadly the threat might be.
If you’ve read other Galaxy’s Edge novels, you’ll notice there is plenty of continuity between other stories. Things like a wide variety of aliens, different types of weapons, a corrupt Republic and a rich tapestry of galactic history to be found. I always appreciate the connections between other stories in this universe, as it makes it feel more lived in.
To me, it also means the authors continue to be thoughtful, considerate and detailed in the continued expansion of their fictional universe. This kind of dedication to their readers and their craft is commendable and unquestionable.
You could read this novel on its own and still get a complete story without having to read other Galaxy’s Edge novels. It’s a compelling Boba Fett novel, whether it has the title “Star Wars” on its cover or not. It’s also filled with much depth and character richness that this universe is renowned for.
Ray Porter’s voice carries the appropriate gravitas to convey the seriousness of the situation. His performance is impeccable, his inflections give each character a distinctive sound and as the story intensifies, his voice makes it that much more gripping as a result. It’s the definitive one for Tyrus Rechs and he’s also the perfect narrator for this story.
Given that this is a military science fiction novel, it would be easy for it to be all action and no character development. But thankfully, that is not the case here. The authors devote equal attention to both aspects of the story, making for a thoroughly satisfying novel with plenty of emotional impact and impressive action sequences to make Hollywood moviemakers jealous with envy.
While the tagline of this universe may be “Star Wars, not Star Wars”, the stories in the Galaxy’s Edge series continue to be absolute must-reads. They clearly distinguish themselves from their Star Wars inspirations and chart a clear and unique path of their own in the military science fiction realm. I eagerly await more stories in this universe, as each one is something to look forward to and to savor while enjoying it.
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Previous Indie Athenaeum book reviews or audiobook reviews about Galaxy’s Edge stories co-authored by Jason Anspach and Nick Cole include “Galaxy’s Edge – Requiem For Medusa“, “Iron Wolves – Order of the Centurion – Book 2“, co-authored with Jonathan Yanez and “The Reservist – Galaxy’s Edge: Order of the Centurion, Book 5“, co-authored with J.R. Handley.