Tyrant’s Test by Michael P. Kube McDowell Audiobook Review

As the New Republic and The Duskhan League trade ultimatums, Leia faces dissent within her own ranks. Luke’s quest to find his mother comes to a startling conclusion and Lando, Lobot and the Droids finally understand the ship they have been stuck on.

Returning to a standard format that jumps between the different plot lines, ‘Tyrant’s Test’ brings McDowell’s trilogy to a surprisingly satisfying ending.

Leia faces a hard choice, whether or not to step away from the role of Chief of State whilst the Yevethans have Han prisoner or to stay in power without the full support of her closest allies, fearing that she is emotionally compromised. After receiving a horrific video of Nil Spaar beating Han within an inch of his life, Leia visits her friend and mentor, Mon Mothma, before meeting with the New Republic Senate and announces her intention to stay in power until, at least, the end of the war, knowing her decision could cost Han his life.

Luke and Akanah end up on the planet J’t’p’tan, close to the Yevethan conflict, where they finally find the Fallanassi hiding and using their powers to hide The Temple of the Hidden Spirit, disguising the Temple as a set of ruins to make the invading Yevethans that they were dead. Luke enlists their help with the coming battle.

Chewie, with his son, Lumpy and two of his cousins, embarks on a rescue mission. Using an underworld contact they take the Millennium Falcon right to Nil Spaar’s Star Destroyer and make their way through, finding Han who is with a captured Fallanassi woman who uses her powers to confuse their captors until Han is rescued.

The battle begins, with the Fallanassi making the Yevethans believe that the New Republic fleet is much larger, the former Imperial soldiers, taken prisoner by the Yevethans, take back a number of their ships. Their leader orders the ships to leave the battle, reducing the Yevethan fleet considerably, the Commander, Sil Sorannon, takes control of Nil Spaar’s flagship, taking the Yevethan leader captive and locking him in an escape pod which they launch into hyperspace.

Luke learns that Akanah had lied about his mother, using the name and story of a woman whose twins had been taken from her to manipulate Luke into joining her. Feeling betrayed, Luke goes on a new mission, to find Lando.

On the Vagabond, Lobot has become connected to the ship through his cybernetic attachment as the ship encounters more and more attackers and becomes increasingly damaged. Called back to its home world by the crew of The Lady Luck. Luke arrives and with the scientist is able to rescue Lando and the crew as they learn of the Vagabond’s true purpose, to revive the Qella species once their home world of Brath Qella was ready to exit its sudden ice age, reviving the species.

Luke returns to Coruscant where he reunites with Leia, Han is doing much better in the Med-Centre and the two of them discuss family, Luke’s desire to find out about their mother and how he wants to be involved with the training of Jacen, Jaina and Anakin.

As the conclusion of the trilogy, ‘Tyrant’s Test’ works brilliantly. After the events of ‘Shield of Lies’ we get to see the aftermath here and it doesn’t disappoint. We know how great a leader Leia is and that point is Reuter ten-fold as she stakes her claim over the presidency of the New Republic, pushing all of her personal feelings for the situation away and focusing on what is best for the Galaxy at large. Even in the canon stories, we’ve never seen Leia this close to a breaking point, even when Han is killed by Kylo she keeps on going, but it is redressing to see her vulnerability shine through, even for a brief moment.

Akanah’s inevitable betrayal of Luke’s trust finally happens when she finally finds her people, and Luke, whilst initially angry manages to make peace with it. However, Luke does learn a new way of envisioning the Force and how to utilise it in new ways, which come into play in the rescue of Lando, Lobot, C-3PO and R2-D2 from the Vagabond. It was also great to see Luke fully back to his old self by the end, wanting to pass on his Jedi knowledge to his niece and nephews.

The new Chewie and Han storyline, starting with Lumpawaroo’s rite of passage being interrupted, with Chewie, his son and two other members of their family going on a mission to rescue Han in the Millennium Falcon. This part, for me, is the only bit that feels like a good old Star Wars adventure, risky odds, a daring rescue and infiltrating an Imperial ship (yes it’s under Yevethan control but it’s still a Star Destroyer). And they are in the Millennium Falcon. And of course they save Han.

The big problem, that really doesn’t tie into the rest of the plot, is the Lando storyline. My prediction that the Vagabond would emerge from hyperspace in the middle of the battle was wrong, instead the storyline remains separate until Luke arrives (after the battle is over). It feels like a waste of the characters involved when they could have been part of the main storyline.

Whilst I think this was the better of the three (audio)books, it’s not without its flaws. Firstly, the Fallanassi woman who helps in the rescue of Han from the Yevethans by using her powers of camouflage seems to appear out of nowhere in the audiobook which was truly bizarre and confusing.

I get the feeling that this audiobook had to skip a lot to meet the three hour run-time, whilst understandable given the time it was made, I feel like the abridgement could have been better executed. As far as the trilogy, it definitely got better as it went along but it’s not one I’d revisit.

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