Literature / Allegiance
is a Star Wars Legends
novel by Timothy Zahn
. It's set six months after A New Hope
As the title suggests, this book features people and groups who are having allegiance issues. Han Solo is resentful about how it seems like everyone is assuming that he's committed himself to the Rebellion, although he hasn't left yet, and while Luke Skywalker is utterly committed, he worries about Han and is very green. The five stormtroopers who form the Hand of Judgment desert and form a sort of vigilante group believing that the Empire has abandoned the ideals that they signed up for. Consciously, Mara Jade is absolutely certain of the rightness of the Empire, but she is on the hunt for traitors and there are numerous tiny hints that she's against various aspects. Meanwhile, Leia is sent to negotiate between various Rebel leaders who are threatening to leave, and speaks with a district head who claims to want to secede, but is really doing all of this to gain power.
It's a Zahn plot, so a lot of things are happening at once, and the plotlines tangle together. Luke and Mara don't meet until The Thrawn Trilogy
, so it's the stormtroopers who interact with both Mara and the Rebels. This is notable as being the first Zahn Star Wars
novel to never mention Thrawn. Not once
. There's a fleeting mention of Grand Admirals, but that's it.
A direct sequel, Choices of One
, was released later, right on the 20th anniversary of Heir to the Empire
Not to be confused with the computer game Allegiance
or the stage play Allegiance
Allegiance provides examples of the following tropes:
- Awesome by Analysis: The Commodore tries this, enduring mild sensory deprivation in order to concentrate on voices. Doesn't work on Mara.
- Body Motifs
- Mara Jade: the Emperor's Hand.
- The 501st Legion: Vader's Fist.
- Five idealistic stormtrooper deserters: the Hand of Judgment.
- Zahn uses the hand motif a lot. There's also the Empire of the Hand and the Hand of Thrawn. It's an easy metaphor.
- Lampshaded; LaRone, the leader of the five stormtroopers, when asked for what his squad is called, goes blank and ends up blurting "Mostly, we're known as the Hand of Judgment." Away from everyone else, he gets ribbed relentlessly by the other stormtroopers.
Quiller: You could have just picked a unit number at random. It's not like he could have checked before we got offplanet.
LaRone: Fine. Next time you can be the officer and group spokesman.
Quiller: Great. Does that mean you're promoting me from finger to thumb?
Grave: No fair. I want to be the thumb.
- Lampshaded again later, when Mara saves them from Vader and the 501st and hears out their story. She lets them go, but tells them this:
Mara: Lose the name. There's only one Hand in the Empire, and that's me.
- Ironically this is not true at all, much to Mara's displeasure in future stories.
- Bullet Holes and Revelations: LaRone shot first.
- Villim Disra has apparently always had connections to criminals.
- There's also Mara Jade watching Vader get defensive over something he's looking up at a terminal, and her musing that the Emperor won't be pleased if Vader's been looking up Prince Xizor and Black Sun again.
- Luke and Leia learning to operate a couple of acquired speeder bikes.
- Catchphrase Interruptus: Hilariously deployed.
- Chekhov's Gun: Or at least his drainpipe.
- Continuity Nod: Disra, possibly the only Imperial who is a monster in a Zahn book. Also, we see the official debut of the Executor.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!: After refusing to kill unarmed civilians, Daric LaRone is confronted by an ISB officer who pulls a blaster on him. LaRone knows this is typical ISB threatening and he'll probably be let go, but when the officer takes it a little further, jabbing the stormtrooper with the muzzle and letting his finger tighten on the trigger, LaRone's training kicks in and he kills the officer. Oops.
- Exploding Barrels: The Commodore's men try to kill Mara and Tannis with these.
- Five-Man Band: A bit stretched, but it works:
- Fix Fic: Stormtroopers who are not only useful, but badass? Also, their armor is actually effective against small arms fire.
- Survivor's Quest — also by Zahn — did it first with the four stormtroopers of Aurek Seven, who are a deeply Badass Crew. Since Choices of One confirms that Thrawn hired the Hand of Judgment to train his own elite squadrons, it's to be expected. It isn't just the Hand of Judgment — the narrative in Allegiance also goes out of its way to remind the reader that the stormtroopers on the Death Star were under specific orders to let the heroes go...