A somewhat Darker and EdgierStar Wars horror novel by Joe Schreiber that utilises one of the horror genre's most beloved elements - zombies. Aboard the Imperial Prison Barge Purge, the engines break down in the middle of nowhere. Only place to repair them is a seemingly-deserted Star Destroyer nearby. After a team is sent over to find the parts half of them go missing, and the other half bring back a deadly and seemingly-incurable plague to the rest of the guards and inmates.Zombies ensue.The story follows six characters - young brothers Trig and Kale Longo, resident doctor and sole female occupant Zahara Cody, sadistic Captain of the Guard Jareth Sartoris and Han Solo and Chewbacca, who are found halfway through the novel locked in solitary confinement. Together they attempt to escape Purge without succumbing to the ravenous horde of the undead that is roaming both the barge and the nearby Destroyer.It was followed up by a prequel, Star Wars: Red Harvest, which delves into the origins of the virus thousands of years ago at a Sith Academy.Taking place during the Old Republic Era, the Odacer-Faustin Sith Academy is about to experience a horror the likes of which they have never experienced before. The leader of the academy, Darth Scabrous, is conducting experiments that results in the creation of zombies. To do that, he needs the Murakami orchid as one of the essential ingredients. Unfortunately, the orchid is Force-Sensitive, and it requires its Jedi caretaker Hestizo Trace to stay within one metre of it to stay alive. This results in her being kidnapped, and it also results in her brother Rojo Trace dropping everything and coming to her rescue.
Ax-Crazy: The zombies, to the point that they learn how to use rudimentary weapons and even get as far as flying X-Wings before they're halted.
Not Using the Zed Word: Averted. Han Solo uses it once, but it's within the last ten pages after everyone's escaped.
Our Zombies Are Different: Oh boy is there ever. Major spoiler alerts ahead: While not necessarily fast, they are by no means slow. Unlike most zombie outbreaks, this one is airborne, and it seems less than 1 in 100 are immune, as in a prison barge with 500 prisoners and an unknown amount of crew, only 4 people are immediately immune. Get bitten and immunity means jack. Shooting them in the head does not kill them. The zombie does not need to have to have died from the virus to reanimate. The fact the virus seems to be SENTIENT, alluding to a virus that is possibly force sensitive. Last, but not least, they LEARN. Oh boy do they learn, seeing as how they go from not knowing how to fire a blaster to deadly accurate within minutes. An antibody can actually be made, preventing you from getting infected from the airborne virus (though possibly immunity from bites as well, we never see someone with the antivirus get bitten). Finally, unlike most outbreaks, if they get too far from the source of the virus, they die.
The Virus: The reason all but six of Purge's occupants become undead. Turns out to be a new bioweapon developed by Imperial R n D that gets way out of hand.
Always Save the Girl: Appears to be subverted when it is assumed that Zahara has died, but it then turns out the corpse they thought was hers just belonged to an underfed, girly-looking Imperial cannibal.
And I Must Scream: Pretty much everything that happens once the security team returns from the Star Destroyer. Screaming is also used by the zombies as something of a communicative measure between them.
Apocalypse How: Initially a Type 3, with everyone except the six protagonists either dead or zombified, but then moves into a Type 3A when it turns out the virus was manufactured as a bioweapon by the Empire.
Dual Wielding: At one point, Zahara does this with syringes in order to administer an antivirus to an already-zombified victim. It only works temporarily, but she gets a computer password out of him before he turns back.
Heroic Sacrifice: Sartoris jumps off the lifter used to save Trig, Han and Chewie, down to a hoard of literally thousands of zombies, just so the lifter has enough weight and thrust to escape. It helped that he was slowly being zombified.
The Immune: Implied with all of the main characters. It's a natural occurrence, although less than one in a hundred are immune. However, Zahara makes an antivirus from her blood, just in case.
Infant Immortality: Averted in a very gruesome way when an infant Wookiee is devoured by its parents. It's off-page, but jeez...
Kick the Dog: Trig and Kale find the only escape pod remaining onboard. Just as they are about to enter it they are cornered by Sartoris, who threatens both of them (keeping in mind Trig is merely 13 years old) with a mouthful of blaster bolts if they take the pod. He then uses it to escape himself. First he kills their dad, then he leaves them to die at the hands of the ravenous undead. What a dick.
Meaningful Name: Meta example: The writer is Joe Schreiber- which, incidentally, is archaic German and Yiddish for writer (not in modern German though).
Mercy Kill: Trig is forced to do this to Kale after he becomes a zombie.
No OSHA Compliance: As always for a Star Wars story, there are rail-less catwalks above bottomless chasms in the Star Destroyer. Here, however, the threat of the drop is enough to make Trig seek an alternate route.
Once is Not Enough: Subverted. When a zombie is discovered in the escape craft and gets shot, Zahara is smart enough to keep the blaster on it — not that it matters, since when they reach a certain distance from the source of the virus, the zombie dies naturally. Still, points for trying.
Vasquez Always Dies: Rare gender-flipped example: Kale, the more spirited, proactive, generally pretty Badass Longo gets his face half blown off and turned into a zombie; Trig, the more useless, tag-along brother, survives
The Ace: Lussk is the academy's strongest student, a fact that he and everyone else is very well aware of.
Academy of Adventure: If by "adventure", you mean having unakki eye spiders released by your headmaster among the student body to cull the weak (and resulting in eleven students going blind, two dying and one commiting suicide), then yes, adventure!
Academy of Evil: The Sith academy is downright darwinian. Students at best view each other with suspicious disinterest. Socializing is a sign of weakness, after all.
Deathworld: Odacer-Faustin, an icy tundra with enough latent geological activity to slowly turn the Sith academy into a perpetual ruin.
Determinator: Pretty much all the characters if they wanna survive, but special mention goes to Hestizo Trace, Rojo Trace, Tulkh & Mnah Ra'at.
Developing Doomed Characters: The fate of every single Sith, Tulkh, Rojo, and assorted others. Considering the story is set mostly in a Sith Academy, it's easy to consider many of the Sith POV characters to be Hate Sinks and Asshole Victims to varying degrees. Readers may occasionally root for them, then you learn just how innately horrible and worthy of Laser-Guided Karma they really are.
The Dreaded: Everyone at the academy is afraid of Lussk, and for good reason.
Green Thumb: Even as a member of the Jedi Agricultural Corps, Hestizo Trace stands out as an amazing plant empath.
Heroic Sacrifice: The HK droid who was acting as Scabrous' valet pulls one of these near the end of the novel. He jumps out of the Mirocaw onto the academy's central tower which was being swarmed by nearly every zombified sith on the planet and turns turbolasers on the tower, destroying himself along with it.
Hive Mind: "The Sickness", to some degree, networks all the zombies. They learn and grow by adding more to their horde, but still audibly call to each other.
Noble Savage: Tulkh, to some degree. He's still a cold blooded killer, but he has some sense of honor and asks to be killed by vacuum rather than turn into a zombie.
Our Zombies Are Different: They're dead, can run and sprint, and aren't killed by head shots. It takes full dismemberment to stop them. Of special interest is it's virus based and can jump species, a hive mind with Demonic Possession properties, and fully sentient. Oh, and they're infested with insane versions of the Murakami Orchid.
People Puppets: Lussk has developed this Dark Side ability, and trains by forcing weaker students into un-winnable duels. At least one of his defeated opponents committed suicide afterwards.
Restraining Bolt: On Scabrous' HK droid. Poor thing thought it was a Protocol Droid.
Sliding Scale of Undead Regeneration: The zombies don't heal, and continuously rot in horrifying ways. They do, however, seem to get stronger and shrug off physical damage. Oddly, the fact that they have a living orchid inside of them that can grow so much as to pop open their skull seems to make them tougher.
The Stoic: Rojo Trace, who even ignores the advances of an attractive Republic captain.
The Virus: "The Sickness". These being Sith, a couple actually try to do Transhuman Treachery just to realize that for all its power and guile, it considers them fuel. It's able to fool Sith into thinking it's the Dark Side, but is itself unable to use it.