Some years ago, during the dearth of Star Wars films, I read Shadows of the Empire, a Star Wars novel, by Steve Perry. Darn, it was good! Really, it is the best Star Wars novel I have read, and I have read quite a few. It takes place between Empire and Return (films V and VI).
Steve Perry has authored many novels, and recently, I purchased via Amazon’s Kindle store another, The Man Who Never Missed. This story is one of several in his Matador series. As others have said, things are often best in the beginning, and this is doubly true for this novel. First, it has a wonderful in media res beginning, where our hero, Emile Khadaji, is being stalked by a highly trained squad of Confed soldiers. But, very quickly indeed, the hunted becomes the hunter, and the reader learns that Khadaji is on a mission to wreak havoc on the Confederation. He’s doing one heck of a job, too! Secondly, this is the first novel in the series, so it serves as exposition for others.
Alas, the author uses extended flashbacks for the bulk of the novel, thus bringing the reader up to speed with Khadaji and his universe, but losing some of the suspense. Rather than have a spoiler alert, I’ll just say that warriors are trained and not just born, and the middle portion of the story lets the reader know quite a lot about our hero. Don’t get me wrong, the entire novel is a good read, but in the beginning it is more than good.
This novel was republished to the Kindle platform, and I read it via my iPad, but it was originally published in 1986, so long time Perry fans might have read it. The cover sucks (I used the paperback cover as my illustration) and the formatting isn’t perfect, but it is pretty good, so readers should not let the republishing aspect be a concern. Readers who like space opera, military fiction, martial arts, or just a good story should really enjoy The Man Who Never Missed.