Scourge by Jeff Grubb

When a young Jedi is killed, a Jedi archivist must find the reason for his fate. A mysterious new and deadly spice, a new scourge on the galaxy, seems involved. Along with the young Jedi’s sister, and her bothan companion, they have to finish the original mission to get exclusive hyperdrive routes from the Hutts, and find justice.

I really enjoyed this look at the life of a normal Jedi, albeit one who prefers study and research to missions, doing normal Jedi things. It’s a mystery and adventure rolled into one. The new characters are interesting with weaknesses, strengths and good character arcs. There is no imperial threat here but a dark look at a deadly twist the spice trade has taken

Here is a sample of the new characters:

Mander (the Jedi)
Reen Irana (pantoran pilot)
Edey B’erey (bothan copilot)
Krin (CSA Captain)
Mika the Hutt along with Mika’s family.

This is a decent look inside Hutt relations that we don’t get very often. The adventure stands alone very well, while introducing characters I’d have loved to see more of. A reread of this is nearly as good as the first time even though I knew who the bad guy was. I couldn’t really remember quite how we got there.

Scourge, by Jeff Grubb, paperback featuring Mander Zuma. Cover art, Larry Rostant.
Scourge with Mander Zuma on cover. Artist: Larry Rostant

Scourge Continuity

Scourge is set right after Vision of the Future and before Junior Jedi Knights, when Luke begins training younger and younger age groups at the Yavin 4 academy.

Unfortunately, we haven’t seen these interesting characters again.

That said, the elements of the story are elsewhere. Makem Te is the home of the Swokes Swokes, Gragra in Star Wars the Phantom Menace is a Swoke Swoke. The planet has a space mission in Star Wars the Old Republic. As you can see from this map, it’s in the same general area of the galaxy as both Yavin 4 and Ziost.

Makem Te on SWTOR Map
SWTOR map featuring assault on Makem Te
gragra swokes swokes
Gragra is a Swokes Swokes.
Scene: The Phantom Menace

The Hutts are a huge part of this story. For more on Hutt culture you can find them in:

Han Solo Trilogy by A. C. Crispin (especially Hutt Gambit).

Jabba the Hutt Art of the Deal by Jim Woodring (comic)

Boba Fett: Death, Lies and Treachery by John Wagner (comic)

The Essential Guide to Warfare by Jason Fry and Paul Urquhart

Darksaber by Kevin J. Anderson

Star Wars the Old Republic: Hutta (origin planet of Imperial Agent and Bounty Hunter story arcs) Makeb Expansion, Feast of Prosperity (annual event). There is also a Hutt in the planetary story arc on both Republic and Imperial side of Nar Shaddaa.

Planet of Twilight by Barbra Hambly

Bounty Hunter Trilogy by K.W. Jeter

You can also try my article on Hutt Cultures.

For More on the Corporate Sector, whose staff feature in this:

Han Solo Adventures by Brian Daley (novel)

Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse by John Ostrander (comic)

For more on Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Order

There are many stories, before and after, but here are the ones that can bring you up to where and how Mander learned:

Jedi Academy trilogy by Kevin J. Anderson

Jedi Academy Leviathan of Corbos (exclusively the first generation of Jedi)

Jedi Outcast (game) level 6 and 21-24 are all set on Yavin 4 and the academy.

Jedi Academy (game) sequel to the Dark Forces series, you can train as a member of the academy. The first level specifically starts out at the Jedi Academy

For other mystery type Star Wars stories:

Rogue Planet by Greg Bear

Coruscant Nights trilogy by Michael Reaves