As the second book in the Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy, Slave Ship gives us more information more adventure and a bit more that is expanded on later. There are tidbits I recognize as popping up in the rest of the Expanded Universe (both before and later). Naturally, the Boba Fett and bounty hunter bits are the best. If you haven’t read the first book, Mandalorian Armor, read that first! This story makes little sense without it although it does give a brief refresher throughout for those who had to wait a year between stories.
The title Slave Ship no doubt refers to Boba Fett’s Slave One. More on that later.
Boba Fett is scarily ruthless here, in some ways more so than Vader. He not only bristles with armor and an amoral nature, but he knows the psychology of his prey, his competition and rival hunters, leaving them spinning in circles. Dengar and Neelah are both still along for the ride, wary and reluctant allies that know darn well they can’t trust their leader but also know they need him. They don’t get to know much in Slave Ship but Neelah has some good moments.
The flashbacks to the past take us to right after he dealt with the Bounty Hunter Guild in the last book. The present has Boba Fett dealing with a few issues, like people that want to kill him and find him and his ship, Slave One, very tempting targets. Boba Fett’s flashbacks regarding his bounty hunter exploits and his present day escapes are the best part.
The parts with Xixor do drag things down in Slave Ship. Introspection, plotting and eloquence are all great in some stories, but there was too much in this middle book and not enough revelation to make it worth it. That said I did like how Vader and the Emperor were consistent. This is not the kindly face of Palpatine who seduced Anakin, but one who cracks the whip when the former Jedi argues with him. Vader meanwhile does stay a bit more consistent with his former self, even on the Dark Side he’s not a fan of criminals like Xixor who are involved in slavery and smuggling.
There is one bit of introspection I liked in Slave Ship and that was Boba Fett’s. Oddly enough, as amoral as he is, he does feel some sense of debt to those he saved his life. It should be interesting how that plays out. Kuat of Kuat is also getting some nice revelations about his involvement (though a bit late) and gives us new knowledge of the culture of the world of Kuat.
Slave Ship Continuity
Thanks to Zuckuss, the Gand culture and biology opens up a bit here in a way that reminds me of events in the X-Wing series regarding Ooryl and his ability to deal with a poison atmosphere. We also finally get to see him with 4Lom and events in the Bounty Hunter Tales and Shadows of the Empire are referenced.
Boba Fett got the drop on Han in Dark Empire and had a new ship, Slave Ship reveals how he got that other ship and also why Han hadn’t heard word the bounty hunter was not as dead as he hoped. At this point the new ship had been renamed Slave 2.
The Jedi Knights defeating the Mandaloreans long ago is mentioned. The defeat of the culture in general happened in the Mandalorean Wars by Revan, scattering the survivors. Dark Horse comics took other stories of Boba Fett, classic Marvel comics, and wove the tale into a background of Jango Fett involving another recent defeat that destroyed his clan after the Governor of Galidraan deceived the Jedi about hiring them. That happens in the story arc ‘Jango Fett: Open Seasons”. You can read more of the Fett’s and the Mangaloreans here.
Slave One is mentioned as being customized by Kuat Drive Yards from the frame up, using custom specs by Boba Fett. Of course, this was written before Attack of the Clones and Jango Fett is seen flying it. What we know for sure is that Jango Fett stole a ship of this class that he named Slave One (during Playstation’s Bounty Hunter game). In the Young Boba Fett series, he managed at some point to retrieve this ship. At this point it’s conjecture on my part. It’s possible he had the original ship rebuilt from the hull up, it’s also possible that original ship was destroyed and he replaced it.