This story, book 1 of the Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy, intercuts between the time just after Star Wars and events that take place during Return of the Jedi. It's an intricate tapestry of deceit and backstabbing villainy among those scum of the galaxy, the bounty hunters. Principal scum include: Prince Xizor, a Darth Vader wannabe and leader of the ultrasecret crime syndicate Black Sun; reptilian Cradossk, leader of the Bounty Hunters Guild; his son, Bossk, who makes Oedipus look like an underachiever; and finally Boba Fett--faceless, ruthless, and impossible to kill. Thought the Sarlacc consumed him in Return of the Jedi? Guess again.
This first novel only kicks off the trilogy's story, so while there is some action, there's also much talking and scheming, and the overall plot is only beginning to become clear by the book's end. Curiously, since everyone is so wretchedly evil, there's really no hero to root for--a marked contrast to the usually quite romantic Star Wars tales. This explains, perhaps, why K.W. Jeter was chosen to author the trilogy. Jeter, once Philip K. Dick's protégé, tends to avoid anything upbeat or uplifting.
Tony Award nominee Anthony Heald doesn't just read the book, he performs it, using countless different voices. He's backed up by music and sound effects that make The Mandalorian Armor into a full-fledged audio drama. Fans of Star Wars fiction and Boba Fett in particular will be pleased with this further exploration of Lucas's rich universe. Newcomers, though, might want to start with something more traditional. --Brooks Peck