DARK FORCE RISING is centered around the katana fleet; the dark force, a fleet of abandoned dreadnoughts that could turn the tide of war.
Along side this is political infighting within the New Republic, running rife among its leaders who are under fire for seemingly aligning with the Empire.
Adding to the epic,space opera feel of the series, the Empire's trickery is paramount to their stronghold over a devastating damaged planet spanning back to the clone wars. Here, Leia makes forms a dangerous alliance with the Noghri, in particular her would be assassin from HEIR TO THE EMPIRE, Khabarakh.
The plot threads pull the reader in many directions yet all are easy enough to follow, including those involving lesser popular characters.
DARK FORCE RISING Continues the expansion of the original trilogy by further defining the newer characters introduced in HEIR TO THE EMPIRE. The small band of heroes left after THE RETURN OF THE JEDI, while pivotal, don't always take centre stage; for instance, I found myself wanting to read more of smuggler Karrde and the still mysterious Mara Jade and her odd relationship with Luke Skywalker - a testament to Zahn's ability to write characters that readers want to care about.
The only thing that bothered me about DARK FORCE RISING was it's lack of a definitive ending. I get that it's smack bang in the middle of a trilogy and that there's a broader story at play, however I would've like some closure to this installment. It just felt like the book ended part way through. Irrespective of this, I'm looking forwarded to reading the next book.