The book doesn’t come out until the end of the month, but it got an early release at NYCC. I thought I’d post a summary of it for anyone who doesn’t want to wait.
The book opens with the Rey quote from TFA about her thinking Luke is a myth. On the Wayward Current, bound for Canto Bight, crew members tell stories about Luke Skywalker. The first one is about an engineer in a bar on Xu’hu giving a comical ‘truthful’ retelling of A New Hope after being prompted by a hooded figure. After the story is finished, the hooded figure turns out to be Luke. It’s set some time after he disappears from the public eye, but it isn’t specified when.
The next story is Luke on Jakku from the point of view of an Imperial who served on a Star Destroyer. He tells an impossible story of Luke dispatching capital ships in space with his lightsaber and the Force. After the Imperial’s Star Destroyer crashes, he is recovered from the wreckage by a mysterious figure who drags the wounded Imperial across the desert, picking up salvage from the battle and searching for other survivors. The Imperial begins to suspect that it’s Luke and attempts to escape, but the figure finds him and tells him that if he tries to run he’ll die in minutes. The figure wears clothes noted to look like Luke’s and talks about growing up in another desert. The figure tells the Imperial that he plans to deliver the Imperial to an Imperial stronghold beyond the dunes. They reach the stronghold, but it has been cleared of all traces of Imperials by now. The Imperials abandoned it during the battle and blew up everything, including laboratories, to erase all traces of what the facility had been. The two stay there, trading with passing scavengers. The Imperial becomes certain that the figure is Luke after he rescues the Imperial and a group of scavengers from a disaster caused by a reactor leak from a crashed Star Destroyer, but the man doesn’t confirm the theory and gives the Imperial a homing beacon to call the Empire before leaving. The Empire tells the Imperial that Luke Skywalker wasn’t anywhere near Jakku and throws him out for being a traitor, so the Imperial returns to Jakku and becomes a scavenger, now having faith in Luke.
Next, an escaped stowaway slave tells a story set on the faraway oceanic world of Lew’el. A young pair of twins, native Lew’elans, hunt for food to feed their village. A strange foreigner saves the girl, Aya, from a storm that kills the girl’s mount. The man had come to Lew’el to study with the natives, having heard ancient tales of their strange connection to the ‘Tide.’ The man quotes Yoda’s “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” to one of the elders. He says that he has traveled the Galaxy seeking others sensitive to the ‘Tide’ and understanding of its ways. The elder tells him he can stay for the night, but must leave in the morning. The man, called Seeker, tells stories of the Jedi and the Force, and about asteroids belts that house giant slugs, and cantinas, and jungles, and city-worlds. The children are sent to bed and Seeker and the elder discuss the Tide and the Force. They debate and Seeker quotes Yoda again. Seeker passes trials to prove himself worthy of knowledge about the Tide. He continues to indicate that he is Luke by talking about things like X-Wings and Beggar’s Canyon. Seeker barely fails the third trial, but learns as much about the Tide as he would have learned if he had succeeded. He says his farewells, gets into his X-Wing with a blue-and-silver dome chirping on top, and flies away to seek out other aspects of the Force he can learn from.
The ship’s custodian droid then tells a story that has been passed from droid to droid around the galaxy without change. On Cro-Akon, a construction droid is stolen by slavers. The droid, Zeta, awakens on a ship filled with other captured droids, bound for the Unknown Regions. They dock on a space station called the Gem, where the captain tries to sell them to the station. One white, silver, and blue astromech manages to slice through one of its restraining bolts and catches the interest of the buyers. The world below the station, just called the Deep, has valuable materials in its interior, but the surface is inhospitable. In order to maintain their lifestyle, the nobles of the Gem put droids to work on the Deep. Because of acid and heat, even construction droids don’t last more than a few months. Zeta is put to work as an enforcer to make the other droids work, with an override chip forcing her to do her job. R2-D2 tries to cheer up the other droids as they are brought down to the surface. They are put to work and Artoo refuses to give up hope that his master will rescue him. One day, a strange, bulky protocol droid is delivered and put to work. The droid turns out to be Luke in disguise, there to rescue Artoo. Luke and Artoo get the override chip out of Zeta and lead the droids in a revolt. The nobles are overthrown, all of the droids are returned to their homes, and Luke and Artoo leave.
The fifth story is told from the point of view of Lugubrious Mote, a mole-flea who lived on Salacious Crumb. We read the flea’s exaggerated telling of Return of the Jedi, starting with Luke’s hologram to Jabba. The flea speaks with Leia the night before Luke shows up, and jumps into the rancor pit to help Luke and prove to Leia that she can be an ally. In the flea’s telling, Luke is much more useless and relies on Mote’s help to defeat the rancor and escape the sarlacc. After the escape, Leia transfers the flea to a woolly hopwell beast and the flea travels around the galaxy before joining a circus.
The final story is told from the point of view of a scientist, then a biology student trying to do fieldwork in the Agoliba-Tu system. She catches a ride to the system in an A-wing piloted by Luke. Luke asks her if she had ever seen any ancient Jedi ruins, as he is trying to learn as much as he can about them. The two of them accidentally wander into an exogorth, the same species as the one the Millennium Falcon had been stuck in years prior. They wander deeper into the slug, encountering a variety of unique creatures that live inside of the beast. They get out with the sacrifice of ancient beings known as Mist-Weavers who had been stuck in the beast themselves for an eon. Luke and the scientist part ways.