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The Swarm

Novels > Original Trilogy Novels > Galaxy of Fear

The Swarm

Author:
John Whitman

Publisher:
Bantam Spectra

Release date:
February 1, 1998

Series:
Galaxy of Fear (Young Reader Novels)

Star Wars Saga Timeline:
0.8 ABY

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PLOT

Uncle Hoole wants to study the S'krrr - a race of creatures that look like giant bugs. While Hoole works, Zak and Tash visit the S'krrr's huge garden - it's the most beautiful place they have ever seen. It's also full of very strange creatures. There are shreevs, batlike creatures that swoop down and feast on beetles. Big beetles with biting mouths. When a shreev swoops down at Zak, he panics and accidentally kills it. He doesn't think it's such a big deal. He was just defending himself, after all. Suddenly, the garden is overrun by big beetles. When Zak wakes up in the middle of the night covered with creepy crawly bugs, he's terrified. Did Zak upset the garden's delicate ecological balance by killing the shreev? Or is something far more sinister at work?

SUMMARY

The 'Shroud' travels to the garden planet of S'krrr, a planet the Empire is planning to establish a base on - an act that would ruin the beautiful world and its culture. They are met by an insectoid S'krrr called Vroon. He asks them to move the ship farther away for ecological reasons, but that proves impossible - thanks to Zak monkeying around with the engines, the ship is crippled. He later finds himself attacked by a flying creature, called a shreev, that he is forced to kill - only to discover later that it was a pest-eating creature. Legend has it that if even one dies before its time, the garden's delicate ecological balance will be totally destroyed....

Soon there is a pest of another kind in the Garden - namely, Captain Thrawn. However, he is not here to destroy the Garden - art lover that he is, he is here merely as a tourist. However, he is not pleased when one of his men turns up eaten by pests. He orders the Garden sealed. In addition, more and more of the pests - drog beetles - are turning up everywhere. Thrawn orders one of the S'krrr, Sh'shak, arrested for the Imperial officer's death. However, that soon proves unnecessary when another dead officer turns up. Zak is going nuts with guilt - the garden's being destroyed, and people killed, because of him!!! He tearfully confesses to killing the shreev.

Thrawn scoffs at the notion that one careless boy could be responsible for all this. He frees Sh'shak and confronts Vroon. The insane Vroon wildly claims that the drog beetles are the S'krrr's ancestors - and that he has learned to communicate with them! He escapes into the garden. Drog beetles attack, and Hoole is separated from the group as Thrawn leads Sh'shak and the kids into his shuttle. He finds it has been crippled too. The beetles pour in through the air vents, and the group races outside. Hoole has shape-shifted into a shreev and roused other shreevs to hunt the beetles. They return to Vroon's workship only to find his corpse. Hoole and Sh'shak try to hold the beetles off by communicating as Vroon did, while the kids and Thrawn each try to repair their ships. The kids get the 'Shroud' repaired and picks Hoole and Sh'shak up. They drop Sh'shak off in a bug-free section of the planet as airships are sent to capture the beetles.

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