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Star Wars: X-Wing: Mercy Kill takes place thirty years after the original X-Wing series, and just after the events in the Fate of the Jedi series. None of the original Star Wars characters take part, except for a brief cameo by Wedge Antilles. This was a predominant theme with the original X-Wing books, so it's not a real surprise.
But Mercy Kill adds delightful stories to the Star Wars universe. Building on the tension of an infiltration mission, coupled with building a new Wraith squadron from the ashes of the old one. It was exciting and fun. All the action of a heist story set in the Star Wars universe. At the very least, you get to see Gamorrean male go-go dancers.
This book might only be meant for true Star Wars fans or sci-fi fans that can enjoy the Star Wars universe. You're not going to see any of the original characters and if you're not familiar enough with the X-Wing series (or the expanded Star Wars universe), you might feel like you walked into a new Jason Bourne movie without knowing who Jason Bourne is. Sure it'll have action, but you'll spend a little time catching up on the story. But even that's not a big deal, since Aaron Allston did a great job of providing enough clues to the history that all readers will be able to jump right in.
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As far as Star Wars books go, I think Mercy Kill is one of the better ones in the expanded universe. I give it high marks for action/intrigue and character development. My favorite character was Piggy, an altered Gamorrean with high intellect and the ability to speak. He pulls the spine of the story together, which was a wise choice.
If you're looking for another good expanded universe title, I recommend Shatterpoint by Matthew Stover. It's the first Clone Wars novel and stars Mace Windu. It also holds the distinction for being the first Star Wars book I've read that shows a Jedi acting intelligently and not just jumping into a hack-n-slash battle.