Traitor is the thirteenth volume of the New Jedi Order series. After his capture in Star by Star and vanishing from the Force shortly thereafter, Jacen Solo has been believed dead by his friends and family. But he lives, kept alive by the Yuuzhang Vong who intend to use him and his twin sister in a glorious sacrifice to their twin gods. But they do not want to just kill them but to walk to the altar of their own accord and fight each other to the death; a real warriors sacrifice is in order. For that purpose they set out to break the young Jedi and indoctrinate him with their own True Belief. They torture him almost continuously with the Embrace of Pain, a devious piece of biotechnology that monitors the subject closely, inflicting the maximum amount of pain without damaging it.
During the rare breaks ominous Vergere, her true allegiance still unknown, twists Jacen’s mind around itself, forcing him to readjust his values and view of life. He resists at first but can soon not deny the appearent sense she speaks. From then on he tries to play along while plotting his escape and still learning what he can about life, the Force — and himself.
Traitor is a very untypical Star Wars book. It focuses (almost) solely on Jacen and his ordeals, ignoring all other arcs. This is dangerous but Stover manages to pull it off by digging deep into both Jacen’s psyche and his opinions about the Force. I cannot tell much without giving spoilers; suffice to say that his mind is released from his previous philosophical deadlock. Stover describes this process in a very intriguing and confusing way, mirroring Jacen’s state of mind. This made Traitor an interesting if not satisfying read; it just opens up so many questions we can only hope to see answered as the series progresses. For example: the title gives away that somebody becomes a traitor in this book. But who? And who is betrayed? The answers to this question are never clear throughout the book and not even in retrospect. We will see.