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Star Wars: Order 66 -- A Republic Commando Novel
Karen Traviss
Del Rey, 432 pages

Star Wars: Order 66 -- A Republic Commando Novel
Karen Traviss
Karen Traviss is a full-time novelist, but also works as a journalist and spin-doctor. Most of her working life has been spent in TV and newspapers doing such work as an advertising copywriter, a media liaison officer for the police, a journalism lecturer, a public relations manager and a defence correspondent. She now lives in Devizes, in the heart of Wiltshire (just north of Stonehenge) but she is originally from Portsmouth, home of the Royal Navy, Charles Dickens and Peter Sellers.

Karen Traviss Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines
SF Site Review: City of Pearl and Crossing the Line

Past Feature Reviews
A review by David Maddox

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The Clone Wars nears its conclusion. Kal Skirata and the members of the Null ARC squad are making their choices on whether to stand with the ever changing GAR or set off on their own as Mandalorians. Will Darman find out about the son he didn't know he had? Will Fi recover from his grenade injury? Will Scorch lose it? And what of Niner, Jusik, Ordo and the rest? Have no idea what any of this means? Then you haven't read the three previous Republic Commando novels, Hard Contact, Triple Zero and True Colors.

Actually, neither had I before reading this one. So to be honest, it was a little baffling trying to figure out who these characters, with three novels of back-story, were. But this isn't to say Order 66 isn't a good novel. In fact, Karen Traviss paints an amazing picture of Clone Trooper life in the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) during the final days of the Clone Wars. Not having the background, it was a little difficult knowing which character was which, especially as they're all clones of Jango Fett (the only reason I knew who Scorch was is because I bought a Hasbro Expanded Universe figure of him a few years back). But the clones of the story have genuine personality and individuality.

This is what makes Order 66 such an intriguing part of the Expanded Universe. While previous Clone Wars novels as shown hints of the individuality of clones and the new cartoon series has definitely delved into it, the clones of Traviss novels really have grown into full-fledged characters.

It does help that the character of Kal Skirata, the Mandalorian in charge of the unit is such a well-layered individual. Although it is rather surprising to see an entire civilizations of Mandalorians. I thought they had been wiped out by the Jedi… but apparently they've managed to rebuilt their ranks. Plus there is an AMAZING amount of Mand'o, the Mandalorian language throughout the book. Kudos to Traviss for designing so much of it… but it is a tad distracting.

It's also interesting the point of view the novel takes. Much like the Darth Bane series is seen from the Sith perspective, the Republic Commando novels definitely take a clone perspective, with the Jedi being portrayed in a rather dark light, especially by the clones who really believe in Emperor Palpatine as their savior of sorts. And the intro of a new line of clones very much removed from the Kaminoan cloning facilities and introducing the schism between the first batch and the less developed ones that would replace them in the Empire.

The novel does end with a bit of a definite cliffhanger, which is odd for a novel that is supposed to be the conclusion of the Republic Commandos series. But I suppose that's so it can lead into (possibly) a series of the Empire's StormTroopers. So if you did find yourself a fan of the myriad of Jango Doppelgangers in the Star Wars Universe, be sure to check out Order 66.

Copyright © 2009 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been many things, including Star Trek characters and the Riddler in a Batman stunt show. He holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider and the Star Trek Communicator. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories while acting on stage, screen and television. He can sometimes be seen giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood and occasionally playing Norman Bates. Really.


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