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Star Wars: No Prisoners - The Clone Wars, Book 3
Karen Traviss
Narrated by Jeff Gurner, unabridged
Random House Audio, 7 hours

Star Wars: No Prisoners - The Clone Wars, Book 3
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: Order 66
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 Sarah Trowbridge

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Captain Rex is back -- the clone squad leader who distinguished himself in the first Clone Wars novel. Anakin Skywalker has decided to take a brief break from combat to visit his secret wife, Padmé Amidala. He leaves Ahsoka, his young Padawan, in Rex's care. Summoned to the newly refitted Republic assault cruiser Leveler, helmed by Captain Gilad Pellaeon, Rex, Ahsoka, and six untried new clone troopers go for what is meant to be a three-day routine training exercise. But like those pleasure boaters who set sail on the Minnow for a three-hour tour, the Jedi apprentice and the clone soldiers soon find themselves faced with more than they bargained for.

For Captain Pellaeon has a thing or two in common with General Skywalker - that is, he is also carrying on a secret romance. The object of his affections is Hallena Devis, a Republic spy who has been dispatched to JanFathal, a planet on the brink of revolution. Her mission: to aid the Republic-backed dictator, a cause whose validity she increasingly questions, the more she sees of social conditions in the capital city of Athar. To complicate things further, it turns out that the Separatist forces also have their eye on JanFathal, and their invasion of the planet is imminent. As violence explodes around Hallena and her cover is compromised, her call for extraction reaches Leveler. As Pellaeon gives orders to divert the ship to JanFathal, Rex contacts General Skywalker, who tears himself away from his bride to assist in the mission.

Also drawn to the activity on JanFathal is the cargo vessel Wookiee Gunner and its crew of heretic Jedi Knights led by master Djinn Altis. Among the group's unorthodox practices: members are allowed to form close personal attachments to other beings (i.e. make marriage bonds and start families). Meeting up with these outsider Jedi is an eye-opening and uncomfortable experience for young Ahsoka, who has never questioned the order's party line against "attachment." Anakin's interest is also piqued by Master Altis's unconventional band of Jedi, as his own personal stake in the "attachment" question is beginning to be the source of a great deal of inner conflict.

All of these personnel come together for a series of dramatic maneuvers to extract Agent Devis from a city rocked by the chaos of simultaneous revolution and Separatist invasion. The costs are high, and ultimately all involved are led to question their assumptions about right and wrong, and to reassess their places in the escalating conflict.

The Clone Wars titles penned by Karen Traviss, while not as openly subversive as her Republic Commando/Imperial Commando series, or her superbly original (non-Star Wars) Wess'har Wars series, still display the hallmarks of her ironclad moral sense and her commitment to portraying conflict in all of its true shades of gray, rather than the stark black and white so beloved by Hollywood. Her characterizations transcend "good guys" and "bad guys," cutting straight to the truth that everyone contains some of each, and both heroes and villains have a price to pay for becoming who they are.

Jeff Gurner, the voice of all of the Clone Wars audiobooks so far, once again proves himself a master at portraying the whole range of characters in the Star Wars universe. Star Wars audiobook titles always include music and sound effects, and the chirps, bleeps, and explosions help set and maintain the atmosphere, while the familiar, anthemic strains of the Star Wars theme song stir the listener's anticipation for, and enjoyment of, the story.

Copyright © 2009 Sarah Trowbridge

Sarah Trowbridge reads (and listens) compulsively, chronically, and eclectically. She is a public librarian in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.


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