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Star Wars: Jedi Trial
David Sherman and Dan Cragg
Lucas Books / Del Rey, 354 pages

Star Wars: Jedi Trial
David Sherman and Dan Cragg
David Sherman is a former United States Marine and the author of several published novels about Marines in Vietnam, where he served as an infantryman and as a member of a Combined Action Platoon. He is an alumnus of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and worked as a sculptor for many years before turning to writing. He is a full-time writer. He lives in Philadelphia.

Dan Cragg enlisted in the U. S. Army in July 1958 and trained as a combat medic. He was stationed at a training center not far from the Czech border. He re-enlisted in 1961 and was assigned to the Southern European Task Force headquarters based in Verona, Italy. In March 1962, he volunteered to go to Vietnam, spending six months in Saigon and then a year with the advisory team at the 5th VN Infantry Division. He remained there in various staff assignments at General Westmoreland's headquarters until September 1969. He retired in 1980, having decided not to make a career of the Army.

ISFDB Bibliography: David Sherman
ISFDB Bibliography: Dan Cragg

Past Feature Reviews
A review by David Maddox

The time draws near, a Jedi Padawan's training is almost complete and he nears full Knighthood. But there is something more growing within him, something dark and dangerous. Will this mission prove his courage and valor, or lead him down a darker path?

Anakin Skywalker continue to impress the galaxy, but worry Masters Yoda and Mace Windu as he takes his crucial steps towards the Dark Side of the force. In Jedi Trial, military SF authors David Sherman and Dann Cragg create the outskirts world of Praesitlyn in which Anakin Skywalker is called in to command a Republic defense to a Separatist invasion.

Yet another in The Clone Wars saga, this adventure is set upon yet another remote world that is in dire need of the Republic's help, unaware of the sinister forces stealthily attempting to usurp control of the galaxy. Rife with The Clone Wars canon characters, mysterious Assaj Ventriss appears while Count Dooku and Darth Sidious manipulate events from a distance.

The novel, however, is not one of the stronger of the saga. This is the adventure where Anakin proves himself as a true Jedi Knight... and he's barely in the story. The bulk of the story focuses on characters native to Praesitlyn, pilot Erk H'Arman and scout Odie Subu. With the help of rogue Republic commander Zozrider Slayke and his battle-hardened crew, they make a valiant stand against the Banking Clan and Separatist forces.

While the characters are nicely drawn, they do suffer from "the best at what they do" syndrome. All the characters are not only at the top of their game, but see almost every situation and a way out. For characters this well-trained, it's hard to believe they'd still be stationed at such a backwater locale.

Sherman and Cragg do work well together in their writing style though and create a very nice battlefield vision for the story. Most of the Jedi time is given to Nejaa Halcyon, a lesser know Jedi who picks Anakin to go with him on the rescue mission.

Anakin does get some good character time near the end (especially in a battle deciding moment that calls back to Greg Bear's Rogue Planet a few years back). And, without spoiling the ending, the heroes do triumph, even though it all seems part of Darth Sidious' overall master plan.

In the long run, this novel is a good example of a Clone Wars skirmish. It whets the appetite for the big show, Revenge of the Sith, and the culmination of all these battles as well as the saga itself.

Copyright © 2005 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, acting on stage and screen and giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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