“Within twenty-four standard hours we will sit firmly astride the communications link that connects the worlds of the Republic. . . . Our control will be a dagger thrust directly at Coruscant. This is the move that will win the war for us.”
With these ominous words, Pors Tonith, ruthless minion of Count Dooku, declares the fate of the Republic sealed. Commanding a Separatist invasion force more than one million strong, the cunning financier-turned-warrior lays siege to the planet Praesitlyn, home of the strategic intergalactic communications center that is key to the Republic’ s survival in the Clone Wars. Left unchallenged, this decisive strike could indeed pave the way for the toppling of more Republic worlds . . . and ultimate victory for the Separatists. Retaliation must be swift and certain.
But engaging the enemy throughout the galaxy has already stretched Supreme Chancellor Palpatine’s armies to the limit. There is no choice but to move against the surging waves of invading battle-droids on Praesitlyn with only a small contingent of clone soldiers. Commanding them will be Jedi Master Nejaa Halcyon–hand-picked by the Council for the do-or-die mission. And at his side, skilled young starfighter pilot Anakin Skywalker, a promising young Jedi Padawan eager to be freed of the bonds of apprenticeship–and to be awarded the title of Jedi Knight.
Shoulder to shoulder with a rogue Republic army officer and his battle-hardened crew, a hulking Rondian mercenary with an insatiable taste for combat, and a duo of ready-for-anything soldiers, the Jedi generals take to the skies and the punishing desert terrain of occupied Praesitlyn–to bring the battle to the Separatist forces. Already outnumbered and outgunned, when confronted with an enemy ultimatum that could lead to the massacre of innocents, they may also be out of options. Unless Anakin Skywalker can strike a crucial balance between the wisdom born of the Force . . . and the instincts of a born warrior.
Features a bonus section following the novel that includes a primer on the Star Wars expanded universe, and over half a dozen excerpts from some of the most popular Star Wars books of the last thirty years!
The successful military-SF team of Sherman and Cragg (the Starfist series) brings new energy to the Star Wars franchise. Because of a shortage of available Jedi knights, the inexperienced Anakin Skywalker and the disgraced Nejaa Halcyon are sent to the planet Praesitlyn, at the head of a small fleet and army of clone warriors. Praesitlyn is under attack by a horde of combat droids under banker-turned-admiral Pors Tonith, and defended by freelance military commander Capt. Zozridor Slayke, who has a personal score to settle with Jedi Halcyon. Meanwhile, the Republic's original defenders have left some tough survivors behind, such as fighter pilot Erk H'Arman and recon trooper Odie Subu. The Force is definitely with the good guys, particularly Anakin in the climactic moment of a hostage rescue, but so is plain old-fashioned courage. Human, alien or clone, the characters fight and die, go hungry and thirsty, have hopes, fears and dreams, not unlike the troops patrolling the plains of Iraq today. Count Dooku and Senator Palpatine keep watch for their respective sides, but most of the book stands splendidly independent of the usual concerns of the Star Wars universe.