Star Wars: Republic Commando: Order 66
After completing Star Wars: Republic Commando: True Colors and Odds, the short story that came with it, I wanted more than ever to find out what would happen to my favorite commandos. I needed to know whether Darman would ever find out about his son and whether he and Etain would finally be able to be together permanently. I needed to know if Kal Skirata could get his ďsonsĒ out of the war and hidden away before it was too late. I also needed to know if Kal, Vau, Bardan and the Nulls would ever find a cure for their rapid aging. And so, I found myself picking up Star Wars: Order 66, a continuation of the Republic Commando series by Karen Traviss.
The story opens a year after the events of True Colors, on the second anniversary of the Battle of Geonosis, and finds Kal Skirata, Walon Vau and the clones remembering those lost on that fateful day. Kal and his friends are still working on their escape plan, fixing up a compound on Mandalore where they can hide any clone who wants to desert the Grand Army of the Republic. Intel says that a big military push will be taking place very soon and Kal wants to make sure his boys are safe when the time comes.
Meanwhile, Bessany Wennan, Republic Treasury Investigator and Null ARC Trooper Ordoís girlfriend ,is being watched. Her forays into the possible creations of new clone armies on Centax 2 and Coruscant havenít exactly gone unnoticed and Ordo worries that it may be time to extract her and bring her to the compound on Mandalore. Her findings have proven to be very accurate as Omega Squad and General Etain Tur-Mukan have come across some rather strange clone troopers - troopers who think Kamino is a dry planet, have poor targeting skills and speak with strange accents.
Then there is the little matter of the son of Etain and Darman, Force sensitive and the spitting image of his father. Kal is starting to see the error in his ways, wishing he had told Darman about the boy from the start. Etain feels incredibly guilty at having gone along with Kalís plan, despite the fact that she knows Kad would be in danger if the Jedi or the Kaminoans ever find out about his existence. Still, she decides to tell Darman about his son, even if it means that she loses him forever.
Add to all this drama the fact that Kal and his friends are still searching for a way to slow down the clone aging process, the notification from Kalís sons that his daughter is missing and the fact that a flashy Mandalorian has been approaching clone deserters in hopes that they will take the Mandalore position left empty when Jango Fett was killed, and you realize that this story is about to become very complicated. Just when things look like they might sort themselves out, Palpatine invoked Order 66 and all hell breaks loose.
I had thought Order 66 would wrap things up in a tidy package, but apparently, this book is not the final one in the series. There are still some open ends that need to be taken care of regarding Kal Skirataís sons. However, the book does go a long way in explaining the battle plans of the Emperor and how he set up the Jedi Order so neatly. It also explains the mention of defective clones that have been mentioned in Star Wars novels over the years. Apparently, Palpatine, not willing to be beholden to the Kaminoans and wanting his product created at a faster pace, was willing to deal with a slightly inferior product secretly created by cloners of his choice. Little would he know how defective these mass produced quickly grown clones would be.
There were quite a few revelations in Order 66, however. In Revenge of the Sith, when Order 66 comes through, it almost appears as if the clone troopers all act on the order without conscious thought. There are a couple of books in which some clones refuse to follow the order. In this novel, we finally understand what is going on in the minds of the clones when the order comes through. Many of them actually believe that the Jedi have turned against the government and tried to take it over. Most know nothing of the Sith and have no idea that Palpatine is actually the bad guy.
Omega Squad and the Null ARCs only know the Jedi in their circle are to be trustedÖthe ones in their slowly growing family. They care nothing of the Jedi who may have turned against the Republic. Their only concern are the couple of Jedi they must save. For that reason, they refuse to follow Order 66 even when they do come across Jedi attempting to escape the purge. Besides, these clones are planning to desert the army anyway. They are beginning to not only see the truth behind the war, but the fact that they will never have a real life outside of it unless they go into hiding.
I liked that Karen Traviss decided to show the effects of intense battle on the clones, reminding us that, just like any other sentient species, when faced with never-ending battles and stressful situations, clones will sometimes crack. Also enjoyable were the snarky remarks about venerated Jedi like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. I had noticed that Traviss wasnít much of a Ki Adi Mundi fan after reading Star Wars: The Clone Wars: No Prisoners, but she seemed just as critical about some of the major Jedi in the order this time around, pointing out that their use of the clone army was morally wrong and that they basically treated their soldiers like cannon fodder. I agreed with her on many points, but fell short in celebrating the appearance of Callista as she is not one of my favorites.
Order 66 is an excellent and intriguing novel that, once again, has left me in suspense. I couldnít bare to put it down, but now that Iíve finished, Iím left frustrated! I need to know what happens to the rest of the Republic Commandos! Luckily, I just happen to have stumbled onto the next book in the series.
For more about the Republic Commandos, check out: