Star Wars: Clone Wars Gambit: Siege
Since Karen Miller left us with quite a cliffhanger in the first novel of the Star Wars: Clone Wars Gambit duology, Stealth, I couldnít wait to check out the second novel, Siege, to find out what happens next. Sure, we know Anakin and Obi-Wan will make it through all this, but we have been introduced to a few new characters and have no idea how they will fare. Besides, just because we know Anakin and Obi-Wan will survive, doesnít mean that there werenít any profound effects this mission might have had on the pair.
When we last left our heroes, Obi-Wan and Anakin had infiltrated Lok Durdís secret installation on Lanteeb and discovered that he, with the un willing help of a scientist, was creating a horrific bioweapon from the planetís natural resource, damotite. The two had arrived on a stealth mission, but now the Separatists know they are on Lanteeb and the mission is now less about information gathering and more about survival.
On the run from the Separatists, the two find themselves at the mercy of the townspeople of Torbel, a damotite mining town. Despite the leeriness of the townspeople, it is obvious that they can use all of the help they can get. After all, the Separatists have been rationing food and supplies until the townspeople can come up with the large quota of damotite. The poor people of Torbel have no idea what the mineral is being used for, only that it is dangerous to mine and will require a lot of hands to complete the task in time for the Separatist deadline. Still undercover, Anakin and Obi-Wan bide their time in the mining community, working the mine, refinery and power plant until a theta storm requires them to use their Force-wielding abilities and reveals them for what they truly are.
Meanwhile, Lok Durd is desperate to test his bioweapon and canít afford Jedi interference. He hires a psychic bounty hunter to track Anakin and Obi-Wan down. Once found, he plans on finishing the two off and testing his new toy, elevating himself to a high position in the Separatist army.
Will the townspeople turn Anakin and Obi-Wan over to the Separatists? Can the Jedi destroy the bioweapon before it can be used? Will Padme and Bail ever be able to gain enough support for an attack on Lanteeb?
This duology delves into a great deal of the many unanswered questions about the relationships between Bail Organa and the members of the Jedi Order, the friendship between Anakin and Obi-Wan, the relationship between Palpatine and his apprenticeÖand his apprentice-to-be and more. It was interesting to learn of the love Palpatine had for Anakin. Bored with his present apprentice - and not quite trusting Dooku either - one would expect that Palpatine would want to protect his new potential apprentice, but Palpatine goes the extra mile for Anakin. In a surprising revelation, we discover just how much Darth Sidious actually truly cares for Anakin - like a father for his son. Very interesting.
I also enjoyed the learning about the relationships between Bail Organa and the Jedi Order. In Siege, we get some more insight into the friendship and trust between Yoda and Bail Organa and how it all developed. There are also some startling revelations here, such as Bailís knowledge of Padmeís love for Anakin and his decision not to reveal or even discuss it with another soul. There is a trust between Bail and Padme that is quite impressive and the two seem almost more than friends. It surprises me that Anakin never felt jealous of that relationship.
The revelation that Obi-Wan has actually taken another Jedi as a lover in his past is quite unsettling for Anakin. The fact that this is revealed to Anakin at all is quite interesting and messes a bit with the continuity of Anakin and Obi-Wanís storyline, but thatís not what bothered me most about Obi-Wan and Tariaís past love. What really annoyed me is that too little was revealed about that history. I also found it annoying that Anakin can be extremely mad at Obi-Wan about the whole thing one minute, then simply accept that Obi-Wan was never really in love with her the next. Even I didnít by that bogus tale.
I was intrigued by the young Lanteeban named Greti. Obi-Wan helps Greti realize her strength in the Force and helps her cultivate her talents as a healer. Unfortunately, he realizes that, according to policy, she is too old to bring back to the Temple as a potential Padawan. I felt sorry for Greti in a way, but I also wondered about her role in the future. Would she be hunted down after the Sith gain control of the galaxy? Anakin would know about Greti and her whereabouts. Would he seek to destroy her after the Jedi purge or would he leave her alone, believing her no great threat to the Emperor and his plans?
The story as a whole was quite interesting and revealing. It closes quite a few gaps between storylines and helps the reader to understand the actions of the main characters in future tales. The action is intense and our heroes are pushed to extremes performing tasks that are bound to impress the readers as much as they impress the townspeople. I enjoyed the final fighting scene but found it to be a bit short considering the amount of firepower present and I would have enjoyed a bit more starship fighting, but will settle for the cool insertion plot that had clone pilots hunting down Taria Damsin as she pretended to be a Separatist in a doomed vessel.
All-in-all, Star Wars: Clone Wars Gambit: Siege was an interesting and fast-moving read. There was plenty of action, intrigue and political moving to keep the readerís interest. Despite a couple of continuity issues, I enjoyed reading this novel and enjoyed the chance to view the inner workings of some of the characters present in the Cartoon Networkís Clone Wars animated series. Watching them on television, you never really get into the charactersí mindsets. All of the thoughts hidden to us in the cartoon come out in novel format, making the characters much more interesting and rounded. Kudos to Karen Miller for another interesting addition to the Clone Wars saga.
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