Star Wars: Annihilation (The Old Republic)
Written by: Drew Karpyshyn
Published by: Titan Books (UK)
Star Wars: Annihilation is a tale set in The Old Republic days in the Star Wars Universe. The era this novel is set in is approximately 3,500 years before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. It is the fourth entry in the Star Wars: The Old Republic series.
Theron Shan is an agent for the Old Republic. Working mostly undercover in the Republic’s Strategic Information Service, he is frequently on worlds were “scum and villainy” are rife. It is during one of his missions that the events of Star Wars: Annihilation takes place.
It is a time of war throughout the galaxy. The Sith Lords, backed by Imperial Forces, strike out at the heart of the Old Republic by enslaving and conquering worlds that are under the protection of Republic Forces and the Jedi – Guardians of Peace throughout the systems of the Republic.
It is during this war that a new threat emerges. Darth Karrid, a Falleen that was once trained as a Jedi but now is a fully fledged and evil Sith Lord is in command of the most powerful ship ever built; The Ascendant Spear. The ship, augmented by Sith technology, has speeds and more importantly weaponry that can destroy a Capital Ship in a single blast of its canons.
The Republic’s task is simple: destroy The Ascendant Spear at all costs. But with treachery on all sides of the galaxy, Jedi with secrets unknown to their order and a secret agent of sorts who is a loose canon, the chances on success diminish with every attack made. Can they succeed before the entire Republic Fleet is destroyed?
Star Wars: Annihilation features none of the characters most fans will be familiar with. Indeeed, unless you have previously read other novels in this series, or have played The Old Republic videogame, then you will have no idea of who the main cast of characters are.
Author Drew Karpyshyn has created a novel where, though it isn’t necessary to know the main characters, it certainly helps to know the different factions. Set in a time period well before the films, this is a (pardon the pun) alien universe, which is wHere some of the problems lay.
The author describes ships, weapons and their capabilities as if they were from the era of Luke Skywalker, yet this is supposed to have happened 3,500 years ago. If that is the case then either the inventors in this time period are incredibly gifted or in the period of the Death Star and such, nobody bothered with anything more advanced.
The novel is basically a political thriller of sorts. We have various factions and departments of the Republic Government fighting for budgets, set against a war torn universe. Whilst this sets the scene early on, it is never expanded upon and the reader is left feeling that it was a missed opportunity. Added to this, the main character is quite firmly inspired by James Bond or Jason Bourne and manages to scrape through one incident after another.
That said, all in all, this is a typical Star Wars novel in that there are numerous space battles, lightsabre duels and difficult to pronounce names of characters. The plot and dialogue, while clichéd and predictable at times, still keeps the reader interested.
If you are a fan of the games or previous novels in this series, you’ll want to keep up with the ongoing events in the galaxy. If, on the other hand, you prefer to have an original plot with fairly recognisable characters from any of the films, this may not be the book for you.