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Obi-Wan and Anakin find adventure on the planet Ansion

By James T. Voelpel     February 16, 2002

Obi-Wan and Anakin find time between films to have an adventure in STAR WARS: THE APPROACHING STORM.
© 2002 Del Rey
With the upcoming release of STAR WARS: EPISODE 2 - ATTACK OF THE CLONES, the expected rush of hype and merchandise has begun to flow toward ravenous fans. One of these releases is veteran sci-fi writer Alan Dean Foster's EPISODE 2 tie-in, THE APPROACHING STORM. Foster is the writer of movie adaptations such as the first three ALIEN films, ALIEN NATION, and the first STAR WARS film (EPISODE 4: A NEW HOPE for those hung up on the whole order of stuff). He has written in many other areas as well, running the gamut of hard science fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction. He is also the author of numerous nonfiction articles on film, science, and scuba diving. Now he has returned to the universe that made him famous with a novel detailing some of the years following STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE.

The Republic has continued to crumble, and more and more the Jedi are needed to help maintain order. As STAR WARS: EPISODE II opens, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker have just returned from a mission on a world called Ansion. The novel details this important mission. The Republic is rotting from within, even under the leadership of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. He was elected to save the galaxy from collapsing under the forces of corruption and discontent. But can even he save it? Meanwhile on the tiny but strategic planet of Ansion, a powerful faction is on the verge of joining the growing secessionist movement (which is the basis of EPISODE 2). The city-living citizens wish to expand into the prairie lands outside their urban centers, but this is the ancestral territory of the independent Ansion Nomads. If their demands are not met, they will secede from the Republic, an act that could start a chain reaction of withdrawal and rebellion in other worlds.

At the Chancellor's request, the Jedi Council sends two Jedi Knights, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luminara Unduli, to resolve the conflict by negotiating with these nomads. Obi-Wan and Luminara, along with their Padawan apprentices Anakin Skywalker and Barriss Offee, set out across the wilderness of Anison. These Jedi will have to fulfill this almost impossible quest under trying circumstances, stalked by an enemy sworn to see the negotiations collapse and their mission fail.

Foster's take on the threatened secession of Anison is an interesting hint of what is to come in ATTACK OF THE CLONES. The story is full of intrigue and action and gives some details of Obi-Wan and Anakin's life following EPISODE 1. The novel fails in a couple of areas, one being the cardboard cutout characters and a plot that is not original even in a STAR WARS book. This is not unexpected, however, as this is a novel licensed for an upcoming movie, and it therefore cannot go too deeply into the realm of spoilers. Foster's writing has always been above what can be found in a typical STAR WARS novel and this continues in THE APPROACHING STORM with concise and fast-moving action. For fans of STAR WARS and the fast approaching EPISODE 2, the novel will whet the appetite and deliver what's expected from this type of book.


Grade: B-

Author(s): Alan Dean Foster

Publisher: Del Rey

Price: $26.00



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