Click here to return to the main site.

Book Review

Book Cover

Star Wars
The Old Republic
Fatal Alliance (Hardback)


Author: Sean Williams
Titan Books
RRP: £17.99, US $25.00, Cdn $27.00
ISBN: 978 1 84856 849 5
Available 23 July 2010

When an artefact is recovered, by ‘Jet Nebula’ from a destroyed freighter, the Hutt matriarch Tassa Bareesh holds an auction which draws interest from both the Sith Empire and the ailing Republic - each looking for anything which will gain them an advantage in their endless cold war. The artefact draws Shingar Konshi, a Jedi Padawan and his companion Larin Moxla, as well as the Sith Eldon Ax, who is not only there for the artefact but also to track down the Mandalorian she has vowed to kill. Little do any of them know that the prize which they fight over represents one of the greatest threats to all the universe, a threat which will see both friend and foe join together in a desperate fight for their lives...

Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance is a new expanded universe novel set 3500 years before the rise of Vader and the new Empire, written by Sean Williams.

The first thing to say about the book is that it is written to a level not usually seen in genre novels, with a rich and complex storyline. The only thing I had against the book was that the character names - Sith, Jedi, Mandalorian - and the political divide of Republic and Empire were so similar to those used in the films that, in their use of language, it was initially difficult to place the book in some form of continuity.

True, the inside of the book had a timeline of the books, their titles and when their stories occur, but a historical timeline would have rooted the reader much better as the title of a book won’t tell you what actually happened.

So we find ourselves in a similar universe, with an unknown threat. I say similar, but as you go through the novel Williams is able to tease out both sociological and political information which allows the reader to get a glimpse of an imperfect system. This is mostly explored through the eyes of Ula, a lower functionary in the Republic, who is also a lower grade spy for the Empire; though his internal discourse we are able to view both the good and bad sides of these political systems, which are more alike than different.

One of the nice things is that at various point in the book both the Sith and Jedi are knocked off their elevated position when you discover that there are many in the universe who not only don’t need either party but consider both to be dangerous religious fanatics. Ula ended up being the most complete, rounded character - an everyman through which we view the action - and my favourite character of the book.

The backbone of the story is pretty straightforward with an artefact being auctioned which gives the author his excuse for bringing his characters together. And, once together, Williams provides some interesting and entertaining dialogue. If I’m making the book sound a little too philosophical, worry not. With Jedis and Sith in close proximity there is more than enough opportunity for Williams to write some well paced action scenes, including the inevitable light saber fights. The last element which Williams throws into the mix is the real sense of just how big his universe is, as he takes us on a whistle stop tour of some of the most famous planets as well as a couple of new ones.

So it’s well written, with an engaging plot and some great characters. This alone is surprising enough in a genre novel, but what is more surprising is that the book is based on a computer game. There's been an avalanche of these recently, with the majority ranging from pretty poor to okay but disposable, only a few of them have reach the heady height of actually being a good novel and Fatal Alliance is just such a book. Star Wars fans should be delighted with this little gem.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£10.69 (
£15.99 (
£14.39 (
£12.59 (
$14.46 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.