Book Cover

Star Wars

Author: Greg Keyes
ISBN 0 09 941028 1
Available now

Following on from Balance Point, Conquest continues the saga of the Yuuzhan Vong conquest of the Alliance. The Jedi Knights are now in danger, and Anakin Solo has his own ideas on how to help them.

The novel focuses primarily on Anakin, and an excellent job Greg Keyes makes of writing the character, who up to now has been slightly irritating in his arrogant and headstrong behaviour. Keyes takes Anakin through an emotional journey, and along the way delivers many welcome insights into the Jedi way, and particularly the culture of the Yuuzhan Vong. We learn about the Vong caste system, the hierarchy, gods and beliefs, and that there are those amongst the Vong who do not agree with the invasion. Anakin is forced to repair his lightsaber with a crystal of, shall we say, unusual origin, and this in turn leads to an examination of the relationship between Jedi and his weapon. The repair also results in Anakin discovering an intriguing advantage against the Vong.

Anakin's friend Tahiri (linking this novel all the way back to the Junior Jedi Knight series) is captured by the Vong and subjected to experimentation. The New Jedi Order series has been remarkably graphic in the portrayal of violence and horror, with some novels being stronger than others. Conquest offers a liberal splattering of bio-technological sadism in the form of Tahiri's suffering, with descriptions of mutilation and gore that would not make this novel suitable for younger readers. It would be fair to say that these frequent references to such imagery are not in the spirit of Star Wars, the main thrust of which, as a concept, has always been one of fantasy rather than horror. However, the dark tone of the New Jedi Order series has given substance and credibility to literary Star Wars, and there is no denying the appeal amongst older readers.

Conquest is a well written and enjoyable read thanks to Keye's informal style, and the author has evidently immersed himself in the saga in order to produce of novel of distinct merit. However, is it me, or are these novels getting steadily shorter?

Jeff Watson