Republic Commando: Order 66
After the fierce combat of Hard Contact, Triple Zero, and True Colors comes the spectacular culmination of New York Times bestselling author Karen Traviss’s gripping Republic Commando series. As a battle-scarred era nears its end, a shattering power play is about to stun the entire galaxy…and set in motion events that will alter destinies and resound throughout history.
Even as the Clone Wars are about to reach an explosive climax, no one knows if victory will favor the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) or the Separatists. But no matter who wins, the stakes are highest for elite Special Ops clones like the Republic Commandos in Omega and Delta squads—and the notorious renegade Advance Recon Commando troopers known as Null ARCs.
With Republic forces stretched to the max and casualties mounting, the last thing these beleaguered warriors need to hear is that Chancellor Palpatine is keeping vast armies of secret clone troops in reserve. Sargeant Skirata, a mentor to the clone commandos, has no intention of standing idly by while Palpatine sends them into battle like lambs to the slaughter. Skirata begins to plan the clones’ escape from the GAR, but his heroic effort will be in vain unless he can reverse the clones’ accelerated aging process.
Caught in the treacherous dealings of their leaders, and locked in the battles of their lives, the disillusioned Null ARCs and Commandos nonetheless fight with everything they’ve got, determined to wrest victory from the Seps and save the galaxy.
But even the deadliest weapons may not be powerful enough to defeat the real menace. And nothing will stop the apocalyptic horror unleashed when Palpatine utters the chilling words The time has come. Execute Order 66. Translation: The Jedi have tried to stage a coup, and all must be shot on sight.
With their faith in the Republic and their loyalty to their Jedi allies put to the ultimate test, how will the men of Omega and Delta squads react to the most infamous command in galactic history? All the breathtaking action, suspence and intrigue of Karent Traviss’s Republic Commando series comes alive in Star Wars: Order 66.
I’m going to deal with this up front: I have several fundamental problems with the world of Order 66. Sections of the novel bear little resemblance to the rest of the Clone Wars media: this is a topsy-turvy world in which Quinlan Vos’s contempt for clone troopers is the rule among the Jedi rather than the exception, a world in which the Jedi never investigated the source of the clone army, and a world in which the creation of a slave army can be justified if it eliminates the monstrous evil of the Jedi Order.
Setting aside this point of view, however, there is no denying that Order 66 is an entertaining book by a skilled author. The dialogue is snappy, the pace is fast, and the characters sympathetic. I particularly enjoyed the scene in which Jusik infiltrates a mental hospital, and the commando’s attempts to uncover Palpatine’s plans for a second clone army, a plot carried over from True Colors. Traviss has incorporated just a bit of Timothy Zahn’s original vision for the Clone Wars into the backstory of this army. Zahn’s Spraati clones haven’t been touched on much since his excellent Hero of Cartao short stories, so I enjoyed seeing them expanded upon here. There’s also a surprise appearance by a Bantam-era character that was extremely well done. Little touches like these will ensure that certain elements of the older Star Wars works will be less jarring to new readers.
I also liked the way in which Traviss tied the events of the novel to those of Revenge of the Sith. The characters are very distant from the events of the film, which is a nice change from Death Star and other stories that have characters lurking just off screen, popping in and out of frame, or being somehow responsible for major plot points.
In spite of the title, this is not a book that addresses the shocking nature of Order 66 that had fans talking and arguing long after Revenge of the Sith had left the screens. By the time that infamous order is issued, the main characters are long past caring about anyone or anything outside their secret circle. The two scenarios in which clone troopers do take on Jedi in this book are so incredibly atypical that they offer little insight into the mind-numbing coldness of Order 66’s execution.
While Order 66 contributes surprisingly little to my understanding of the horror of the clone army's response to that infamous command, fans of the Republic Commando novels are sure to enjoy this conclusion to the series.