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Battlefront: Twilight Company (Star Wars) Paperback – June 28, 2016
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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“A novel that ties in to a video game based on a sprawling sci-fi franchise shouldn’t be this good. . . . Battlefront: Twilight Company effortlessly thrusts readers onto the frontlines of the Galactic Civil War in a gripping tale.”—New York Daily News
“Compelling . . . an entertaining journey through a galaxy in turmoil . . . Battlefront: Twilight Company explores what happens to the cannon fodder fighting and dying in the background of space opera’s cinematic action sequences. Focusing on the life of a few low-ranking Rebel grunts caught up in a vast interstellar conflict, the novel is an enjoyable tale of interstellar adventure and drama.”—IGN
“Satisfyingly complex, immersive and moving . . . a war story unlike any Star Wars book that’s come before it.”—Roqoo Depot
“A military thriller [with] some pretty impressive actions scenes [and] the lived-in, gritty feel of the original trilogy . . . [Alexander] Freed shows us the military side of the Star Wars universe in a way that we haven’t seen much before, while also giving readers new perspectives on classic characters and moments.”—Tech Times
“Twilight Company is one of the greatest Star Wars stories ever about someone doggedly, cynically coming to understand why acting according to the light side is important.”—Den of Geek
“The strongest canon piece of Star Wars literature thus far . . . sure to be a fan-pleasing favorite . . . Explosive action scenes and dark humor only punctuate this character-driven tale [with] heavy world-building and cameos from other characters throughout the Star Wars pantheon.”—Alternative Nation
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Alexander Freed is the author of Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Lost Suns, as well as many short stories, comic books, and videogames. Born near Philadelphia, he endeavors to bring the city’s dour charm with him to his current home of Austin, Texas.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Battlefront: Twilight Company explores several different viewpoint characters, but the focal point is Sergeant Namir. Namir is a squad leader in the Rebel Alliance’s 61st Mobile Infantry, also known as Twilight Company. As a grizzled veteran, he knows how to fight and strives to keep his people alive. Yet everything changes as they capture a high value Imperial target. With the Rebels retreating from the Mid Rim prior to the Battle of Hoth, this Imperial asset gives them a chance to strike back at the Empire and turn the tables. It leads to battles on far flung words and grueling campaigns in alien environments. The book puts the readers in the trenches with the soldiers as they sweat and bleed to stay alive. With Namir at its center, though, it’s not a rosy look at a band of freedom fighters striving to topple an evil empire. For Namir, fighting for the Rebel Alliance is just another war. He doesn’t have any stakes in the fight except to protect his people. He’s a soldier, it’s all he knows, and he’s good at it. Through the story, readers will get to learn more about him, his backstory, and what it is that makes him tick. The vast difference between him and big three—Luke, Han and Leia—makes his story rather refreshing. He’s not a wide eyed farm boy with Force skills, a scoundrel with a heart of gold, or a true believer of the Rebel cause. Instead, he’s something quite different.
Aside from Namir and several of the members of Twilight Company, the book also explores the Imperial side of things. On the planet Sullust, there’s a female stormtrooper named SP-457 who is used to show what it’s like for ordinary citizens who decide to join the ranks of the stormtrooper corps. SP-457’s story is interesting because it does not glamorize the Empire. They’re as complicated as any group, and with people like her, it shows how they’re not all mindless evil doers out for selfish kicks. Then there’s Captain Tabor, an Imperial instructor brought out of retirement by one of the Emperor’s favored servants, a prelate named Verge. Together they show a different viewpoint of the Empire, one that illustrates the differences between the old ways and the new. Verge is the prime example of what the Emperor’s New Order is creating. He’s as much a creature of their excess as he is a victim. On top of all of that, there’s the Imperial asset that Twilight Company captures who adds yet another viewpoint to it all. From all of the different perspectives, the entire picture slowly comes into view. But the surprising thing isn’t that they all show one crystal clear picture, it’s that they show just how complicated and messy the whole thing is. In the war between the Empire and the Rebels, there are a lot of shades of gray, and allegiances are not set in stone.
It’s worth noting that the book does jump around a bit. The main storyline follows Twilight Company in their present battles, goes through the Battle of Hoth, and then shows the battles that follow leading all the way up to Sullust. Scattered throughout that are flashbacks of Namir’s past life on a backwater planet riddled by war. Those scenes help reveal clues about his character. The book also jumps around from the different viewpoint characters. So while most of the book focuses on Twilight Company, you get a handful of chapters on SP-457 and her experiences on Sullust, which ties in later in the book. There’s also Tabor and Verge who get another handful of chapters as they hunt down Twilight Company. Everything comes together in the end and the format works well to break things up and showcase the different views of the war.
The highlight of the book, however, is how well Alexander Freed nails the feel of a war story. I’ve read a lot of war biographies, and Battlefront: Twlight Company feels like a soldier’s account of his campaign in the Galactic Civil War. The little details of battle, the discussions between the soldiers in their downtime, the bond between them, and the violence of war, it’s all captured brilliantly. This feels real. There’s no better way to put it than that. Yet it’s not just they way Freed captures a soldier’s story, but how he uses it to illuminate the complexities of the conflict. Everyone in this story has a different motivation for what they do, and none of them are straightforward. They’re all products of their experiences and mysteries for the readers to explore and discover. Even by the end of the book, not all of those questions about the characters are answered, but there are a enough clues for the reader to make their own conclusions. It’s satisfyingly complex, immersive and moving. If you’ve ever wondered what it must be like for a soldier in the Rebel Alliance, this is the book you need to read.
Having read over two hundred Star Wars books, it takes a lot to stand out and make an impression. What’s really impressive is that this is Alexander Freed’s first novel. With Battlefront: Twilight Company, he tells a war story like we’ve never seen before in Star Wars. It’s gripping, stirring storytelling that throws readers straight into the trenches with the soldiers of the Rebel Alliance. Who will live? Who will die? It’s all another step forward in the war against the Empire. I give it a five out of five.
I have missed this particular aspect of the Star Wars EU since the final Republic Commando novel. There hasn't been a proper war novel in some time, and I love to read stories from the perspective of boots on the ground. Showing the troops as hungry, dirty, tired at every turn was spot on. The curt exchanges between the main characters and the gallows humor were very accurate and not overly cheesy.
The best part of the book was the main protagonist Namir. He is a battle weary war junkie. He doesn't believe in the Rebel cause, but he fights for the man or woman or alien at his side. As with most combat vets he doesn't care for the ideologies of the people in charge or their politics. He just wants to keep the people closest to him safe. What happens when he is put in charge?
I also saw how the new Star Wars canon is fitting together more seamlessly. The book hints at what could happen if the Alliance were in fact to defeat the Galactic Empire. Of course the story doesn't end with Return of the Jedi. Of course the destruction of the second Death Star and the death of the Emperor doesn't mean the end of the war.
This book also shows how a certain group of characters from a certain show could be alive and we just haven't heard of their exploits. But that is pure speculation on my part.
Overall, I felt that this was the most thought provoking book to come out of the Star Wars EU in many years. I will definitely re-read it in the future and hope that Freed will write another book for Star Wars in the near future. This book was a worthy addition to the Star Wars lore.