Top critical review
Book 2 of Clone Wars Gambit
on October 26, 2010
Clone Wars Gambit is a two-book series relating some of the adventures of Obi-Wan, Anakin, and company during the Clone Wars. Stealth was the first book, and Siege is the second. The series is set in a time when the Separatist Alliance is winning the war. Separatist agents have succeeded in infiltrating Republic forces, obtaining sensitive information, and planting bugs in communications systems. Count Dooku's troops always seem to be a step ahead. One of the results has been to create significant doubt and worry in the Republic. Even the Jedi are worried.
In this atmosphere, a new concern creeps in to the Republic leaders and gradually turns out to be a massive problem that Anakin and Obi-Wan have been sent to deal with personally despite serious misgivings from Yoda and Bail Organa. Word has come from the apparently insignificant planet of Lanteeb that something on the planet has drawn intense interest from the Separatists. Our two Jedi heroes are assigned the task of finding out what is going on at Lanteeb. To their rising dismay, they find that a scientist enslaved by General Lok Durd is attempting to use Lanteeb's only natural resource to develop a devastating bioweapon. Anakin and Obi-Wan don disguises, make their way onto the planet, succeed in getting a rough idea about what is going on, and then are exposed as everything begins to go wrong. At the end of Stealth, they are on the run, the bioweapon research is still proceeding, and things are not going well.
When Siege takes over, the two Jedi are on the run from Lok Durd's droid army and end up trying to hide in the mining village of Torbel. They gradually win the trust of the locals and are put to work in the mines where just about everybody works. Their predicament is dire. They have no ready means of communicating with the Jedi Council in Coruscant. The work on the bioweapon is proceeding, and they have no real way of knowing whether any aid is being sent to them or not. Things look bad, and then they get worse when the droid army learns where they are hiding.
At this point, thanks mainly to Anakin's amazing technical prowess, the village is able to deploy an energy shield that the droids cannot penetrate. The trouble is that they have been forced to jury-rig the shield by using whatever resources they can find. The resultant siege is described very well, and it really seems to be endless.
The story itself in Siege is fine. I enjoyed reading about Anakin and Obi-Wan and the siege of Tarbell. The villagers do the best they can, and the two Jedi are heroic. However, as was true in Stealth, I think that Ms Miller gets carried away with introspection. We are bombarded with a steady stream of the characters' innermost thoughts. Plus, the siege goes on too long. I did find Anakin's emotions to be particularly interesting when he discovered that Obi-Wan had years ago had a relationship with Taria Damsin, a female Jedi Master. You can imagine his feelings when you remember all of the discussions he has had with Obi-Wan about the need for Jedi to avoid attachments.
Clone Wars Gambit: Siege is a good tale with a lot of ups and downs. It has two of our favorite characters in the main roles, and some others like Ahsoka arrive late in the story to offer invaluable assistance.