Alan Dean Foster is an old hand at media tie-in novels, and in Star Wars: The Approaching Storm he delivers the expected goods with his usual competence. Starring Obi-Wan Kenobi and the young Anakin Skywalker, the action takes place long after Episode I (The Phantom Menace) and just before Episode II.
The galactic Republic is in a bad way, suffocating in bureaucracy, and could topple altogether if one key planet--the unimportant-seeming Ansion--should secede. Only Jedi Knights can sort out the disaffection between this world's city-dwellers and nomads. Obi-Wan and the new, female knight Luminara Unduli take on the job, accompanied by their pupils Anakin and Barriss.
Naturally local bad guys, led by the singularly revolting Soergg the Hutt, plan to make them fail. Assassins, more assassins, kidnapping, treachery, political in-fighting, bombs, still more assassins... it's tough going even for Jedi.
Foster provides the usual spectacular set-piece battles of flashing light-sabres against armies of attackers--indeed, two full-scale armies at the climax. But the challenges of this mission also demand gentler uses of the Force: mental healing, performance art, winning unlikely friends among the strange, deadly native life of Ansion.
Amid the rousing adventures of our Jedi foursome and their allies, there are repeated bodings and foreshadowings about Anakin Skywalker's headstrong impatience, contrasting with Obi-Wan's near-perfect calm and control, almost as though Anakin might one day turn to the dark side of... but that would be telling.
The Approaching Storm is a slick and cheerful romp through another world of the Star Wars universe. Hardcore SW fans won't want to miss it.--David Langford
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“The best things are the new creations. The landscape and animal life of Ansion is wonderfully described. . . . [along with] some excellent fight scenes and a display of lightsaber gymnastics.”
“FOSTER DELVES INTO THE INTERNAL CONFLICT OF ANAKIN SKYWALKER AND THE PSYCHE OF THE JEDI.”