Star Wars: Episode II, Attack of the Clones by R. A. Salvatore
List Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 1st edition (April 23, 2002)
Del Rey / Ballantine Books; ISBN:  0345428811
Review by Don E. Smith, Jr. 

Check out this book at: Amazon US / Amazon UK

“Why do I think you’re going to be the death of me?” 

- Obi-Wan Kenobi to Anakin Skywalker

Well, if you couldn't wait for the movie to open, or needed something to do standing on line for a week or two, you've probably already read Attack of the Clones.

If you haven't, I'll try not to give to much away of either movie or book, but I suspect we all know where this plot's going in the end anyway.

For the second time the Star Wars folks decided to use an established science fiction writer, R.A. Salvatore, for their movie novelization. Last time they used Shannara scribe, Terry Brooks, for Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

This is Salvatore’s second shot as a Star Wars writer.  He killed off Chewbacca the Wookie and introduced the bio-sadist race, the Yuuzhan Vong, in Star Wars The New Jedi Order: Vector Prime.

However, Salvatore has a lot going against him in this outing.  First, the Second/First trilogy is “One Giant Foreshadow” which ultimately leads Anakin to Vader.  Second (again another second), this is George Lucas’ story.  His idea - his characters. 

Attack of the Clones takes place ten years after “Episode 1.”  The Republic is threatened by civil war as a former Jedi/turned statesman, Count Dooku (where Lucas gets these names I will never know), and several other planets push to secede.  Palpatine, still the Supreme Chancellor, is presiding over a Senate - debating the need of a galactic army.  Padme Amidala, now the Naboo senator, is leading the debate against. 

After her life is threatened, Anakin Skywalker (now a 19-year-old Jedi Padawan) goes to Naboo to protect her, while Obi-Wan Kenobi (his master) seeks out the real assassins. 

Salvatore has a pragmatic style that does not weigh down the reader with detail.  He allows the reader to use an already Star Wars soaked imagination.   

One of the things that he brings out nicely is Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Uncle Phantom Menace) as the duplicitous serpent “this would-be Emperor”. For example, "[Anakin] needed to speak with Chancellor Palpatine again, to hear the man’s reassuring words."

Salvatore also shows the growing friction between Obi-Wan, the faithful Jedi follower, and Anakin the maverick very well - much like a father and son.  Ironically, Anakin is shown to be more like Qui-Gonn Jinn (Obi-Wan’s former master).  He also brings the Amidala/Anakin romance “down to earth” (no pun intended) by making it as realistic as possible.

Unlike the mulitcover marketing of Phantom Menace, which largely failed in its hope that fans would collect all four, Attack of the Clones is being marketed with just the single cover. 

Don E. Smith, Jr. is a freelance writer from Northern New Jersey.  He is engaged, to Laura, and planning an Autumn 2002 wedding…provided he hasn’t wasted his money on the 2002 Summer Movie Season. 

He recommends you check out the web site of his “close friend” - The Caped Defender (he assures us that he is not the Caped Defender…right!) at:

© 2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu