Just before the events of 'Attack of the Clones', the secessionists plot to make a small remote world secede.
This novel puts Obi-Wan and Anakin on a quest on a low-tech world. Accompanied by a pair of female Jedi they must find a nomad tribe and convince them to participate in the city-dwellers' politics.
However, the Secessionist villains on Coruscant have the help of the local crime boss -
a Hutt, of course, so we get guaranteed a few predictable cliches.
Our heroes trek across the world's endless plains, having adventures of the traditional, lo-tech variety. They encounter natives and animals and such like, the standard encounters of a party of adventurers on a low-grade Fantasy quest. However, this is hardly the standard in Star Wars.
Thus, we see more of the characters themselves.
The lo-tech quest is basically the typical Fantasy story, with lightsabers instead of swords and the Force instead of magic. This is similar to many generic Fantasy books, and more shockingly also to "Splinter of the Mind's Eye"!
This is Alan Dean Foster's first Star Wars book in 25 years. Foster is a much-renowned Science Fiction writer. He famously wrote the original novelisation of 'Star Wars', and the first sequel novel - 'Splinter in the Mind's Eye' [SOTME]. SOTME is regarded by many hard-core fans as somewhat apocryhal - none of the well-established Star Wars universe had been created by Lucas at that stage, so much of the novel was later undermined.
Sad to say, this book [well-written as it is] appears to be a re-tread of SOTME. Both involve quests on lo-tech world, accompanied by trusty locals. The infamous mud-fight between Luke and Leia is replaced here with a water-fight between Anakin and his female counterpart. Later they discover an underground stone-age race [pseudo-Ewoks, but less annoying].
All in all, competently written. A refreshing break from the usual fare. However, at the end of the day this book is well-written but unoriginal. No real surprises, and if you've read SOTME you'll know hat to expect.
Rating: 70%(c) Speculator 2005